Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Wanderlust : The Desire to Travel

The meaning of this word is, a breathless Travelling. It is commonly defined as a strong desire to travel, the addiction of travel. Wanderlust is a German word and I knew it after watching my favourite Bengali Movie, Agantuk. The main character, Mr Monimohan Mitra, a man per excellence and a brilliant student went out of the house to see the WORLD, inspired by an ancient painting of Bison in Altamira cave in Spain.

This concept of writer come director (Satyajit Ray) had made me thinking many times. How the painting of a bison, drawn by a primitive person, thousands of years back, can attract a person and motivate one to leave his homeland. But to understand the sheerness of attraction, one needs to have a degree of feeling. I had tried to imagine what came in the painters mind. The beauty of the creation, The World and its diversity, colorful creatures, kaleidoscopic nature, various people with different mentality, culture, civilization and nature, is amazing. Probably in everything we can find a beauty, the simple, wild, colorful beauty. To see the unknown World, to enjoy the beauty of nature, one can travel breathlessly throughout his life.
Well, this was a movie, can not happen in reality. But believe it or not, last year I have encountered one young British traveler, with wanderlust. I was traveling to Berlin from Copenhagen. I was alone and as usual was busy in taking snaps. It was a memorizing experience to have a pleasant journey in the green lap of European nature. It was a sunny day, and after reaching the cost, the bus entered into a ship, to traverse the blue serene sea. I met him there. Life is totally different for him. It is much more simpler than we think.
He has MBA from UK, some work ex, but still a global traveller. He cant work for more than few months, earn money for traveling and roam around the world. I was impressed by his knowledge of India and World's history. He knows more of Netaji and Gandhiji than me. He spent time with Tamil Guerrillas, Kashmiry militants, Bangladeshi poors. That time he left Denmark and was going to Australia through North Asia. He wonders how people can work year after year seating in a closed office in artificial light.
This is true wanderlust. The quest for creation, the desire to know the diversities of the Earth, to feel the elementary base of different civilization, the inspiration to be a part of everything - these are the characteristics of that British young man.
But we can't go beyond one limit, because either we are confined in our own world or we don't have much motivation. We like travelling because of our luxury, just for a change in holidays. That's it !!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Agression and Compromise

One of the recent feedbacks I have got from my European colleagues is, I am not that aggressive and that allows others to take additional advantage on me. Too nice is not good enough. Someone can dominate, misuse sometime. But truly speaking I do not want be aggressive because I get arrogant and rough when I am angry. In past, there were innumerous incidents when I lost control in anger and that cost me a lot.

Typical characteristic of a common Indian is to make compromise and I am not exceptional. I have got a fact that India had not invaded any country in last thousand years. We have always defended foreign attacks. This is simply amazing. The perseverance and heritage that Indian Culture has gained in thousands of year is unequivocally appreciated. Being an integral part of that civilization obviously my nature is influenced by it. Compromises give lot of satisfaction and stabilization. It gives me immense pleasure and self satisfaction, when someone is happy for my compromise and some problem is solved for our understandings. Compromise sometime results in devotion and sacrifice, whereas aggression often comes closer to selfishness.

But if one is never aggressive and always compromises he is WRONG sometime. The proper balance of aggression and patience is important. Anger is bad, but if it is in right time, with proper magnitude and well directed, then it is better than anything else. It can drive many things, can solve many issues.

In this regard I want to talk about two Indian personalities whom I do not like. (It’s easy to site an example of my choice, but still I picked up these examples). Mahatma Gandhi (see the explanation in the bottom why I did not like him, but now I admire him for many reasons), who introduced Satyagraha, was an emblem of compromise. He has shown the way of showing aggression in a controlled passion. It’s not always compromising and sacrificing, but also putting up the relevant issues to the British Govt and took necessary actions for Independence.
Another example is Sonia Gandhi. Being a non Indian (in the sense she can’t speak any Indian Language and not exposed to Indian Culture, she left India once after her marriage with Rajeev Gandhi, for not liking the country, may be this is the reason I do not like her) she can never be the Prime minister of the nation. She is aggressive but the devotion she has shown by refusing the post of PrimeMinisterShip was really praiseworthy. She has own the heart of millions and has became an admirable person in India.

Mahatma was by nature a person of sacrifice, has shown how controlled aggression can result in Independence, where as Sonia is an aggressive political leader, has shown how devotions can melt the bitterness of billions of Indians. Thus, it is important to have a proper balance of Aggression and Compromise in order to achieve the equilibrium in all aspect. We can say it as a controlled aggression, which means control over aggression to me.


Mahatma Gandhi – The Father of Indian Nation and the pioneer of Satyagraha.

I did not like him because of the flowing reasons.
· He was not able to solve the problem of division of nation and religious violence at the time of Indian Independence. For the division of nation on the basis of religion, Hindus like us has to immigrate to India from Bangladesh.
· In Indian national Congress Netaji Subhas Chandra Basu was elected as leader and he was bit aggressive and not a true follower of Satyagraha. Gandhi created an ambience to through him out of Congress in order to keep his hold in Congress.
· In 1921, at the time of Violation of Law movement, Gandhiji made a big mistake by his whimsical decision, cancelling the revolution for a small sporadic incident.

But now I admire him for many reasons.

Let me DIE

Its not about me :-) Because I have to do many things before it.

I am writing this article after knowing that an Old members of the Jain community in Rajasthan defended the ancient ritual fast of 'santhara' as a means to attain salvation and not suicide.

"There is a vast difference between suicide and santhara. Suicide is committed in a fit of anger or depression while the decision to observe santhara is taken with a calm mind," former judge of Rajasthan High Court Pana Chand Jain told a news conference .

This is one of the controversial issues of recent times in India. People are thinking that we are in going back to the middle age, turning the clock back and this is not a sign of better civilization.
Suicide is a criminal offence as one is willing to kill him, so same as Santhara. And not only the practicers, those who foster and do not stop this one is also committing crime. How can we let one die in his or her will ? If so, can we claim us a civilised human being.

Yes apparently this logic is rational. But I am not a supporter of it. I think one has a right to DIE, if he can not survive or suffering from some deadly painful disease, which has no answer in Medical Science. I guess in UK we have the provision of apply for death. There are some cases which are approved and the patient gets peaceful and painless death . Then why not Santhara is logical?

In Hinduism we have same practice called Moksa. Thousands of people go to religious holly places like Varanasi and Kasi and want to die there in order to achieve Moksa. I know all of them are not ill or suffering from fatal diseases. But if it gives pleasure and satisfaction of heart, and make the soul fill with holly concepts whats wrong in it.

Yes, being a supporter one must question me why I am supporting these illogical and irrational religious practices, one should convince them not to do these in order to move with the civilization. But are not we allowing a big section of poor Indian population to commit suicide? In every three second one child die from poverty and starvation, 40% of Indian population can not have both the ends meal, the poor, homeless destitute, downtrodden ignorants are ignored by each of us and eventually we are letting them die. The social disparity and artificial civilization (a selfish society without a heart) is making thousands of orphans, killing the god of humanity. This is crime and not Santhara.

Another logic is - killing pain is legal, we take pain killer to get rid of deep pains.Some religion believes in rebirth and can practice Santhara if ones body is not permitting to survive and he is going through agony and mental sufferings, and can believe to be back with a nice birth again.
If one can retire anytime from his career, sports and relation even for not finding it suitable or enjoying, then why cant one asks for Santhara - a peaceful and painless retirement from life if it is not good enough to survive.

One of my desires is to have a peaceful and painless death.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Find Out Your Path

One of my friend (Kuntal) has written a mail stating some words from Carlos Castaneda---“My friend, you know for me and for you and perhaps for everyone there is a path, a path that has heart, there we have to travel, looking, looking breathlessly.” and I am pretty impressed with these words.

If I can recall, I was one of the highest scorer in Bengali literature in my board examination in the state, but I continued my study with science. I was good in Biology and eventually ranked better in Entrance Examination after higher secondary, but I have studied Computer Science.
I left my path always because of other priorities in my life.

I want to speak what exactly is missing in most Technocrats. We are expected to be too goal and money oriented and competition frenzied. Its good to be professional from the point of view of the society but it’s quite disappointing on the fact that most of us while becoming engineers and under the relentless pursuit of personal gains and glory seem to lose the very essence of life.

I know it’s difficult for an Indian to go on playing football if he enjoys it, because our society does not give us financial security and social status for doing this, nor we have good infrastructures neither by following the path of our heart we will always be a successful person.But we can do is to find out our subject of interest by listening to our heart and put sometime to harvest it, go deeper and continue contributing to it. Some of us are lucky, we have our special path, interest as our career or part of our profession, like doing some research, teaching and even programming, but for people like us, who has different choice other than the normal profession can find some time from our daily schedule. One of my teachers said that it is never a problem for anyone to find some time for his work of interest. Time is stretchable for doing work of our own interest that comes from the heart.

Rabindranath Tagore, The great poet come philosopher, told our life is for continuation of some flow (Prabaha). The inheritance of flow gets flourished if it finds proper path. Tagore has never been to schools but he found the path for himself and enjoyed every moment of his life through it. If you are one who is devoting time for your own path, be it a coding or career, writing or playing, whatever it may be, you will enjoy every moment of it and for sure you will be a successful person.

Let’s take an example of Dr. Unis, the peace Nobel winner of 2006. He left his job for setting up Gramin Bank in Bangladesh. He had found a path from his heart and invested his life in it and that’s why he is successful. You can never be a successful person, if not you are enjoying the job you are doing. It’s you and me, who will ask the question to our heart to find honest answer, and follow it.

I got the details version of Carlos Castaneda in a mail just now, which differs little from what I have interpreted. Here it goes.

"Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you mustalways keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feelyou should not follow it, you must not stay with it underany conditions. To have such clarity you must lead adisciplined life. Only then will you know that any path isonly a path and there is no affront, to oneself or toothers, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells youto do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave itmust be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at everypath closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as youthink necessary.

This question is one that only a very old man asks.Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: theylead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, orinto the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversedlong long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path havea heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it isof no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart,the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as longas you follow it, you are one with it. The other will makeyou curse your life. One makes you strong; the otherweakens you.

Before you embark on any path ask the question: Doesthis path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. The trouble isnobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizesthat he has taken a path without a heart, the path is readyto kill him. At that point very few men can stop todeliberate, and leave the path. A path without a heart isnever enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. Onthe other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not makeyou work at liking it.
I have told you that to choose a path you must befree from fear and ambition. The desire to learn is notambition. It is our lot as men to want to know.
The path without a heart will turn against men anddestroy them. It does not take much to die, and to seekdeath is to seek nothing. For me there is only the traveling on the paths thathave a heart, on any path that may have a heart. There Itravel, and the only worthwhile challenge for me is totraverse its full length. And there I travel--looking,looking, breathlessly."

I know its tough to find the path of our heart, but we all can try. There is absolutely no meaning of doing a work which you do not like but still you have to, which results in failure sometime and cause frustration.
Just take an example of Kiran Desai, The booker prize winner, who took long 7 years to write a book only (The Inheritance of Loss – for which she has been awarded). I was watching an interview of her in NDTV and she told that she did not have any job and was tired, but came up with excellent epic. Her relentless effort and breathless enthusiasm to her path has made her not only a successful writer, but also she has enjoyed every moment of it.