Monday, March 31, 2008

The Leap of Faith

Update: hehe...I am on a video-blogging spree these days so I am adding the video clip to which I refer in this post. This one is from dubbed version of Spiderman 1 but I guess a smashed face is a smashed face in English, German and Dutch. *grins*

Have you watched "Spiderman"? I am talking about the first part where he starts to get all these powers. Remember the scene when he starts realizing that he may have some special powers as a result of that bite from the radio-active spider, where Peter Parker wants to test his spiderweb cord and jumps from one sky-rise building to another, across a main New York road? When I saw that I was like, "What an idiot! Why the hell do you want to risk breaking every bone in your body for that?". In my view, the same thing could have been tested with a much smaller, and therefore, safer jump. That's common sense. That's valid logic.

Well, since then I have realized that many times in life you have to take a leap, a big leap, a leap of faith. That leap carries an element of risk, you know that you don't know what's ahead, but you take the leap anyway. It was a long time back when David Lloyd George said, "Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps". There are many times in life when a big step is indeed indicated. It may be the decision to start a new venture, embark on a new journey, start a new relationship or maybe just to change a habit or a pattern, many times you have to take a jump into the unknown. History shows, if anything, that people who take risks are more successful in achieving what they set out to.

I think behind the mentality of taking a risk, there always has to be a mindset of taking responsibility for your actions and your life. If you are one of those people who think that God, or life, or Nature, or your parents, or your boss, or somebody has screwed up your life and that's why you are miserable, you'd probably not be willing to make a change in your current situation mainly because you think that your life is not a result of your actions and your choices. But if you accept this basic fact then you will be more willing to take control of this life, make a change and that kind of change almost always involves risk.

If you have this firmly established in your mind that you are the one who is in control, not some universal puppet-master or some unknown force then the unknown variables will not scare you that much. There is a majority of people who advocate common sense, logic, the "practical" approach to life, who make a good case for the safe approach, the secure way of living. If I look around though, I don't see if any of these practical people have achieved anything spectacular. Any great man that I see, has taken a risk in his life, at some point, most of the time that leap was the turning point of his life - be it Bill Gates or Gautam Buddha.

Oh well, I can keep rambling on in my usual fashion but I think you got my point!

Thought of the day - 31st March 2008

Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
- Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Where heart is...

I wonder if one's taste changes with time. I had this audio cassette of
Qawwalis from Films. A qawwali is a form of music that's very alive,
very dynamic and full of frenzy. Usually ghazals (Urdu poems) are sung
as qawwalis but I believe qawwalis are also written specifically to be
sung like that.
Anyhow, I had this audio cassette which had many qawwalis from different
Hindi movies and some of them I liked more than the others. There was
one that I didn't like at all and used to fast forward over it.
Strangely enough, it was written by the celebrated Urdu shayar Allama
Iqbal. It went like this:
Kabhi ae haqi_qat-e-munt_zir nazar aa libaas-e-majaaz meiN,
Ke hazaaroN sajde tadap rahe haiN meri zabeen-e-niyaaz meiN.
Now, this was too complex Urdu for my limited knowledge and even if you
could translate the words, it's really abstract and the meaning is out
there. Even today if you ask me I can't really, accurately, translate or
interpret that. Loosely the meaning is this:
O awaited-reality sometime display yourself in the attire of metaphor,
For a thousand bows are raring in my yearning forehead.
See? Not very clear, is it? But these days I still like it, because it
leads to this final sher which has become one of my favorites over time.
Jo maiN sar-ba-sajda kabhi hua to zameeN se aane lagi sada,
tera dil to hai sanam-aash_na tujhe kya milega namaz meiN?
Let me translate this or try:
Whenever I lowered my head for a bow, this sound started to come from
the ground,
Your heart it in your beloved, what will you get in worship?
It's the whole combination of words, their meaning and the composition
of the couplet that makes it so interesting and actually inspiring.
Reminds me of two different things:
There was a guy preaching, don't remember who it was, might have been
Osho, he said, "People, when they bow in the temple, their body is
bowing to the God, but their heart is not in God, their heart is in the
shoes that are outside the temple." Humorous, based on the fact that
theft of shoes is notoriously high from outside places of worship.
Another one. A joke from Great Indian Laughter Challenge.
A muslim man bowing in 'namaaz' with his shoes in front of him. Another
man tells him that you lose the credit for the namaaz if you bow with
shoes in front of you. To which he replies, "But if I bow with the shoes
behind me, I lose the shoes."
Anyway, the main meaning of Iqbal's sher for me is that you should not
go through the motions but decide where you want to devote yourself, to
the God, or to your beloved and then go for it.
End of Chapter. :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Thought of the day - 10th March 2008

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes….but no plans”

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Celebrating Uncertainty

Some of you who read my blog, (since the counter crossed 1000 visitors mark I am going to stop saying 'all six of you'), might remember when I was ranting about my current mental state regarding the big questions and beliefs in life. If you don't you can read it here

Recently I started reading a book by Osho, a book that I bought in India, because Osho is a man I immensely respect and admire. His books have some very odd titles, this one is called - "Courage - The joy of living dangerously". Now, anyone who knows me, (and you should if you read my thoughts on this blog), would know that that title is like a magnet for me.

In the foreword, he explains the meaning of security, insecurity, certainty and uncertainty. Let me quote - "Don't cling to any certainty. Life is uncertain - its very nature is uncertain. And an intelligent man always remains uncertain.
This very readiness to remain in uncertainty is courage."

Now if you think that didn't make me feel better about all my doubts and confusion...hehe... you better see a doctor!

I am still reading the book and it is fantastic. The simply-worded, profound kind of book that's full of guidance and direction. A typical Osho book.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Virtual Parting

There's this stupid little virtual world game that I play, called Second Life. I have talked about it quite a few times in my blog. This is not a game but a virtual world as in you are free to do what you want once you are in it. There are no aliens to shoot at no points to collect or stuff of that sort that makes up a video game. There are games "in" the game but SL itself is fully free-form. It has its own economy and many types of businesses. People meet, chat, have relationships, marriage and everything.

It is quite an engrossing thing, this game and so addictive that some people have this text on their profiles, "Remember, it's just a game!". I don't agree with them. It's a game, technically and for the purposes of establishing that I am a sane person, I'll concede that it's a game. But it's not completely a game. In a game when you shoot at the alients, or the villain's henchmen or the enemy army, they don't hurt, they don't bleed, they do bleed on the screen, but not in real. Just pixels. Lighted dots on the screen. But in SL, behind the pixels there is always a human being. He may not be as ruggedly handsome, or she may not be such a ravishing beauty but they are human, with a mind that thinks and a heart that feels. Some people, not necessarily the people who claim that it's a game, but some people do not fully realize that they are interacting with humans. Humans with feelings. These people can be really mindless jerks at times.

On my friend list are some people I have not talked to in a long time, but I still can't bring myself to delete them off my list. It's not much different from the way I always call my friend Harry, my real world friend Harry, on 9th Feb without fail, even if I have not talked to him the rest of the year. And there are some people I talk to almost every day on Sl. Just like in RL, I will call my real friend Fazil at least once a week no matter what corner of the world I have taken refuge in.

In this world we form friendships. Do they matter any less than the "real" friendships because the medium of communication is different? I don't think so. The joy of new connections is the same. The partings have the same kind of sting and the feeling of loss. The partings are quite real and painful they are depends on depth of the relationship not the medium they were made in. Well, I am feeling the pang of such a virtual parting today so I just thought it might help if I rant about it.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Back like a bad penny!

Recently I have been neglecting my blog lately. So this short and sweet entry to just let you know that I am back from my vacation in India (like you care), and things have been happening at quite a fast and exciting pace. So, I am back in England, enjoyed a long break in England after the holidays in India and now back to work. Different work, different city, new hassles. I'd like you to believe that my neglect of my blog is because life has been busy, hectic and full of new hassles but it's not. It's my usual, well-known and oft-celebrated laziness behind this long silence.

Most of time, spare time, has been spent in a), looking for an accomodation in the new city, b), reading thrilling, fantastic, old-is-gold type American fiction and rest on my laptop, watching The Great Indian Laughter Challenge videos or playing Second Life.

Well, let's see how soon I can write a meaningful, (and interesting) post again. Not that there is any shortage of topics or ideas in my mind.

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