Are We Living A Good Life?

For me and my family, yesterday was a day filled with melancholy, gloom and silence.  One of our uncles, my father’s best friend and a gifted man passed away due to a sudden heart attack. As the night lurked inside the house, my thoughts started jumping from one end to another. Stories, emotions, people and roles, everything prowled inside my mind. How an able, humble, intelligent, social and a perfectly functioning man was reduced to a frozen dead body? What is it that actually makes your life peaceful till the time you perish?

Today, I’ll sum up some of these thoughts (gathered from my favorite authors & psychologists) my ideas to live a wholly contented life before the time runs out (though I myself don’t follow all of them, but that just means I need to try harder) 😀

Should I go for it?

The first thing that I consider as the biggest problem of life is ‘dilly-dallying’. You keep on vacillating between two decisions, two opportunities, two issues and two choices. A lot of time this irresolution gives you either regrets or takes a good chunk of opportunities away from you. So, when the time comes just believe in your thoughts, calculations & instincts.

Paulo Coelho says:

“ When we least expect it Continue reading

Deceiving Others or Yourself?

Cover your head, close your eyes or keep a beard….is this going to boost your religiosity? Is this what religion is all about? Is this what measures your piety?

Going a notch higher on the ‘piety’ scale is all that matters! But what we forget in the middle of this struggle to go higher is that Piety will be measured by the Lord and it should solely be ‘For’ the Lord. Creating perceptions of Piety in the eyes of the observers won’t give you anything but some acclamation by the spectators. He knows your heart, your intentions inside out! He will judge you on the basis of your intentionality rather than your pretentiousness. He will gauge what you think and feel before judging your actions.

You can keep two faces; one for the world and one for yourself, but for Him it’s the latter which matters. Not the manifestation rather it’s the insinuation which counts! Friendly conversations, commendations, adulations or helping gestures, nothing matters if the objective is to earn a certain reputation ‘only. Hypocrisy is a trait which can take you to places in this life and make you stagnant when it comes to afterlife.

It’s not about letting go off the thought of creating a reputation rather it’s about bringing your thoughts in line with your actions.

Many a times we try to purify our repute but what we forget is that pristine intentions are necessary for actually a good reputation in front of the Lord.  Our Lord gauges us on what we are not on the basis of what we look like.

We can manipdeceptionulate the way our friends see us but the Lord looks at what we actually feel inside. We can have a beard to deceive others but our sins and intentional sins are all like an open book for Him.

It’s very convenient for us to use words like ‘diplomacy’, indulge in gossips and backbiting and backstab others. No matter how skilfully we execute our small acts of treason and hypocrisy, we can’t escape the results in Afterlife.

I’m not saying that negative emotions ought to be displayed but rather I’m asking you to tone down your internal emotions. Tone down, think and try to set right your priorities. Try to set them in accordance with your goals in life; don’t deceive yourself and the world. If you think that afterlife is important and yet you indulge in this self deception, then you need to explore and reorganize your deeds and actions. Self deception is where you deceive the world with a religious image and actually stick to immoral motivations, but this won’t help. Calm down, reiterate what’s important and then decide whether it’s the Lord, the people and/or this world!

Colored Reality!

We see what we want to see…perversion, obscenity, liberalism, secularism or piety, many things, if not all; depend on the way we perceive things.

Perception can be deceptive; it can manipulate reality and color it the way you want to. Grey can look black and white can look grey, if your eyes are tilted towards negativity. Many things we see are contextual and but everything we see is perceptually diverted towards our own line of thinking.

You must be wondering that how can our perception be manipulative? But sadly it is and the kind of manipulation you see here is the unconscious manipulation. The manipulation is the addition of personal ‘tinge’ to everything you observe, visualize, implicate and foresee. This personal tinge is an all encompassing and translucent sheath which curtains everything around us. The curtain has components of culture, religion, context, experience, relations, emotions, persona etc. But the curtain is pronounced in its impact when it adds shades of grey and whites to your ‘expectations’.

Let’s review an example:

A lady goes to the market and buys something really heavy (in terms of physical weight). She’s barely dragging her shopping bags over the floor to her car and there comes a gentleman in the scenario. He perceives that girl to be in a difficult situation and his chivalry probes him to help her. He steps forward and asks “Hey, can I help you in carrying that stuff to your car?”

I assume you all perceive it to be a situation of a cordial gentleman, offering a helping hand to a troubled girl. But what if the girl scolds him and in fact shouts at him for getting in her way? Or perhaps the girl snaps at him or ignores him completely?

This is where the girl’s perception manipulated an otherwise simplistic scenario. It doesn’t mean she’s pugnacious or frustrated rather we have to dig deeper before judging her.

She was a girl brought up where being a ‘girl’ was considered equivalent to being ‘vulnerable’ & ‘useless’. She was laughed at, judged and even ridiculed by her family and relatives for being a female. It’s these experiences which then accumulated to create her perceptions. She started perceiving every person’s smile as a mocking attempt on her gender.

Rose Colored Glasses

Now, when this gentleman asked to help her, she was bound to perceive it in accordance with her previous experiences. Her heart pumped faster thinking this was another attempt to humiliate her. She didn’t want to feel weak and that’s what precisely a helping hand meant to her.

Now, after looking at the perception formation of this girl, I’m sure you understand the functionality of perception. We often judge and sometimes ourselves misperceive other’s intentions based on this manipulation. So from now on, try to avoid the manipulation, think about the situation in an exclusive context before jumping to conclusive judgments! :)

Breaking through the classes!

A friend was hesitant in asking his parents to come for his graduation night. When I inquired, though he didn’t state it explicitly but I could sense that he was not comfortable with the idea of his parents coming to the campus in a rikshaw.

I remembered how he used to be like when we met on our first day at college. Modestly dressed, very sober, solely interested in studying and walked his way to the campus every day. Now, four years after our orientation, he was a completely different person. He was dressed in a torn pair of jeans, more interested in attending concerts than classes, cautious about his hairstyle and ashamed of the fact that he belonged to a lower middle class family.

We all talk about poverty and the bourgeoisie enjoying their luxuries at their expense. But we tend to ignore the lower middle class; the class which forms the major chunk of this developing country.

Let me paint a picture of how this class generally looks like. Mostly a man/guardian of the family who is employed on an average below managerial post is the sole bread earner. While they can’t afford the S3s or iPhones, they do embark upon a few recreational spots now and then to appease their enjoyment cravings. They generally lack the capacity to afford a car and a bike so bus or rickshaw is the general mode of transportation. Two or more children, monetary issues, quarrels over food and fight for the TV remote are the general topics of discussion.

Widespread and forming the majority, this class has a pervasive cultural similarity. We identify their men by a shalwar kamiz, non-fancy moustache, a tinge of village accent, not so fluent in English, their religious conservatism and superstitions about norms. Women are simple mostly draped in a chadar and shy especially in cross gender communication .Their lifestyle, problems, rituals and even their ways of expressions are similar to each other.

It’s all settled and happy go lucky until an individual from a middle class background tries to enter the elitist culture or at least vows to mingle in that class? At that time its not only him trying to enter a forbidden territory rather it’s a fight of the two mindsets.

When two mindsets are at war with each other, one is bound to lose. The aam admi (middle class man) initially tries to maintain the decorum and conforms to the values taught by his ambiance. But gradually the glittery, luxurious and seemingly blissful life of the elites attracts him.

He starts comparing; his lifetime ayashi (enjoyment) was to have a chicken piece at dinner while the elites enjoy lavish four course meals every day. He fantasizes about partying, long drives and then comes a point where his values start transforming into inferiority complex. Why can’t he afford to live enjoy lifestyle? Did God prefer them over him? All questions but no answers!

Now, he endeavors to transform his personality to at least partially become a part of the enchanting privileged class. The initial changes begin from changing his dressing; shalwar kamiz to a hip jeans and a levi’s t-shirt even if its exorbitant & unaffordable. Then he works on his accent, from following seasons to practicing alone, he tries to twist and turn his tongue in U.S. mode. This transformation is like at first he crumbled & bogged down to pieces, and now the reconstruction is in process.

With the new persona he tries to be a part of the ‘enchanting ones’. Its out of question whether they accept him or not. They might accept him, he might become a part of ‘the class’. Leaving behind his personal and monetary constraints, he might actually attain a position amongst them.

But the saddening part here is that he lost his individuality. He lost what he actually was, his values, lifestyle and self concept, everything diminished under the peer and class pressure.