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College Park, Maryland, United States
Elusive by choice.

12/26/10

Infinite Possibilities, Lost and Found!

At times I have carried contempt for celebration of the past. I never appreciated anniversaries and the end of an era; I wouldn’t believe that they are times to reminisce, recall, relish or even recognize as moments of importance. It might have spurred from my contempt of clich├ęs and unsavory romanticism. As we head towards the end of this decade, a change in perception is in order; maybe just for a little while. The decade of ends and beginnings, as I see it, seems the most important one for my generation.

When I was a young boy, I believed in infinite possibilities. That every dream I had, every desire, however distant and impractical, could be achieved one day. Greatness was the destination, grandeur was the path. I was told I could be anything I wanted. I saw it in “The Wonder Years” of my life that I had the potential. When asked what I’d be when I grew up, I’d recite a list of things including a star basketball player, a celebrated writer, a Nobel Prize winning scientist, and all those in a single lifetime. Possibilities were infinite; dreams were closer to reality than ever. Then I read Einstein’s quote on how only two things, the Universe and human stupidity, are infinite and he was not even sure about the former. I think that was the day I realized I would not be a part of the only known infinite aspect. I streamlined my aspirations. I succumbed to the pressures of growing up. I was not in High School anymore.

College is where most people try to find themselves. College is where people earn an education, a leeway before the rest of their lives. For some, college is where they fall in love for the first time, where they get their hearts broken for the first time. It is a rather gray world where you are never right and yet not wrong. In some sense, college was just the continuation of adolescence with a hint of responsibility and a learning beyond education thrown in. Learning that life is not mere dreams and aspirations; learning that possibilities are finite and grandeur lies in doing the best in spite of limitations. Greatness was not a goal anymore; it was a reward for the grace in overcoming the strife. Despite all these great things, it was a place for the ends as much as the place for the beginnings. Fortunately, we are still too young to grieve those ends and old enough to accept them and move on.

Most people took up their first jobs after college and ventured into life; some earning their living, some helping others with their life, a few in it just for the experience and then some still clueless about what they were getting out of it. Life is not just about jobs. We gave serious thought to the bonds we forged, the relationships we grew into and the society playing a part in shaping our lives. We queried whether we were on the right track, fought to get back on it, sometimes compromised to fight our battles on a better day. We were made aware of the consequences. The world ceased to be gray and took tones of black and white to aspire our motives’ ends. We had come a long way from carefree lives to learning our responsibilities and then facing consequences. Some have learnt the art better than others and some are yet to come to terms with it.

As we approach, what is now being called, a “quarter life crisis”, it is time for us to take stock and make note of the many challenges we have faced thus far. We have approached the end of a decade, and not just according to the Gregorian calendar, but the ten years that we evolved the most. The last ten years for people of my generation has been marked by many challenges, many victories and many losses; it is, however, time to reminisce the lessons from all those, the lessons which would help us shape the rest of our lives and the memories that will light up a smile or bring a tear in our eyes on a distant day in the future. 

I still play basketball, I still love to write and I'm still working towards becoming a "Scientist"; only the false aspirations of grandeur is gone.The possibilities are still infinite; we cannot achieve them all, but we can still do the best we can.

12/13/10

Delusion of an Identity



Wikileaks continued a trend of the fourth estate started over two centuries ago. The initial excitement was driven by information; a buzz catering to the curious with facts and in the crudest form. The scandals followed, the stakeholders being the first victims. The trend suggests a gradual decline into obscurity, the way of the fourth estate completing its lifecycle. The question of personal identity seems remote, if not irrelevant here. The educated world in the quest of an identity however, finds its path convoluted by this and more.

Education is the key perpetrator. Physiologically, the brain does not develop during adolescence, it is rather attuned to the society it steps into based on the information it gathers. In electronic engineering terms, the brain is like a ROM in the process of being programmed; the education burns the fuses characterizing the attributes that determine the individual’s identity. These attributes are entropic by design and at best sustain through the life. In a few lucky cases, the attributes are modified for the better.

The Internet was not just a communication infrastructure. Shrinking the world did not limit to trade and administration. It opened the gateway to demonstrate disparity in education and media. It helped introduce conflict of attained knowledge amongst geographically disconnected individuals. It fuelled the conflict to introduce others to spar over what they considered right. And through this conflict, it opened a few minds about the disparity in information available with these neo-nomads. It allowed for a few attributes to be modified for the better. Then again, like all systems running into disorder, the internet ceased to be the messiah. The conflicts increased and the understanding disappeared. The trolls had a field day while the intellectuals frowned on another wasted opportunity.

The explanation seems vague. So here is some context to elucidate. India and Pakistan are neighboring countries, a fact based on the partition after the retreat of the empire. Indians won independence for the subcontinent and Pakistanis won independence for the subcontinent, the disparity in education eight year olds receive in both these countries. Pakistan propagates infiltration and militancy in India and India funds the anti-Islam terrorism in Pakistan, propaganda of Indian and Pakistani news media and polity. The vulgar spillover on Youtube with every video, as innocent or disconnected it be, involved in incendiary dialogues, the conflict. The knowledge that these remarks are baseless and a result of corrupt education and media, priceless. Somewhere down the line, the conflicts are ignored along with the lessons, the decay.

This is not an isolated example. In every fathomable case, the convoluted understanding of their history and false pride are the culprits. The Identity, a uniqueness or individual differentiator is the casualty. It is a casualty due to its existence. It is a casualty due to its nourishment by conveniently desecrated facts. Yet, it is the goal, a final attainment in a mirage that shadows the path to Nirvana; not the supreme knowledge, but the solidarity without individual identity.

A Night With A Stranger



Dark night lit by two burning cigarettes
strangers share a room and their regrets.
The cold dampener killed by a shared cup of tea
transparent conversations leading nowhere to be.

In comfort of oblivion, an intimacy in talk
the cigarettes burn and so does the dark.
The moment was magical, something never again
comfort in this thought, solidarity attained.

As all good things, the night would end
the ashes mystify a darkness that lit them
no farewell bid, just the memory remained
two burning cigarettes, a tea and two lives shared.

12/5/10

The Last Prophet

Chewing on the tip
he was one with the smoke.
His poison from the vial
kissed his lips with every stroke.

In lucid thoughts he found, something extraordinaire;
he penned them down, each word with precious care.
Words, plain and simple, painted the canvas red;
like from his blood, couldn’t see the difference there.

Beyond the horizon
that eluded the naive sight.
The blind saw again
through his pen’s might.

He knew more than they, which ought be preposterous;
they said he tried to be God, now that was blasphemous.
Secluded from the world, a recluse deemed by the people;
they ravaged his gift, yet towards him, they were vicious.

He wrote the last words
his gift and he would cease
He saw the smoke consume him
as he sighed good bye with ease.

Brothers in Arms

Sleep my friend, it’s a short night to rest
before another long day dawns.
We’ve conquered many together
tomorrow is no different.

Sleep my friend, dream of our adventures
unending saga of dejection and joy.
We’ve won many battles together
tomorrow the war won’t end.

Sleep my friend, recall the stories we ought narrate
to our children and then theirs.
We’ve left our mark on the world
tomorrow is a story yet unwritten.

Sleep my friend, our journey would never end
one of friendship, my brother in arms.
A humble tryst to a rugged bond
tomorrow we add to that history.

Wake up my friend, a new day has dawned
wake up my friend, we have to see the war to the end.
Wake up my friend, the story craves more chapters
wake up my friend, history beckons.
Today is not the day when tomorrow ends.