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Tale of an Old Man

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Once upon a time there was a wise man lying on his death bed. People gathered around him to for their wishes for the upcoming unknown, unseen scary journey through the doors of death. People wanted to hear what were the thoughts of the old man, what could be his confessions. The old man told them the story of his life. When I was a young man, the old man spoke, I wanted to change the entire world. I started struggling towards my goal but I realized that the entire world is too big for a single man to change so I put my efforts to changing the condition of my nation. Soon it became clear that a nation is not for a single man to inspire. I turned my focus onto changing the members of my family for their own good but once again, I could not bring any positive change into the members of my family. As an old man now when I think about the journey, I realize that I chose the path upside down. I should have started to change my own self to inspire the ones around me and the change into those persons would have inspired my nation and my nation would have inspired the entire world.

Having read that story, I wondered for a moment. The path to change should be inside-out path not the outside-in, as the old man suggested. I read somewhere that a wise man tries to learn the lessons from others experiences and the fool tries everything for himself and draws the same conclusion afterwards. A lot of people are aware of this ‘holy grail’ and they do practice it as well, when they’re kids. When I joined my first job as an engineer, I was told that the stuff in reality doesn’t work as suggested by books. I laughed inside my head saying it’s for the sake of theory in books that these machines have been designed and being operated by fools who think that these are something else other than the theories described in books.

After a couple of months I realized that the man was right. The craft to survive in reality is not the practice of theoretical principles rather the craft involves the manipulation. It’s not the manipulation of machines rather it’s the manipulation of how well can you make a fool out of someone else. Certainly it has never been taught to me in my entire educational career and this is when I was convinced that the stuff in reality doesn’t work in accordance to the ‘fair and square’ descriptions written in theoretical volumes. Unfortunately the same principle applies to every person, every nation, every country and the entire world. Principles of humanity are always taught to be used as a crust to sweeten the bitter mode of how things actually work outside the books.

A person might find himself wise enough to follow the old man, to bring about a constructive change into his personality. When that person holds some rank into any social or industrial institution, he’d be told that things don’t actually work like the old man said. Today the tale has been changed. The old man just did the right thing, he didn’t change himself, he moved on with the flow. People in those old times didn’t have the brilliance required to understand what old man did and in the end, eventually, the old man had to come up a theory to cover up why he missed his aims and taught the wrong lesson. If a person corrects himself, he’d be an unfit part of the machinery of this society and the society ‘unwillingly’ will have to pull him out and throw him into garbage. Today the tale goes like this: Although you cannot fool everyone all the times but you have to keep trying to fool them all, all the times. 

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Choices

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In my early teenage I read something, didn’t quite understand it, shared with friends and laughed over. In the passage of many years, when I now experience it, I laugh at my childhood for laughing at it. It stated that a person asked a wise man that how did he achieve success and wisdom? The wise man told that it came from right decisions. The person asked how you learned to take right decisions. The wise man told him that he learnt it from wrong decisions. I laughed at the contradiction that how can a person taking wrong decisions be wise and successful in his life.

In the years past, I see a lot of bad decisions I have made during these years. I have always tried to be logical when it comes to decisions, I tend to follow an algorithm while taking a decision and I kind of keep myself from being there in the spur of the moment. Now that when I analyze all that, I realize that the greatest achievements I made in my life were all spontaneous, the joys of happiness were never planned and the things that were planned didn’t work the way they were supposed to for some reason.

These are our choices that make us who we are. If we choose to be there in the moment, if we choose to be spontaneous, we enjoy it all and living moment by moment we live minutes, hours, days and our life eventually. Target setting, a feel of success and accomplishment is very necessary for one to be satisfied with life. But success should be according to your defined parameters, accomplishments should be based on the goals you set for yourself not on the ones others expect from you. Society’s well imposed goals might make you successful in the eyes of the society, you might enjoy that as well for some time but these will not bring happiness to you. As someone said wisely that do not let the opinions of other consume you.

Success is not a destination, it’s a constant journey. You can choose your actions or you can choose your consequences but you cannot choose both. One should be wise while making choices in life for these are our choices that make us who we are. While setting yourself out on life’s road, make sure that this road will lead you to the point where you want to be not to the point where you are being told to reach and it’s then you can always believe that something wonderful is about to happen, it’s then joy gets out in search of you, it’s then you start enjoying your life and it’s then you start living finally.

Culture

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In the course of history, we have witnessed nations. Nations that have been successful in maintaining their unique identity. Nations that have succeeded in developing constructive attributes. Nations that have witnessed dominative traits in different aspects of life commonly called as the culture of that nation. Life of extra ordinary individuals in the book of nation’s history does not bear more than a chapter and the life of ordinary ones has never been kept in the history book of a successful nation.

And in another chapter of the course of history, we have seen suppressed nations. Nations that have been very successfully maintained their rotten culture. Nations that have been very successfully applied the barbarian regulations onto their individual members. Nations that have assumed this stage of life, a stage of a jungle book and have acted and lived according to the jungle rules.

Today when my present days are rapidly converting themselves into the past, when another page of the history book of nations has been written, I find myself surrounded by some customs that belong neither to the constructive type of nations nor to the destructive type of nations. Today when I look around, I find different species of animals who do not belong to any nation at all, who neither follow the good customs nor follow the bad customs. Who are barbarians having no concept of customs and humanity at all. I once used to be proud of belonging to the part of the world called Islamic Democratic Pakistan, a third world nuclear power.

In some parts of the Africa, individuals are not considered adults unless they spend hours being bitten by fire ants (or some other very poisonous species of ants). They are then considered to be eligible for marriage. When I came to know of the tit bit, I was surprised at the mentality of those people. I was surprised at the difference in those people and between an average person living on earth today, well familiar with the concepts of religion, social morals, humanity and common sense.

How satisfied I was after a comparison of Islamic Democratic Pakistan and that Tribe of Africa and today those lines of my life’s history book now make me realize how wrong I was while making the assumptions of that comparison. In my part of the world, people are also accustomed to the same tradition of slavery of their individuals to their ‘traditions of honor’. Relationships get destroyed, lives get ruined, and individuals suffer in the name of pride and honor, even to the honor of the ones who have passed away from this world. Who are going to have no idea what has been going on after their death until hereafter and who don’t even care anymore. But to the living ones, the honor of the passed ones is more important than the life of the living ones.

When I questioned why love is being sacrificed to something not worth this sacrifice, the final argument I received was.’ I have to this. There are some things that are beyond one’s control.’ That argument is supposed to cover up all the spend years of life and the years that are to come next. This surrender to the old fashioned traditions made me feel that the barbarians of this part of the Indian subcontinent and the barbarians of continent Africa are very distant brother, helpless in front of their own self-made poorly minded meaningless traditions which are a part of their culture. 

The Art to Move On

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Today was my MBA’s first term final exam and it went well in one way or another. There are always some gossips about stuff before and after such exams. I and my friends have this little tradition, we used to get out of the examination hall and actually took a couple of minutes to send all the unnecessary data of the past exam to our minds recycle bin.

I have always been complaining about how I forget things, how I forget my friend’s birthdays, the times we threw each other parties and such normal stuff. Somehow my brain succeeds in keeping the important stuff craved onto the surface of my memory. When such things grasp attention, it feels like it happened very recently. Happens to everyone, I guess and probably everyone wants to move some of these troublesome cravings to the recycle bin.

We all make a model of the world around us, with humans as our objects and expected behaviors as our constants of the equation. Constants are not supposed to change at all, under any condition but when they do, the model gets disturbed, mind’s system gets confused and impulses cease to operate for a while. Reviewing of the system starts and the outcome is the difference factor of ‘how things should be’ and ‘how things actually are’.

Time passes, we move on but this gets carved on the memory. That is when I wish I could get together with friends to take a couple of minutes to move this unnecessary data to the recycle bin but then I realize that I neither can forget it nor do I want to, deep inside. And that is when I realize, out of this bitter experiment time and again that the art to move on is not the art to remember rather it’s the art to forget.

Starting Over

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Everyday we wake up, get ready and get it all done. Someone referred to the best thing about life saying that it comes one at a time. After years, when i combine the day to day steps and all the bits of successes i have made, it all gets blurry. It all gets messed up like a piece of art you rather prefer to paint over once again than to make changes to make it better. That piece of art for me, fortunately or unfortunately, is me life that came to me saying,” Let’s start over.”