Wednesday, 22 February, 2012

Karma - The First Law

You may or may not believe in the Hindu concept of Karma. You do good things and good things will happen to you, you do bad things, bad things will happen to you. The traditional Hindu concept goes more like if you do bad deeds you will be born as a lesser creature in your next life (an earthworm maybe). And if you save up enough good deeds, you will be able to escape from the tedious cycle of rebirth and death and your soul will be free. Though the thought is tempting, I think we can safely assume most of us are not going to do enough good deeds to become freely floating souls. So the compact version of the concept works pretty well. What goes around, comes around. Good things happen to good people. Because without this assurance, without this insurance against the cruelties of fate, we would never tread the straight and narrow path of good. You know for every factor in your environment which is in your control, there are 17 which are not. So you do your time, and leave the those 17 to the powers that be, the justice of the universe, god, spirit, whatever you want to call it. You see,when Hindus started talking about karma, they were basically stating the law of conservation of energy. It as provable and as logical as that. Energy can neither be created, nor destroyed. It can only be transformed from one form to another. Karmic chips can neither be created nor destroyed, they can only be transformed, from one form to another. At the end of the day, when you do something good ( and by that I don't mean charity or selfless service only, I mean something constructive), you convert the energy of the food you've eaten, the sun you soaked, the water you drank ( the vodka too) into good karma chips, which can be later cashed in ( transformed) into positive results you want. Similarly, when you do some thing destructive, please note, its destructive only if it was done out of malicious intent*, you transform your body-mind energy into bad karma chips and you never know when the universe will want to cash in those. So karma is not a boomerang, its just a practical illustration of the good old First Law.

* If you didn't have bad intentions when you acted, you cant be held responsible for the universe having screwed it up.

P.S. The title of the post reminds of the era in Hindi movies where all titles were single words followed by an English definition- Duad-the run, Zurm-the crime, Mard-the man,Jaal-the trap,etc etc.

After putting up this post, I got similar reactions from two of my friends. Things were not going so well for them at that time and the question was " What did I do do to deserve this? If your theory holds, I must have dome something downright awful for this to happen to me". I know both of them are wonderful people and they wouldn't hurt any one on purpose. So I am telling you what I told them. Sometimes, you get sucked into someone else's karmic cycle. Look at Sita (yes from the Ramayan). She got kidnapped, got false accused of sleeping with the enemy and her husband left her. She didn't do anything bad to deserve this fate. But that is what happened. She got sucked into Ravan's tale of karmic retribution. Shit happens. But don't worry.  I am sure the first law kicked in and she's in a very happy place right now sipping mocktails and enjoying the good life.

Sunday, 19 February, 2012

An arranged marriage is arranged madness

I can't believe my post is motivated by a no-brainer romcom, but it is. "Ek me aur ek tu" released last week and I was listening to Imran Khan's promotional interview on the radio and he was saying the story starts off with them getting married after an alcohol fueled night in Vegas and over time they get to know each other better. I realized that's what arranged marriages are. They are no better than an alcohol fueled bad decision to get married in Vegas. Its a gamble and the risk is the same. Now isn't that a sobering thought.

Lets see, two strangers meet, their cognitive powers hampered by powerful substances (alcohol in one case, maa ka pyaar in the other) and each person lies to a certain extent about his/her own qualities and the intensity with which he/she likes the other persons'. In both cases the decision is based on too little knowledge and too little reliance on the most important thing - the way it feels to be in love. So both situations are pretty much the same. Getting arrange-married to someone is the same as getting drunk and mistake-marrying in Vegas! How are you supposed to love someone and his/her parents, have children with them, clean after them, see them brush teeth, puke, have diarrhea, find their sleepy head look cute and do all this till the end of time if you are not in love with that person?!. You can grow to love a person over time, like you would with a friend or a pet or a house, but to truly be partners, man & wife, the halves, you need to be "in love" to start with. And it is the most beautiful feeling the world. Its not only when you can't live without them, its when you can but you don't want to. Love is not out of a compulsion you have no control over, its a choice. You are completely secure knowing that you are completely vulnerable,that's love that stays forever and that's the kind you need.

For the record, I didn't watch Ek me aur ek tu, but I have to admit I kinda wanted to.

Thursday, 9 February, 2012

Forget me not

I seem to be forgetting everything. I don't mean mundane things like where I put my keys or did i switch off the gas stove. Those I remember sadly. But things like the books I read long back. Ive forgotten the plot, sometimes even the names of the main characters. Ive even picked up a book, read a couple of chapters and then realized its not deja vu, I have read it before. (happened with the book 'The good earth' by pearl S. Buck). I was reading other peoples' blogs and came across several posts where readers admitted to having forgotten much of what they had read. Some were saying blogging is their way of archiving everything about the book so that they can look it up later. It gave me great comfort to see I wasn't alone and I wasn't particularly deficient in mental faculties.

This makes me go off on a tangent. Can I honestly, to the best of my knowledge say I know almost all there is to know about xyz? I realized I couldn't say this about anything. I couldn't say this about books (the authors Ive read), music (the bands I followed) , movies & TV ( the stuff I watched, in some cases repeated viewing of the reruns) and not even about what I studied in school or College. Even with the best of my efforts I cant convince myself that this is so because my interests and inputs are so varied and cover such a vast range that i cannot remember all, its like trying to squeeze 500 GB into a 250 GB hard disk. I know that's not true. Its just that in the period when this particular thing was occupying alot of my mind space I probably did know alot about it, but with time it has faded, and now I seem to remember only the broad outlines along a couple of interesting facts. So maybe I did know all about it, I just forgot.

Maybe its a multi-tasking problem, I am always so busy doing something else at the same time, that none of my activities get full attention, and thus none of them get registered properly. They just glide over the surface without penetrating.

Or maybe its a confidence problem or a humility problem. I cant make myself say I'm good, apparently not even to myself.

Whatever it is, I feel like my interests are defined by a Venn diagram, with multiple circles of different colors, which are fading over time, but the boundaries hold, the diagram is there. So even though i might not remember what Rebecca said to Maxim when he took her to Manderley for the first time, I do remember feeling like Rebecca, entering Manderley with her and feeling the magic. And maybe that's enough.

Tuesday, 7 February, 2012

The relationship equation

A relationship works when,

 x - y >= 0

x = The happiness, support , motivation & inspiration given by the relationship
y =  The tears, worry, self-loathing & doubting and helplessness caused by the relationship
As it can be seen from the equation, when the relationship gives you more than it takes away, i.e. the net is more than zero, its worth it. Otherwise all you get is a negative number which will always subtract something from you and will drain you over time. A special mention for"drama" based relations. Now some people like it hot! What i mean is, the peaceful routine existence gets too boring to keep their interest alive. A fight, a scare an ultimatum fires up the engine. But please note that the equation holds for them too. Because mostly the drama has only short term consequences and not sustained sadness. The small episodes of friction are like the sparks given by a spark plug. They ignite the passion.
Now what if the net is zero, nothing lost but nothing gained. Well then its a false positive. Because this zero doesn't account for the opportunity cost of having lost out on the potential of meeting someone who can tilt the balance of the equation. To slightly modify an analogy from the movie life in a metro - if someone's car is already parked in your garage, you cant let out your garage to someone new.
Disclaimer: I don't know anything about what makes a relationship work or not work. Its different for each couple. I reproduce here some wise words from "sex and the city" - "No one can possibly know what actually goes on between two people except for those two people".

This post is dedicated to my dear friend R. You deserve the world.
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