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Posts Tagged ‘Life’

As the rain falls outside the window, and as the guitar rolls on the speakers, I look at myself. There is nothing out of the ordinary that I see. This is me, and this has been the case for the last 2 decades. But I am struck with this feeling of amazement and wonder, something which I knew all the time, yet I hadn’t ever really grasped the meaning thus clearly. Perhaps it is the rain or the music, or maybe the mix of everything.

Science, or rather astronomy, has shown us that Universe is made up of trillions of galaxies, each having trillions of stars, and then this accounts for 5 percent of the Universe. The other 95 percent of the Universe is made up of “dark” matter and “dark” energy, things which we only have a vague idea about. The reason we need these terms is to account for the ever-expanding Universe, something which we cannot explain with our current knowledge. Its like throwing an apple in the air and it keeps on getting faster with time. Human beings, arrogant as we may be of our intelligence, are still clueless about most of the Universe.

One thing we can be certain about is that Universe is indeed big. As Carl Sagan puts it, Earth is just one pale blue dot in the cosmic ocean. In all this massiveness, where do we, Earthlings, fit? How do we find sense and meaning in this life form we find ourselves in? Can science even begin to answer the question? Are we humans attracted to religion because of our inherent need to find purpose and meaning in the nothingness?

Yes, there are way too many questions to answer. And, answers cannot be found from just one source or one book. If that were the case, everyone would have found their answers by now. These questions require constant self-searching and I feel each person answers the questions, his or her own way. There are many philosophies and religions available for us to choose from. But one thing is certain, science has a power to show us, awaken us and enlighten us about how precious and rare we are, as living beings, in the cosmic massiveness.

Our body is made up of multitude of elements ranging from iron, oxygen, nitrogen, potassium, sodium, carbon and so on. Where do all these elements come from? How did Universe create these elements in the first place? The answer lies in the core of the stars where nuclear fusion creates all known elements in the Universe. Following the death of the star, all these elements are released in a massive explosion, spilling them across space. And its these elements which lie inside our body now. Its in the death of stars that new life awaits.

Instead of we being separate from the Universe, we are part and parcel of the Universe. I am the Universe. And Universe is me. The atoms and molecules that sit in our body today have undergone countless cycles of birth and death across massive portions of the Universe since the birth of the Universe: the Big Bang. Guess, its safe to say that we were born 14 billion years ago. And to top it off, through the incredible process of evolution, we have been gifted the intelligence to fathom this fact. I find this incredibly amazing.

So, what is the moral of the story? We are made up of the Universe, and perhaps we have only one life to experience the beauty of the Universe. We must take steps to not only appreciate what we have, but also use this incredible power as human beings to do things which matter to us, things which might be very small, but gets us closer to realizing the beauty of this Universe we find ourselves in. Showing love for the loved ones, making others a bit happier, taking time to enjoy the nature, appreciating the multitude of cultures, enjoying art, pursuing our passions and putting ourselves through myriad experiences are some ways I feel we can justify being “alive”.

We all are awesome. And we all are a part of one big human family. After all, how many pieces of matter in the Universe have the ability to think, enjoy, love, feel and appreciate what they find around them. There might be other living beings in the Universe, but for now, we are the only ones we know about. We are the products of the magnificent workings of the Universe, which has amazed us and will continue to amaze us for eternity. No matter how we may look, feel, or act, we are all awesome in our own ways, after all we are the products of the Universal amazingness.

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The Gift of Life

They say life is essentially simple. It is meant to be enjoyed. But, what is “enjoyment”? Many people have different interpretations on what “enjoyment” actually means, my definition also varies from time to time. Some people think its about indulging in self-pleasure and some people think its all about living in the present moment. But, what I feel is that enjoyment of life is all about experiences. If this were the only life we had, are we experiencing the life to the fullest with whatever means we have?

There are many things to experience in life. Experiencing and learning about nature gives us the understanding of how incredible we are, and how incredible the planet we live in. Experiencing and learning about cultures gives us the understanding of how interconnected we all are, and how incredible we are as species. Experiencing growth by using our strengths and overcoming weaknesses at work, sport or personal habits makes us in touch with the massive potential we have. And then there is so much, so much more to do, feel, see, hear, read, talk and experience. The list is endless.

We all are indeed awesome. Usually, we end up in this sinusoidal state of life which fluctuates with external conditions. External situations take control of how we feel. But, if we elevate ourselves to make ourselves truly experience the wonder of this life, external conditions would rarely affect us. No matter how many setbacks we may encounter, in the end, we would still be alive. And after everything, if we are still alive, we have the most precious gift that the Universe could give us. The gift of life.

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I borrow the title of the Steve Jobs’ speech at Stanford Graduation Ceremony. His speech is a brilliant depiction of the life of a man who overcame all odds to achieve his dream. May he rest in peace. In this piece, I will be writing about a conversation I had with my friend Pavan a few months back. That time we had agreed that we have found the truth and we wanted to share with everyone. We hadn’t got ourselves to write anything on that so here is me attempting to crystallize what we called the “truth” that time.

What is Death? This was the question with which we started our long conversation that day. We had just watched a famous Hindi movie “Kal Ho Na Ho” in which Shahrukh Khan, the protagonist tries to “live” each moment inspite of knowing that he would be dying in a few months time. So, what is death we asked each other. We could not answer it but what we were certain is that death is certain for everyone. You, me and for 7 billion other people out there. We are on a definitive sentence of death. Its just waiting for us somewhere. It may happen a few months, a few years or a few decades later. But its going to happen.

So, Death is certain we mused. But what is it? And why does no one want to die? Is it because people are uncertain of the blackness ahead or is it because of the unfulfilled desires in their life that no one wants to die? Perhaps its for both reasons. Man is trained by nature to be wary of uncertainty and death is the most uncertain thing out there. Lack of fulfillment usually goes unnoticed but tends to haunt enormously in retrospection. And death is the biggest moment of retrospection.

So, what should we do knowing that we are going to die one day. “Live each day, before you die!”, “You never get life once again!” or “Would you do what you are doing today if it was the last day?” are probably some of the famous quotes we have already heard. But, what are the practical ways to “live” each day fully? Do we need to give up what we are doing completely and become a hermit or go on a world-tour or go on a party-crazy mode? No. Its not doing something spectacular that we need to do. Answer lies in each moment. Are we respecting each person we meet? Are we caring enough for our loved ones? Are we showing them that we care about them? Are we working hard enough at what we are doing? Are we treasuring the nature around us? Are we appreciating what we have? Are we overpowering the usual bouts of procrastination and inertia?

Well, we knew we were getting close to the truth. Yes, the idea to “live each moment” sounded correct enough. If we lived each moment and went on courageously to achieve what we wanted, we can tell during the moment of death, “Bring it On!”, “I Have done what I can on this planet” or “I have fought hard. Time to move on..” We can happily embrace death at that moment! Isnt it?

At that moment, we somehow felt guilty of wasting a lot of University life in laziness, doing nothing. Could we have done something more? We realized that its ok for now as we have time in future to change that guilt but, what if we felt this hollowness or guilt at the point of departure from this land? Wouldnt that be really sad?

So, the “truth” we agreed upon was that we need to pursue our dreams and live our life to the fullest, but, its a collage of how we live each moment, whether we make each moment count that matters more. If we see a beautiful collage at the moment of our death, we would be satisfied of our work, if not, we would have this undeniable regret piercing through our heart.

The question to ask ourselves today would be- How are we living each moment right now? Can we make a small difference somewhere? Can we take a small walk towards our dreams? We have two options. Either to live before we die or to always be dead.

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