Friday, February 17, 2006

And What Is Your Point?

Sitting today as I do, I find myself in a strange place within and without my surroundings. There is a palpable air of calm and yet I find myself unable to rest for the mind is in constant turmoil. The thoughts that race through my head are incessantly changing in colour and depth and they refuse to slow down to the point where I could endeavour to decipher, savour or even float within a single one.

Perhaps the closest that I got to coherent thought today was while writing my exam when I saw the question, “Justify: Interview situations inevitably create a conflict between truth and self-projection”. It is quite a strange question if you ask me. I do not question its veracity as it is quite evident. What makes it strange in my opinion is the fact that this is true not merely of interview situations but of each and every interaction we have whether with those around us or even with ourselves.

I have frequently dwelt on this fact and quite frankly upon seeing this question I was quite tempted to insert the line that even writing this answer could in a way become a conflict between what I truly believed and what the examiner wanted to know. When you speak to your parents it is a conflict between what you want to say or do and what you know they want you to say or do. Indeed it’s about who and what they want you to be.

It has been a strange sort of week for a variety of reasons and continues to stay weird. There are those write-ups that need to be sent to the committee that will publish the memoirs for the outgoing batch. While it seems like such a great idea on the surface, I see quite a few flaws in the entire thing that render the entire exercise quite meaningless in my opinion.

The write-ups are written for each person by another person whom the committee deems to be best placed to know the person in question. This to my mind is quite senseless. After all, shouldn’t the person be allowed to choose who knows him or her best? The committee obviously knows precious little about me, since I don’t even know who is in the committee and therefore of course, the person who has been allotted the task is my neighbour, who quite frankly, knows as little about me as the chaps who were last with me in kindergarten.

Then again, why should only person contribute? How much would this person be able to encapsulate and quite frankly, would it really matter? After all, for every single person on campus, I am somebody else. Ask 50 people what they think of me (or anyone else for that matter) and you are more than likely to have 50 different opinions. None of them is right and none is wrong, for quite simply, to quote Roger Waters, “I am you and what I see is me”.

Anyway, quite pointless to think about it, because frankly it does not make a difference to me and I could not really care less about the entire thing right now. There seem to be far better things to think about, if only I could identify just what my brain wants to do at this juncture. Quite frankly, it seems to have taken off on its own and that has left me a mere shell of a person who is seeing a complete blank all drawing more blanks when trying to come up with something or indeed trying to find my brain.

The entire exercise though has made me see things around me in a new light. All of a sudden there are now even more questions and proportionately fewer answers. When asked whether he was feeling bad about leaving this place, a person replied that he’d never felt worse and that he was leaving so many friends and stuff like that. It surprised me because the last time I felt such an emotion was when I was forced to change schools in my second grade! Evolution and change seem natural to me and more than being inevitable, to me they are essential!

It made me wonder how any person could ever mature if we were forever in the same company; if you were never made to move out and find your feet in a new environment. Mind you, I am of the type that is most averse to experiment and yet, I realise that unless I am faced with fresh views, situations, ideas and thoughts, I would never be able to grow in the truest sense of the word, as a person! Sentimentality is a sign of weakness and nothing more than that.

Yes, I do admit to having fond memories at times and there have been times when, even as I moved on, I knew that what I left behind was far better than most things I would come across later. Even today, I can identify those times and reaffirm that those were indeed great. However, that does not mean that I ever feel the urge to return to those times, nor do I regret where I am. They form beautiful memories that still make me smile and for that reason alone, I do not wish I could change what happened. That may perhaps just take the joy out of the entire situation.

Deep within each person knows the truth about change. Yet we’re almost always unwilling to let go and always attempting to hold on till the last possible moment. For some reason most people are loath to accept that parting is but a natural consequence of meeting and that nothing in the world is permanent except for a memory. Memories…why can’t we just aim at creating and retaining the best of them? Why hanker for living on in the same moment? Why not just live life as one collective memory where each scene is as beautiful as we choose to make it? I shall never know, because quite frankly, I too am human…

Sentimentality though is not restricted merely to people or places. What about thoughts? How many people are comfortable in stretching the boundaries of their imaginations? How many like to break free of the fetters of conventional thinking? Most of the time we can’t even bear to hear someone else speaking of something that goes against our thoughts. How could we tear ourselves free of our own thoughts all by ourselves? It is possible, but let’s face it, most of us will not do it, simply because we are too attached to what we already believe in. Questioning ourselves without any influence other than ourselves is not something that most of us can claim to be capable of.

8 comments:

Shreyansh said...

Wow. Nice post. Got me thinking.

Dreamcatcher said...

Long, took me a while to read and assimilate. And quite a lot for someone with an IQ of 45 :P
Why do you think we all yearn to freeze moments and resist time?? Human frailty?? Or is it ingrained in us like some reflex?

Darth Midnightmare said...

@Shreyansh: Thanks. Keeps me thinking too ;-)

@Dreamcatcher: Well, perhaps it is the IQ of 45 that prevents me from getting any answers :-((
Anyway, if I were to say what I think causes our yearning to freeze time as it were, is what you have aptly called human frailty. It is caused by fear of loss that results from attachment. Buddha said that attachment was the root cause of all misery. Now that is a simple concept to know, but almost impossible to realise. Realisation of this would result in having no attachments. The moment you have no attachments, you are not afraid of losing things...

Another reason is fear of the unknown. The future is for us, a vast unknown. Even if one embarks upon a task with enthusiasm and excitement, there is always at the back of the mind, a fear of something bad accosting us on the way. That's another reason why, when one is 'happy', one yearns to freeze that moment in time and live in it forever... the results of that of course are further misery and losing the ability to see the bliss around you in the present.

StupendousMan said...

mike,
you've touched upon quite a few points - change, sentimentality, thoughts, t the conflicts between who we are, who we want to be, and what we're known to be. as usual, interesting. however, i wouldn't go as far as terming sentimentality as a weakness. Sentimentality is giving in to a strong emotion. i think that's okay. about change - we're all comfortable in our own zones, and we do know that change is inevitable. so by being sentimental, a person really isn't resisting change (if ever that was possible). he's just trying to tell someone how much something or someone means to him. the memories that we strive to create come from the strength of these emotions. no one place or person is perfect. we want change too. so in a sense, the discomfort you speak of, arises from a mismatch between our expected rate of change and the actual change itself. its the emotion in anything that makes something memorable, aye?

Darth Midnightmare said...

Hmmm...ok, see, what I meant when I said that sentimentality is a weakness is exactly the point where people begin to resist change! Sentiments per se are as much a part of us as our thoughts because they are so inextricably linked. Yet, there are times when a lot of people resist change. This is not obviously an overt effort but more a covert one that they themselves fail to see most of the time.

It manifests itself in yearning and living in the past. Comparing with times gone by. And this in my opinion is the worst thing a person can do. It is as close to self-pity as you can get and comparisons in this scenario are not merely odious but also unfair as our memories tend to erase the darkness and retain just the bright spots. Hope I'm able to convey what I mean to...

Rajat said...

true that most people resist change and want to live in the moment...think that stems from the fact that every change means an increase in effort...effort required to settle down into a new environment...and most people would prefer the lazy option and hence maintain the status quo...

regarding the IIMPrints, maybe all the blog readers should be writing urs!

The Individualist said...

Interview situations inevitably create a conflict between truth and self-projection. *thanks himself for not having to write the answer to that question.
Because, quite frankly, I question the veracity of that statement. Even though in most cases, it might appear to be true. I don't think it is. In a rare few people that I know. And in even myself. And you know what? You have a greater chance of getting through if you are true. Helps in shaping a murky confident aura around you that the interviewer, if competent, can recognise.
And more than the person's laziness wanting him to stick to the status quo, I think it has more to do with the bonding that he has with the environment and the beings that constitute it. The bonding he is not sure that he will have somewhere else. The comfort factor that it offers him. The happiness that emanates out of those beings that he has figured are the closest to the kind that he wants around him. There are a plethora of reasons around why a being doesn't want to let go. Not often. Not the people he loves.

deppnair said...

i dont blog...these days i jst spend time reading others blogs (..quite entertaining)

while reading this one i felt i was reading my own blog.

absolutely hate to pretend and be wat m not....its always lik dat..interviews or with ur colleagues...parents...

about change..we all hate it but eventually dats wat we want...and dats smthing dats nt gona change