Our Universal Fear

If you were to ask yourself the question, ‘What do I fear the most?’, what would you come up with?

Death?

Losing your loved ones?

Pain?

Well, I have come to conclude that everyone has their own fears. Everyone has their own fears to battle. Yet, there there is one element feared by all human beings.

The future.

We live our everyday lives in anticipation of the future. Most of the decisions that we make in our life are in an effort to realize the future that we envisioned for ourselves. Of course, many give up on their dreams and live a life less than they are capable of. But even on the smaller scale, we do make decisions based on the future. The kind of mate we choose, the education we seek, taking language classes, making an effort to write a novel, posting a picture on social media, etc. Every action of our’s has a purpose. And purpose lies in the time to come. Hence we commit actions based on the future we envision.

Most of us give in to the grim future that is so obtrusive. Economy is suffering, the environment is degrading, the competition increasing along with the population… everything is getting saturated in the negative light. Eventually we all realize that there will come a time when this planet will be too saturated with humans and the consequences of their actions. This is the long term bigger picture.

Even our smaller pictures are not very colorful. The future for most of us is not exactly splendid. Even less for those who come after us.

On a personal note, I will soon be pursuing Bachelors in Mass Communication. But I too fear the future and what’s to come. Certain questions that plague my mind:

Will I be able to make it through as a successful documentary film maker?

Is there any hope for this line of work in my country or abroad?

What are the risks associated with making a successful eye opening documentary?

You may or may not have been in my shoes at one point in time when you considered the above questions. To be frank, I do not know if my actions and decisions will bear fruit in the future. Yet, one cannot keep thinking. Because even if we pause, time does not, and with every ticking second we either get closer to the future we dream of or move away from it.

On the good note, there are some really awesome things we all have to look forward to, yes? I like to think that my actions will surely result in a meaningful future if carried out with good intentions. I hope to make documentaries that will inspire people and that I would one day travel the world exploring and documenting.

Does your future hold more of serenity or more of anxiety?

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Rewinding Time

Scientifically speaking it is impossible to rewind time. Time travel is, as we know it by our modern scientific theories, impossible. I look at time as an inspiration. Sure, it is a battle that everything and everyone has to fight. No one can cheat Time. Only Gravity can bend time to its will.

What I mean by ‘Rewinding Time’ is simply going back to doing something you would do in the past.

For me, I regret leaving my taekwondo after my 1st degree Black Belt. I also regret not studying hard enough to get better marks. I regret not taking the initiative to learn the violin when I was a young child and I regret not being consistent in my writings. A recent regret: I regret being ignorant about Art when I visited London in 2013. That story shall be told in another post.

Bottom line- everything happens for a reason, right? So I have been getting back to things I have been doing in the past. Starting with taekwondo and now blogging. I do not remember the last time I wrote, but it sure does feel good to be back!

What is that one thing for which you would ‘rewind your time’ ?

The Toxicity of Our Times

Recently, I read an article that described the severe hazards that prevail in Beijing, China’s capital city and also one of its most polluted.

The article gives you a very grim view of the situation there. It described the city as something of a futuristic scene. The entire city is covered in a layer of smog. Everyone seems to be wearing heavy duty masks to be safe. The parks are devoid of children running about. There are no cyclists on the streets for fear of inhaling the deadly air. An increasing number of children are falling sick. The fancy schools that have capital are building artificial domes that have purified air. What’s the reason for all this?

I am not an expert or much aware of anything related to China, save Chinese food,  and so my imagination and presumptions may not be accurate. I certainly agree that what’s happening in Beijing is nothing worse than an apocalypse, or rather as it has been labelled, an airpocalypse. The citizens are aware of what’s happening. The devastating changes to the architecture is the physical sign of the worsening foul air. The AQI of Beijing’s toxic environment hits 400 at times- Certainly not safe for any human being to treat with ignorance. The amount of carbon mission from factories is sky rocketing and the laws and measures implemented by the government is of little use if not futile.

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/dec/16/beijing-airpocalypse-city-almost-uninhabitable-pollution-china

That’s the link to the entire article.

My concern comes from the fact that Beijing is not the only city suffering from such hazardous conditions. The air quality in most of the Asian countries is getting worse as the the economies are booming and the demand from the industrial sector is increasing. Indian cities are a hazard themselves. The pathetic safety regulations in the public transport sectors account for maximum pollution. The degraded quality of air filters do nothing to completely burn the fuel and so the carbon emissions are ridiculously high. Certain areas of my city record an AQI of 230 even. These areas have always depressed me and I have refrained from venturing there. Luckily I live on the better half of the city and so the ample greenery helps in keeping the air clean and safe to breathe.

Europe has an amazing AQI, with almost all the countries sporting an AQI of less than 40. I visited UK back in 2012, and I still remember the blast of fresh air that filled my lungs as I exited the Heathrow Airport. I felt more alive than I had in 15 years of my life. The feeling is the same whenever I go for a trek into the mountains or any hilly, isolated rural area.

India and China are two countries that are going to play a major role in many sphere’s of this planet’s future. Both the countries have their own positives and negatives and these often seem to be vicious circles and inevitable paradoxes. It has been predicted that the increasing fuel prices by 2050 will compel us to reduce our dependency on petroleum and that we would look towards coal as an alternative. I daresay that it is not going improve this planet’s future prospects.

We need to slow down and think of what we are doing… This chase for progress and innovation and the fight for a better lifestyle is a paradox. Now I know why Tolstoy preferred a peasant life, and I know now what Tolkien was preaching through his works.

This Memory Still Makes Me Smile

Much of my life has been uneventful and disillusioning for me until I passed out of High School and moved into the vile real world. In my country, college life is not very different from that of school, because of which most never experience the world until they complete their education or are motivated by someone or something to make the most of their time. Fortunately for me, I came across AIESEC immediately after High School.

Not a month into AIESEC and I was a part of the key circle responsible for organizing an important conference of the year.

The conference was a success, no doubt. Yet there were many obstacles and immense pressure that was to be dealt with. Three days into the conference and my soul was quite spent. I could no more care for my lack of food and sleep and worked like I had never before. I was silently cursing my ill fate as I continued to work as best as I could, wishing for the time to fly.

Yet, there was this one unforgettable incident  that changed my feeling towards the conference and the organization itself, taking the experience to a whole new level.

The entire day was spent in running about trying to get things done, making sure all the sessions were running smoothly and there was nothing amiss.

All the delegates were in the main plenary. Night had fallen and the plenary was fairly lit. Five Hundred delegates were on their feet, screaming out their respective Local Committee’s role calls after a brilliant session of AIESEC jives. It was my Local Committee that hosted the conference and I watched my fellow members burst forth into our ferocious cheery role call. At the same time, every other delegate also joined in and we had hundreds of people calling out our role call in unison.

I was standing next to my senior watching the delegates when he said to me ‘I can’t believe it still that we have delivered this! Look at what we are delivering here! We have actually succeeded!’

And that moment, my exhausted mind quit ticking and I absorbed the vibrant energy through my eyes. We were one in this conference. Despite being from different cities to whom our loyalties lay, in the end we were heading towards the same vision, appreciating the same collective effort of countless others across the globe.

That’s when I felt that all the effort and the vast amount of planning and preparation did not go in vain. We had achieved our goal. We had delivered one of the best AIESEC conferences ever; A collaborative effort of about 60 individuals at various levels of the conference administration.

I smiled.

‘Yeah. We delivered this… Holy shit! We actually delivered this conference!’, I said, as the realization began to slowly sink in. My colleague laughed as I said that. He could not believe it either. All my grudges against my decision to apply to be a part of the organizing committee vanished and I felt proud to be a part of that experience.

That moment was a turning point in my AIESEC journey. I would have probably quit AIESEC after the conference, had it not been that enlightening moment.

How do you counter despair?

Many a times people find themselves in a sticky situation. All is going well, until the sky turns dark for your soul and a thunderstorm devours your mind while your heart feels stuck in a swamp of negativity. Yes, my friend, I am talking about the moment when you loose all hope.

You must have felt yourself at loss of words when your efforts do not pay off and all your hopes are in vain. You feel frustrated and foolish that you ever thought of trying to achieve your goal and having suffered failure it you berate yourself and curse yourself away to damnation.

 I have felt that myself. Time and again I have become demotivated to even get up, put on my shoes and go for a run because when I am about to begin, I think, ‘Jesus! Three miles to go!’. And then coping with the pressure of trying to run those three miles in the best time possible! It gets frustrating when you are not able to beat your previous timing. The gloomy weather along with the damp soil does not help cheer my soul. None the less, I manage to applaud myself for the effort and decide to give it a better shot tomorrow.

A few days ago I came across a new feeling that was quite unexpected. For some reason I was unable to complete my daily quota of three miles and I stopped after only 1.7 miles, my legs weak due to pain and my lungs out of breath. I could no more command my nerves and sinew to carry me forward- The pain was just too much to bear! I was frustrated and began to curse myself for being weak and being incompetent enough to run three miles. I decided to quit running that very day.

 

I remember being agitated throughout the morose evening. The warm shower calmed me down a little, but I felt like having a go at my house walls. Instead, I decided to watch Forrest Gump. I had downloaded that movie a few weeks ago and did not know when to watch it. I was busy being a bad kid watching Breaking Bad instead.  

I never knew what to expect from the movie, but truthfully, it ignited my soul once more. Watching that kid in leg braces, breaking free of them, running thousands of miles across the United States just because he felt like running and forever finding hope in despair and joy in the little that he was given, I was inspired!

That movie certainly taught me a lot. 

Human beings are frail creatures, insecure about the world and fearful of the might of Nature and the harsh realities of life. As Forrest said, ‘We may be destined to float around forever’, and yes we might just be! Time given to us is short. There are so many joys and pleasures to be had, but in equality are the life sapping sorrows and sufferings. We cannot change what was taken from us or what was given to us, but we can shape our perspective and initiate a change to live every moment to the best of its ability to serve our memory as long as it permits. 

 

As for myself, I decided to continue running and never give up on my dreams. If Forrest could do so much with so many inhibitions and obstacles, why can’t you also go forward and do something great in life?

Towards the summit, against the storm and the wind and obstacles within.

There was once a boy who would suffer from frequent bouts of extraordinary inspiration. His early years were spent in failure and despair, shadowed by those who surpassed him and reached his goal before he could even see it. He dreamed beyond hope, always trying to be what he knew in his heart he could not. Efforts and repeated lessons were in vain. Defeat was turning out to be an everyday affair. 

He realized, with time, that the only way he could succeed, was to summon all the strength and will within, whether by prayer or force. And so he set his eyes on a target and began to prepare for the dream that may one day be realized.

The path was rickety, thin and hoarded with obstacles, and every time he tied his shoe laces and set out into the downpour to train, he felt discouraged at just how far the road still lay- seemingly endless, and at the end of it he envisioned nothing but the endless expanse of darkness.He keeps on running, his mind focused on his goal and heart beating more fierce than he had previously known, the wet damp earth splashing with each step, the beads of perspiration streaming down his neck, his eyes looking straight at the spreading landscape before him. 

There are times when a voice speaks to him from out of the depths of his mind, ‘Why do you trouble yourself with such reckless pursuits? Is it not a fool’s errand to try and grasp something so far out of reach? Stop now, and turn back. Go no further!’.

It makes sense to him. His heart feels as if it would break free from its cage, his legs feel a burden so heavy that they threaten to collapse with every step, and his lungs cry for relief from the strain and the heat and the lack of life. And then, he remembers his dream, tries to imagine what it would feel like to have billions watch his progress as he competes in the greatest quest ever witnessed, and if won, what it would feel like at that very moment: a warrior vanquishing his foes, earning the glory so long sought and the respect of friends and foes and family. And his soul says unto him, ‘Don’t you give up now, even if it kills you!’. 

This is all that it takes, and he takes that extra stride, puts in the extra effort, and sports that out of the blue smile. And upon finishing for the day, he feels like he made the right choice. He feels that he did not let himself down. He feels a little closer to his dream And with that happy thought, he goes home, preparing for another day of requited effort and hard work.