Monday, January 15, 2007

On my digital vacation

Its almost a month now since I have been shunning away from being online on my Messengers. It just happened one fine night at 1 AM when I realized I was the only soul online. This solitude bit me. Then there were those mindless chats with intelligent friends, who somehow lost the ability to converse when it came to talking thru a keyboard. Even I became a victim to that folly. Slowly yet clearly I realized I couldn’t stand that clich├ęd chat anymore. “How u doin dude?” was suddenly the curse word. “Whats up?” was a joke & “How was your exam?” was another of those honest questions.

So I quit. I just did. It was probably very impulsive & I started receiving offline messages by the kilo, about where I was? Never replied to any but still many friends call in sometimes to check if I am still alive.

Ironically, I being alive has become synonymous to me being online. Whenever I was offline, there was a worldwide consensus that it must be a power cut or Raunak is dead. Thankfully, still alive but not kicking.

Last night a friend called & I realized I was really away from the messenger for a genuinely long time. Suddenly I found out the power of vocal communication. Living in my room all day long, made me a man of few words.

So what did I do on this digital vacation?

I went places, not real places, virtual places hidden deep within my mind which I never knew of. I compensated all that time with studying & full time reading. All this time I have been throwing literature at me by the ton & it feels GOOD. Trust me, there is no better joy than knowing the fact that you are in the company of some of the finest books ever written.

Being a fan of evolution & a devout atheist I cherished the company of Darwin, Dawkins, and Bill Bryson and also Mr. Gould, who made me peek into the lesser known boundaries of human existence. I never thought evolution could be philosophical food, but it turned out to be the one of the healthiest. I read the evolution of man with the same passion with which I had someday read about Internet Security back in college. Although I have deliberately liberated myself from the clutches of my graduation study & found a world waiting for me to be read & understood.

Being sick for no apparent reason for a long time, makes a mind really grumpy. Full course medication & food for thought was the usual routine. A strong current of intelligent ideologies used to flow everyday. I marveled at how insignificant & irrelevant our existence is when we consider the vastness of our universe. Where we cannot even accurately predict the distances between us & the far off galaxies & the stars, we are trying to tackle a variety of issues like the Human Genome & the attrition rate in the Indian IT industry. It makes me feel proud to know that I am derived, just like every other living thing on this planet, from the same source. It brings a feeling of belonging like no other.

How an unknown and unaccounted for asteroid has the capacity to destroy all life on earth without warning or the super volcano at the Yellow Stone Park could just blow up and do the same. While studying various possibilities of extinction & natural calamities, we tend to forget the human induced destruction. A slow extinction or a slow mutation? Not answered yet. When radioactive fallout destroys generations, when threats like global warming take away the ice sheets from under the feet of our cute polar bears, it’s honestly the time to turn your moral code into a course of action.

This brilliantly crafted world may have not been created by a God-like entity but it’s the only one we have & we ought to look after it. This was a part of the thought process I was buried under for quite a while now, also including, some brilliant deductions by Karl Popper & some food for humor from Doug Adams.

It’s a rather enlightening experience to read something that really has the capability to induce some sort of sentient activity in the brain. It made me realize how I was trying to shut myself from this very basic feeling. Taking a year off to appear for entrance tests & not really scoring well in them is every graduate’s nightmare. But living the nightmare or not, I found a new avenue of me hidden deep within, that has resulted into atleast some sort of philosophical growth.

All this may sound out of the blue, but don’t we all follow philosophies? Whatever ways we live our lives are governed by our own philosophy & perceptions towards life. Whatever way we want the world to look like or feel like or be like, is a philosophy in itself. Great philosophers who have managed to change the course of history from time to time should be regarded with great value since they managed to speak out this philosophy & make a difference. Right from the Greek social system to the ethical studies of Aristotle, we have achieved this sense of reality & civic knowledge as a form of education evolved from those great philosophies.

I was also prying my eyes on the concept of education itself. The word doesn’t have any profound meaning per se, but on further thought we can deduce what we actually mean by education. Is it just a form of collecting information & storing it away in our brains for further reference or is it a way to find ourselves among the crowd we live in & understand what we really want to do? One of those difficult questions has lost its meaning with time & redundancy. We have been consumed with trivia to such an extent that we fail to differentiate between knowledge & information. The processing block of our brain is specifically evolved to handle this difference but if we don’t choose to identify them separately, we never could understand the difference.

What is it that we learnt in schools helps us now to be good citizens? What is it that we learnt in college helps us now to be good professionals? There is another distinction worth noticing. The difference lies between being a professional & an employee. Do these two words mean the same or do they have different outcomes? Again, we process this information in a logical sense & we miss the most important part, performance. While sifting thru this line of thought, I generalized this concept & thought how it might be used to make my life more fulfilling. Every person wants to be liberated from the rat race & every one has a master plan they always dream of. Very few people shun their master plans & flow with the opportunities. They win & others are left dreaming.

After all how is success in life measured?

As an old saying goes:

“Success for me is to be able to live my life the way I want to live it.”

Song for the moment: Eminem - Sing for the moment

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