Category: Random Philosophy Page 1 of 19

Death

The news of death brings forth an abundance of thoughts and dilemmas that remain for days on end. People you’ve seen walk in front of you talked to and talked about them in the third person when they were alive when they die, it’s like, they vanished.

You do have memories flashing by. Faint recollection of them, unless you’ve met them recently. How long do we hold onto their memories? Once they die?

Family and friends, sure. What happens to others?

Hypothetically, put yourself in this permanent position of absence from the world, and think. What would others make of us? Long after we’re gone? Did we impact anyone’s life so that they’ll remember us?

We imagine ourselves to grow old and slither away. But, what’s the guarantee that we won’t live to see that day.

Sure, there’d be people who will be pained to not find us with them, but how much will we matter when we’re gone? Like, really gone?!

There’s a verse in Quran (Surah-Al-Imran) that you can find in every Muslim Graveyard, “Qullu Nafsin Zaikatul maut,” which translates to “har jaandaar ko maut ka maza chakhna hai” (Every living being will taste death). Every time I read this, I question, what am I even planning things for?

Is it for this life or the next?

I recall one of my first visits to the kabristan when one of my friends’ grandfather died. Throwing a handful of soil onto the grave while murmuring prayers in unison, we laid him to rest. The process happens quickly, but the feeling stays—the sense of putting an end. Stays, and you remember it every time you hear the news of a death.

Perhaps death is a lesson for all of us to stay grounded. We were made from the soil and would go back to it eventually.

image of road with vehicles

Journey(s)

Journey(s)

Different. Distinct. Stops. Pauses. Jumps. Skip. Change course. Move. Forwards and backward. Short. Long. Ups and downs. Restart.

Journey(s).

Our journey in life continues to evolve in myriad ways. Changing characters as we traverse through the corners. Zigzag. Shifting gears as we speed up towards unknown goals that we’ve marked as milestones. ‘One more’ we say as we cross ’em on the right. Catching a glimpse in the rearview. Not even waiting for a victory lap as the chequered flag gets waved. Such is the rush.

Breathing. Feeling our breath as we slow things down. Fuel? Bad roads? Traffic?

Reasons galore as we halt our pace. ‘What happened?’ spelling out of our faces for them to see. A breakdown. Visibly shattered.

Slow down.

Change course.

Up.

And a little down.

Go back.

To come back faster.

Or, just take a new road.

Milestones change and so does our journey. All have their own tracks that take ’em somewhere. Somewhere they want to go and maybe not. But we all move. Not moving is also a journey. Getting stuck on repeat. Tiring. Confusing. Still our journey. Pushing hard to get out of the wreckage of life. Days and nights go past without an inch being moved. How is this even a journey?

To see it all move for others. ‘Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear’. Zooming past us as we look ahead.

The sun sets.

Dark.

Wait.
Pause.
Restart.

A push on repeat. It’s a new day after all. Move. Slow. Move. Stop. Move. Slow. But, move.

Another journey begins.

City through a bus window

City

Cities are personalities. The kind that influences yours too. Not just the outer you but the core of it. Repeatedly brushing it with faint strokes. For days. And then they leave you in colors you’d have not known to be there. Fathoming combinations that hitherto existed in a faraway reality. Stuff that they show in movies you rewatch and in books that take you places. The same brushes paint you silently.

The lack of resistance and the need to experience the aura of these cities, the vibe check and a stay that absorbs it all. Slow roasting the pot of your marinated soul. A city can do that.

The memory of the other city fades away like a different self you left behind in the bylanes. Photographed away, somewhere.

Over years of living in the shell of our ageing bodies, we realize that we are one of these cities. A vibe match that struck a deal with that same inner core.

The gloom of it, the sun of that or the ripples of water touching you or just the snow falling outside the window or just the cherry blossom paving your path back home on a Sunday afternoon post-lunch. Any of the above. One or maybe more. Calling you like an azaan. Asking you to come.

From windows of crowded buses as you eye the seat shifting to the air brushing past your ears as the tyres move away in the traffic, cities change. The noise remains, but the noises change. So does the silences.

Leaving one, or arriving at a new one, or returning after a decade is surreal when you stop to think and mundane if you continue walking. Imperfect interpretations of what it can mean change with a new brushstroke of the city.

The city changes your lehza. One lafz at a time.

The silence of the nights, staring at the ceiling or the silhouettes of passengers outside long windows ask questions on coping better with it all. Does a better way exist? In this city or that?

Sunday Evening when it rains

The Sunday Evening Sleep

A sense of calm, bereft of mornings, overcomes my sense, as I got up today after a late afternoon nap. Nowhere to rush to, absolutely nothing to do but just a feeling of being in that very moment occupied my head.
On the bed, watching the blade of the fan swirling above my head and the fading sunlight of the evening peeping right through the window. With that, I led myself up at an instant, while realizing I did not have to drag myself as I do it in the morning. Aah! Don’t I hate it to get out of my bed every morning?

Opening the door to my balcony while placing a chair outside, ensuring the raindrops do not fall over, I sit there to look at the rain. It was not raining heavily and neither there was a drizzle. Just enough to hear the drops falling over the railings of my staircase-cum-balcony. My post-sleep blank self sits there with post-sleep mouth not wanting to do a chore.

Yet, I went back in to get the cup of coffee that I had just put before coming out here. I waited, counting the drops pouring down into the cup. No rush. There is no rush. I started at the cup much the same way I started at the stillness of the sky and the trees, with only the raindrops being allowed to make a sound, the moment is free of any ‘What’s next?’. The music of it all. Tip-tapping their way in the background like a song which just needed this still image. There is no video to accompany it. This image would do.

Sunday Evening when it rains

As the light fades out slowly, I stare at the endlessness of the sky. Edge to edge. The expanse and the reach of it, hitting. The droplets join to travel alongside the edge of the railings and the leaves moving ever so slightly to wave this evening a goodbye.

I stopped myself to think, ‘will there be more of this?’ and brought myself to just be in this very moment and not think of ‘What’s next?’. Let that remain the job of a post-morning me.

Why find a finality to everything?

The ticking timeline of our lives forces us to find closures to everything. Fixing it. Find a natural end to the problem at hand. An itch waiting to be scratched occupies the headspace like a necessary addition to the course of it. We’ve started treating everything as a problem. Awaiting a solution.

I watched the 3-part series on Bill Gates, aptly titled, ‘Inside Bill’s Mind’ today, where the Microsoft founder is trying to find solutions to world problems. Drainage, Polio and Nuclear power. Occupying his mind, investing his energy and resources and a quest to get a handle on things that matter to him.

It’s interesting that even for a man, who is one of the richest and most influential persons on the planet, the problem expands multidimensionally. Not that there isn’t progress. Efforts do yield results if you work towards it. But there isn’t a finality to it. A definitive closure. One gives way to another. And, Bill isn’t alone in that.

The obscurity of our mind and the ways we try to push it, knock it for answers and command it to find solutions, is insane. Pestering it to dive into uncertain waters to bring us a semblance of a fitting answer is so common that we don’t think twice. We don’t give that poor organ, a break. Even when it tries to give us signs of an abrupt slowdown, by tiring us-our bodies, making us frustrated and irritated at our cores. A break? Naah!

Definitive goals are good. Going after those goals, with all our might, is even better. Keeps us focused and occupied when existentialism winks us as we age.

Achieving it, fixing it, finding an answer or bringing an end is all a finality. Like a sentence awaiting a full stop. Like, the lives we live.

Should our lives be defined by the start and end of our existence? Like, the problems we keep trying to fix? Or the answer we want to find?

Or, let’s make an attempt to live it. To breathe. And pause. Not everything has to be fixed.

Staring outta this window

A window that looks out towards the moving world while the freshly brewed liquid gets sipped past my longing lips. It’s a relief. Relief from the heat from outside that this artificial air cools down.

In the abyss of unknown city dwellers in company and the ones that stare inside, this kid sits next to me writing on paper. I casually take a look. The thinking pen takes breaks to allow him to correct his sentences. A strike here and an addition there. He doesn’t take his eyes off the page. Not even at the cute girl standing outside the window looking at her phone, waiting for someone.

My eyes are lost in the traffic outside. The shaded lanes of Park streets and the moving traffic. The yellow taxis and the careless walks on the pavements. The rush to reach somewhere and the one where there’s no hurry. They all stare right through the glass here. With bags on their shoulders. Heavy, perhaps.

I notice them. They all want to look through. Curious eyes. Just passing across but wanting to know it all. Like they all do. The curiosity pulling them closer to peep through. The outsides they like.

And then they leave.

The boy has stopped writing. There’s another man in between us now. A seat apart. Talking on the phone. The boy and me, both look at the man. He doesn’t care. He’s looking out of the window too. There’s no one outside now.

The afternoon is fading away. Trying to welcome the evening clouds. The traffic has slowed down in anticipation. As they all come out on the one-direction of this road. Few, on the other side too. The ones who dislike rules and probably find the swear words coming out of the moving traffic blissful.

All three of us are silent. All three of us are writing. The boy, the man and this guy you’re reading.

I lower the noise of the brewing and foaming inside and the traffic outside, and listen to the music being played. The background of voices dipped in the conversation doesn’t let me guess the song. It’s nice though. The flow of it. I don’t want to know the song. This is a coffeehouse song. I’ll leave it when I walk out of this door.

I sit there in silence, staring outta this window.

Lie(s)

There’s no end to lies we tell ourselves. And we keep telling it, like a self-created propaganda, inflicted every moment for adjusting our head to reality. The scary reality of people and the world. Mostly, people.

As soon as the ground beneath starts trembling, we start finding solace in our ability to find new pastures of comfort, and tell ourselves that this is better. Better in our heads, of course. That’s the one to be convinced after all.

Our fear of staying of sinking along with the trembles just doesn’t let us stay there. And that is smart. Why risk it? Why fall? 

Building a wall around and not letting ourselves be affected. Playing it safe. The cautious ones, are we?

And then there are few. The ones who enjoy the gloom. Immersing themselves to be engulfed by the mourning of failures. Letting themselves fall like it’s a ride leading them somewhere. It leads, of course. Leading them to the depths of the hollow surfaces. Like a free fall with consent signed on it.

Awaiting a rescue to pull them out while they peep out of those tiny holes. Lying there. Waiting. Optimism in the eyes pushing ourselves along with the pulley. Maybe, this time it’ll be better? Lying there, lying to ourselves.

Which one are we?

The ones who run away, or the ones want to get stuck?

Or, our shuffle keeps getting exchanged?

But maybe, these are all what we tell ourselves. Finding closures when there aren’t any; reliving what wasn’t worth it or wasn’t ours from the start itself.

But, what do I know?

Maybe, even this all is a lie, I’m telling myself?

Pattern

Of all the tiresome things, the one where we get tired of our own pattern of decision-making is the most heart-wrenching. Figuring out the cause of your problems is your own self and your stupid decisions and behavior, is you, just a sad version of a face-palm moment. In slo-mo.

Sigh!

It’s not like we have no idea when we’re making those decisions, but that tiny clasped nudge of optimism pushing us forward, like teenage boys telling their friends to jump off the first floor. Nothing will happen. They’ll say. And, Lol!

It’s like a song ringing in your head. When you don’t even like Pink Floyd that much but you can’t get this out of your head.

‘..Out there in the cold.. … can you hear me?!

..hey you!’

And all of this have reminders. Popping like mushrooms on the thrown away wood after rains. Not needed, but there. Purposeless existence. And yet, visible.

In the exercise of trying to make well-thought out decisions, our life still follows a pattern. The troughs and crests of our lifetime fall back to their OCDish nature of creating a symmetry. Even when we are trying to enjoy the highs, the creepy feeling of falling down doesn’t let us be free. Sure, and vice versa, we know we’ll move up as well. But in between, one just gets tired of it. Why can’t we walk on a plain road. Just walk, we don’t even want to run to reach anywhere. The plain and boring are fine. Let’s stay here and chill.

But, no!

We need excitement in life. Heck, the life needs excitement and it wants us to try it all. Hit-and-trial.

‘Did that work?’

No!

‘Okay, let’s try it this way!’

But, let’s wait

‘Come on, this’ll be fun. You’ll be fine this time’

Umm.. ohkay. If you insist.

And damn, we’re back to the same. Pattern.

The Itch

There’s an itch that I can’t seem to put my finger on and scratch. And yet, I know of the presence it has over a part of me. I keep looking for where exactly it is and just cannot seem to locate. No, it’s there. Somewhere accessible, definitely. All I’m saying is, I can’t put a pin on it.

It’s a problem. The problem of not being able to define the problem itself.

Even with an occupied mind, the creeping moments of dissonance disturb the flow of returning to normalcy.

Like a sloth not being able to get out of bed to a tired body which cannot fall asleep, even when it really needs the rest. If not for anything, at least from the headache that’ll ensue the next morning until a few gallons of coffee is nuzzled inside. No, drinking isn’t the problem here. My sad tempt-ridden vices.

Few scratches here. And probably there as well. I just seem to have unpacked boxes that didn’t need any meddling. Objects should’ve remained intact. The status quo as someone said to me once. Maintain that. But, my damn itch. Let’s scratch it to win. Win prizes everyday.

Hit-and-trials of a series of root-cause analysis doesn’t bring out any conclusion. Unacceptable, indeed.

On hindsight, everything seems avoidable, every decision examined and all what-ifs answered when nothing could be changed. The silence of the presence engulfing the chaos past like a it meant nothing. But it did. It all did. It all made sense back then. O’ you! The monster of the present, stop treating the kid of the past with disdain, and have the empathy. The future’s karma won’t spare you!

I’m still left wondering, where’s the damn itch! To scratch and feel better. Temporary relief, but the cravings of the soul are real.

Journey

Losing your true self is easier than we think. Being lost in the milieu of storms, big and small, over the course of this finite existence is tragically real. Our life is a constant commute with every stop just a reason to change lanes. Criss-crossing parallelly without any intention in place. We just exist.

In the midst of this chaotic marathon, we sprint and walk, or just stand to take a breath. But this marathon never ends. One check-post to another. We don’t realize but we change over the course. Outwearing our shoes and our souls, getting older with every mile. We call it growth, we call it becoming an adult and we can keep calling it what can make us happy. Perceivably happy, to our own self. Pep-talking our way with our brain. Making it believe what will make us happy. The desires and the wants. Feeding the code onto its script. Compile.

Like every good run. You get tired when you go a little ahead of yourself. Reaching where you’re unprepared for, falling short of breath, every time.

And then, like an epiphany, a menial thought pops up to show you the pattern. Listing out reasons, a long list, telling you to stop and take a deep breath. Take it. Untie your brows from the shackles of your goals. Just take a deep breath. For now.

Look back. Look at the journey you’ve made. Look at your damn worn-out shoes. Not the one you’re wearing but what you’ve never removed. No, don’t glorify the past. And no, don’t look at it like a failed attempt. Acknowledge the journey and the survival. Let the wind blow over your face and be grateful. Forget, forgive and feel it all like a black and white flashback. Yes, b/w, it looks better that way. Search for your true self. Deep Breath.

Sure, put on your shoes again, and make a run for something new. It’s a marathon, remember?

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