Understanding our existence

Meteor

NASA had predicted the Perseid Meteor showers on Aug 11th and 12th. The annual event in August is due to a comet “Swift Tuttle” which flew around the Sun in 1992. Although the next trip around the Sun is only in 2126, the remnants of the comet is what causes the meteor shower. Earth passes every year through the trail of debris left behind by the comet. Scientists from NASA had predicted at least 60-200 shooting stars per hour in the northern part of the sky

The predictions in the southern hemisphere of our planet was not quite promising. But, being an ardent space enthusiast since childhood days, I wasn’t the one to give up on even the slightest opportunity. I spent quite a bit of time on the roof of the house hoping to catch some live action of this interstellar event (and also come up with wish or two).

Of course living in the heart of Chennai city has its perks; but not tonight. The darker the sky, the better are your chances of spotting them. The light pollution and dust from the surroundings caused a dip in my enthusiasm, as all I could see was a bright moon and a smog filled sky. After an hour of patience filled wait, the metropolitan glow really had me annoyed. Slowly as I began to accept the fate, I plunge into my mind. As I probe into my thoughts, questions about our life and existence pour out like a water from a broken dam.

All the activities, struggles, joy, hatred and war exist only on an insignificant small scale when compared to the whole expanding universe. I wonder why we get stuck in the cycle of life and death. Sometimes, all it takes is looking up at the vast sky and understanding how our living is just a tiny tiny fraction of a much larger creation. Some say that we are all as old as the universe itself because matter in its form can neither be created nor destroyed.

“Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravity of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future.”

— H. G. Wells, The Time Machine, 1895

With a broken heart I crawl into my bed giving up my hunt for meteors this year. With unanswered questions pricking my mind, I close my eyes. Then it all starts. As I try to sleep, I get lost in galaxies that are yet to be found.

My fascination for space keeps on increasing as I try to contemplate the answers behind our evolution and purpose of life.

The Ultimate Experience

sad

 

 

 

 

 

 

One has to experience at least some amount of sadness to get a real experience of happiness.

Yes you read that right!

It is not possible to stay gleeful and satisfied at all times. Neither are your woes permanent! Just like it takes a vacillating mind to come up with most innovative ideas, it takes a broken heart to understand the self and realize the feeling of absolute pleasure or delight.

What is sadness?

Sadness is an emotional state of being which tends to highly demotivate a person and create a state of imbalance in the mind. It is a feeling that affects everyone.

There might be several reasons for the cause of unhappiness. Scientific studies reveal that only a single particular part of the brain (left pre-frontal cortex) is affected when a person is depressed. And it is this, which is responsible for one of the most commonly experienced emotions which are caused mostly by the mundane activities revolving around an individual’s life. There could be several reasons to this; burden of responsibility, anxiety and strenuous working or living environments.

Life has many ups and downs. A flat line in an ECG isn’t the one that indicates life, it’s the zigzag line that does. Similarly it is these ups and downs are the ones that help a person to evolve. Sadness and pessimistic feelings are not permanent. They are just essential.

People always interpret grief as highly negative thought. It is actually that part of the emotion that induces a sense of awareness in one’s life. Now you might argue that this an insane thought but I feel that it’s a necessary evil.

Take pessimistic people as examples. Since they tend to consider and expect the worst possible result in everything they do, they are better prepared to handle the outcomes of any scenario, no matter how severe it is. The mind is well prepared to take a fall. Now, imagine the feeling or emotion of a person who has expected the worst and has got a good or slightly moderate outcome. Pessimists are in a much better and mentally stable state than others who have the anxiety of failure, because they are already prepared for the extreme outcomes. Hence, it is always better to consider the glass of water as “half-empty” rather than “half-filled”.

The experience of happiness by a dejected person is almost similar to a man who has lost his way and has discovered a city. Imagine the intensity of joy and relief one would experience.

Thus, rather than being in a happy state always (which is actually not possible all the time in a real life!), a state of sadness can help a person retrospect, think and be better prepared for anything that may not go their way.

The most colourful rainbow appears only after the fiercest thunderstorms.

So, shed some tears, embrace the agony, let go of your inner ego and pick yourself from the ground to experience what it is like to have undergone all this and finally get the true sense of composure and joy.

The Reign of Smartphones

Smart Phones

High Dynamic Ranging, 13 mega-pixel camera, 8 mega-pixel front camera, giga bytes of RAM, Snapdragon-810 processor quad core etc…!! These technical terms were only used by IT professionals a few years back. But nowadays these are the most trending and commonly used terms on a daily basis. The ubiquitous smart devices have not only entered the markets, but also announced their arrival in our lives and day to day usage. With the advent of phones having multi-tasking capabilities and price tags below the range of 10k, it’s a common sight to see a smart phone in the possession of all.

With Samsung breaking the barrier by crossing the most number of smart phones sold a year and other competitors reinventing the various technologies, people find it indeed a really hard task to keep their fingers off the phones.

We all know the capability of these gadgets but all these technological advancements find themselves on the back foot when it comes to its wide influence on the teenagers and adults. Agreed that it makes life interesting and facile but it’s really heart breaking to see kids glued to it the whole time rather than being out of their houses and indulging in physical activities. People are so much engrossed in the “virtual-reality” that they fail to notice and pay attention to the things happening around them. We can often find kids failing to respond to the calls of their parents as they are deeply engaged in a game. If you are a parent, would you rather see your eight year old sweating it out in a tennis-court/swimming pool, or surf the subways on your smart phone?

I remember the time when my achievements in academics earned me a nice English willow cricket bat during my school days. For a whole week, I enjoyed the envious looks of my mates. However, the current scenario is such that, the kids nowadays, are being promised a new phone in exchange of high grades. It makes me wonder if this is how people define a generation gap. If so, I simply pity the kids who are deprived of any form of physical activity. Teenagers tend to fall a victim to the “virtual world” and become couch potatoes.

How hard could it be to not use your cell phones for a couple of hours? Turns out, it is very hard. I find people seeing their phones every 5 minutes even though they haven’t received any kind of notification. Such is the influence of this addiction. And just when people started worrying about the high charge consumption of the phones, the manufactures came up with a new product; “The Power Banks”. As the power bank found its way into the market, it of course, became an instant hit, much to the delight of many. It was introduced with a motive of keeping you “always connected”. Is it really that necessary?

There are also some other major causes of concern; privacy and security. With photos and data automatically getting uploaded to the cloud, there are lots security issues. They seem to be secure and safe, but all it takes is a good hacker. There were lots of leaked personal photographs of celebrities that came to light when the cloud database got hacked once. That’s when the alarm bells started ringing and the companies implemented counter measures. Still, there are a lot of ignorant people. With the e-mail accounts automatically getting synced to the phone, it just makes phishing easier. It is simpler to hack an account synced on the smart phones when compared to laptops or desktops. It generally happens when people connect to a free wireless source internet and unknowingly, they become a sitting duck. Hence, it is necessary to stay very cautious.

I’m not trying to play the blame-game here and go poking fingers at all. I myself am a victim to this addiction. I just want to stress on the fact about how much these are influencing our life style in a negative way too. There are a lot of productive ways in which the smart phones can be used but one needs to draw a clear and decisive line between its proper usage and addiction.

We humans are indeed becoming the slaves of our own creation.
I really miss those days when phones were just used for the sake of communication with others. The population then, was a much more interactive and a prudent one.

The Transformation

Hostel

After slogging for 2 whole years, thousands of engineering aspirants rush to get an admission in renowned universities. But studies and engineering aside, I want to elaborate about the hostel life. It is the shining light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a place where I discovered myself. I mean my true self; like passion, hobbies, interest and socializing. Doors which I never knew existed, opened up to help me experience a great change in personality. People whom I never knew earlier became my closest friends. Hostel life not only served as a platform for me to enlarge my friends circle but also helped me shape my character, adapt, share and learn to find happiness in every moment.
From a shy introvert and a self-obsessed guy, I had the most amazing transformation into this completely different person who has learnt to identify the flaws in his character accept the change and adapt accordingly.
Words cannot describe the moments that I experienced. I have learnt to “live” and “relish” every day. However, it has all come to an end now. The responsibility calls has made each and every one travel down diverging lanes. It’s really difficult to leave a place you’ve spent the best part of your life in.
As I get into the bus from college back to home for one final time, I look back to see the college slowly fade away into the horizon. Overpowered by emotions my eyes become moist as the memories start running in my head. I have this sudden yearning of spending just one more week at the hostel, with everyone I became close with. But realization hit me hard as I come to understand that it’s never going to be possible again (EVER!).
I saw the bright red dusk sky being engulfed by darker shades as time passed and quite literally it marked the end of the most wonderful chapter.
I desperately await the advent of a new chapter in my life. Now my time is spent contemplating the challenges I need to face in the future. Am I ready? Not for now, but soon enough..
As I struggle to embrace the change, I feel that in this life, there are no regrets, just lessons.