I was on a bus on my way to watch a movie (interestingly, most of my enlightening moments happen during bus rides). I was running late. Life wasn’t too good at the time with just two friends- depression and loneliness. A middle aged man got in the bus and walked towards me. There were no seats left. He had a weird smile on his face. He asked me something in Bengali which I did not understand (I could have if I wanted to). I think he was asking me if I was going to get off soon. I think he wanted to sit down. Since I was not feeling great and was also in the middle of checking the cinema’s location, I simply told him, “Sorry, I don’t speak Bengali” with an expression that implied “leave me alone”.
Lets go back a year. I was in a different country. I was in a bus (again!). I was running late(again!). I asked a woman for directions. She looked tired and frustrated. She did not understand me the first time. Then she replied, “Sorry, I don’t speak Indian”. I felt really bad because I had asked in English.
By now you probably know what I am getting at. I understand that frustration causes people to do bad things. Sometimes, it takes a lot of effort to keep it under control and do the right thing. I had this realization during my bus ride to the cinema. Unfortunately it happened after the guy got down from the bus. I thought to myself, “Fuck! I did the same thing!”. By that time I had missed my stop and I missed the first half hour of the movie. Worth it!
You know what I want to think of myself? As a human being. Because, I mean I don’t want to be like “As Confucius say,” but under the sky, under the heavens there is but one family. It just so happens man that people are different – Bruce Lee
He gestures to say, “This is my creation, my life.”
Here is the story of Saji Thomas, a silent engineer.
I have a problem with such stories. They hurt me. The thought that this visionary could hold the key to the future of flight and is unable to do so because no one cares about him is saddening. However, knowing that he fought hard and came this far makes me very happy. After I read such stories, I usually gain a little confidence. However I normally disregard the person in the story. All I care about is gaining confidence. However, this time things are a little different. This time, a friend of mine is interviewing Saji Thomas! Though not directly, I can ask him anything! I can learn a lot from him. I might even be able to help him out with whatever crap I know. I am super excited!
I thought about how different our lives are. I literally live off of sound!(I work in this field). I cannot imagine a life without music. I am awe struck by the wonder that is sound. It hurts me to know that there is no “sound” in Saji’s life. There is no music. Or is there? Though we are worlds apart in that way, I believe that we share an interest in engineering. It is this fact that fascinates me the most. I am curious about how differently his mind works from mine. This is precisely what I wish to ask him.
Am I an alien?
A few days ago I was sitting in the back of a bus, thinking about the project I was working on. “Stereo sound widening”. I thought about how awesome the human hearing system is. Then I began my usual questioning spree. Why are our ears on the side of the head? Why couldn’t they be in front like he eyes? The eyes would have been better off at the sides of the head! Then I wondered how bats see. Contarary to popular belief, bats are not blind. However, in the night they use echo location to navigate. It would be so cool if their brain was constructing visuals based off the sound. Why don’t we have that?! We’re stuck with these shitty looking ears. (Actually, no. They are amazing in their own way!)
I looked at the other people in the bus. Evteryone were in their work clothes. They looked tired. Everyone looked sad and exhausted after a hard day’s work. What if an alien was there in the bus? How would it feel sitting right where I am sitting now? How strange would the human form be to it? Would it understand that people are going back from work? What would its life be like? Wait a minute… Why the hell am I thinking about all this? Do I actually belong here? Aha! Maybe that’s why I feel like an outcast all the time. Maybe deep down, I am not one of them.
I appreciate everything.
I appreciate life. For some unknown reason each of us are given ONE chance to do something great. ONE chance to make at least one person happy. ONE CHANCE. Life is the best teacher in the world. Life teaches using time. I care about the past but I do not cling to it. I learn from it and then I let it go.
I appreciate science. I wonder if people think about how the simple things in life actually work. For example, how does one manage to stand upright? Bones and muscles operate using sophisticated methods to keep the body upright. Different types of muscles push and pull parts of the leg like a fucking well oiled super advanced machine just to make it stand upright!. Tip: Watch how Terminators and transformers walk.
Don’t even get me started about bikes! In my opinion, they are marvels of innovation. You see people ride them everyday. I wonder how many people actually know how the balancing mechanism works. I believe that everyone should have good knowledge of the things we use daily, our environment, our body, etc. so that we can maintain it better.
I appreciate the work that goes into making movies. Even if I watch a bad movie, I think about the good parts in it. I think about how the bad parts could have been made better. I don’t sulk about how bad the movie was. I don’t care if the movie had a bad plot. I would still like it if it was “well made”. I pay attention to the camera work, the background score, actor’s emotions, etc. I super-appreciate the director’s ability to convey the emotion of a scene. When someone makes a movie and releases it to the public, he or she is literally beaming their thoughts into our minds for us to work upon it. That is some next-level communication! I think that is just awesome.
Last but not least, I appreciate the stars in the night sky. I don’t know why but they give me hope. They make me happy. I could look at them forever. Mysterious objects floating in space. Looking at them makes me question the reason for my very existence.
I wonder how many people stop and wonder about things like this that we take for granted. Curiosity is in our DNA. I think it would be a crime to suppress it. We shouldn’t feel afraid to question anything.
I don’t fit in
I don’t fit it in anywhere. Literally. Not even in a shared cab :-). Everyone’s fine all crammed in until I try to fit in. They have that feeling of disgust on their face like I just sat on their face. You know what the worst part is? I have an average size body! I am not even that tall. Maybe its the way I sit I guess!.
I don’t fit in at work. Sure, I have some good friends there but when it comes to working together with someone, I suck. I either tend to be too nice, making others feel too comfortable and take advantage of me or I become too aggressive and end up making a fool of myself (either way, it usually ends up with me getting very aggressive). So the “team player” part of my resume is a blatant lie :-).
I don’t fit in with friend groups. I’ve noticed that whenever I get introduced to a group of friends, there’s someone who immediately hates me for some reason. The others lose interest slowly. Eventually, the person who introduced me regrets doing it.
I don’t fit in with a band. I get the chance to play because I kinda play well. All the jamming sessions go very well but when it comes to hanging out with the band, I again get left out.
I don’t fit in with my family. What can I say? Its like mom, sis and I actually like to argue with each other. We are better off texting each other. I like having the extended family over for parties. We have a little fun but eventually I get left out there too. Its a little weird when the host gets left out!
I don’t fit in AT ALL in relationships :-). I don’t think this one needs much explanation.
I know its no one’s fault but mine. On the bright side, I think I would be a perfect candidate for a one-way trip to outer space. Solo mission only please!
We often hear the phrase: What are we, animals?. It really makes me think. Whenever we do something aggressive, we’re told not to behave like animals and yet we are. We are animals. Who are we kidding? There’s no denying it. We are only desperately trying to suppress our animal desires. However, we are evolved animals and evolved beings are expected to behave well. Where do we draw the line? I think there is no such line because I believe we are still undergoing that change.
How do we define being human?
We began this arduous journey as animals. Slowly but steadily we began the transition to humanity. Along the way, we tend to get confused. I think it is okay to get confused. We get confused because at the core we are still animals. We feel good when we behave like animals. How long will it take for these animal instincts to go away? People say that it is upto an individual to decide weather to do the right thing. I don’t think it makes sense. A person, lets say a “less evolved” person might be behaving like an animal because their mind is asking them to do what it thinks is right. Whatever we, “evolved” beings might think, that person is just following his/er instincts. Their conscience finds nothing wrong in behaving like animals. So they do whatever they like but in some cases, they might feel regret afterwards. I think this is the key point in evolution. We feel the prick of conscience. In even rarer cases, we go back and fix it! Then we learn from it. We adapt our ways so that we do not repeat the mistake. Evolution at its best!
I don’t think we have reached the destination though. I don’t think there is one. I don’t think there will ever be a fully evolved human being. Please don’t think I am too pessimistic. I have reasons to believe so. The body adapts to its surroundings. Since environments keep changing, there is no reason for evolution to stop. The human mind is extraordinary. It has the ability to teach itself and hence people will also continue to evolve mentally forever. Having said that, I would just like to point out that I watched X-men apocalypse today and I loved it.
We live in a world where the majority of the population think they are always right. People don’t take a moment to think how their actions might affect others(I am no better). Its amazing how a simple discussion with other people can change your plans altogether. I think this is another trait we acquired with the help of evolution. The ability to have an actual discussion with others, to consider the consequences of your actions before you make them, is amazing.
I think we still depend a lot on our animal instincts to succeed in life. That ‘gut feeling’ that we all get is the basic instinct. We cannot throw away such useful traits. However, there are several of them that I think we should lose!