Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Wants


Nirvana. Most of us aim to get there. Some of us, are already there. Some of us ‘want’ to get there. That’s where we go wrong.

To understand this, we must understand what Nirvana is. The word “Nirvana” literally means “blowing out” –if we look at it in the Buddhist context, it means freedom from greed and hatred. In Hinduism, it means becoming one with the Supreme being, through moksha. In Jainism , it means the final release from karmic bondage. If we notice, it is similar everywhere. It is basically freedom from worldly attachments.

Worldly attachments involve a lot of things that we like to do, or a lot of things that we wish o happen. An example would be, when we wish that we land a cushy job with a nice paycheck. This is a ‘want’ – not something that we should have on our way to Nirvana.

Nirvana, some of us say, is not what we want. “We want the ultimate state of happiness” Well, that’s another way of pronouncing “Nirvana”. ‘The ultimate state of happiness’ can be reached in many ways. If one has ‘wants’ one can never be happy. “If the ‘wants’ are fulfilled, we will be happy.” No! If the ‘wants’ are fulfilled, you will only be satisfied. You will be happy when you have no ‘wants’.

However, is this logic flawed? When we say, “we want to attain Nirvana” we still ‘want’. We ‘want’ to be happy. We ‘want’ to ‘not want’. Paradoxical? Yes. True? Don’t you think so?

If you think about it, when we say that we ‘want’ to attain Nirvana, we are actually saying that we ‘want’ to ‘not want’. The ‘want’ to ‘not want’ is also a ‘want’.

Nirvana. Most of us aim to get there. Some of Them, are already there. Those who ‘want’ to get there will never get there.

Nirvana. Does it really exist?

- Dhaval Shethia

Who Am I?


Who am I? The most fundamental question, yet the most difficult to answer. Who am I? If you can answer, "What is the specific weight of certain metals?" or "What is the third-root of 2437?" in split-seconds, why is it so difficult to say who you are?

So, when somebody asks you, "Who are you?", what do you say? Is it your name? More often than not. Like Shakespeare said, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Do you answer as to whose child you are? Or what school you go to? Or who you work for? These are some of the most basic replies people give.

"Then what should we say?", you ask. Since I've gone ahead and busted all your usual replies, the onus is upon me to provide you with the "correct" one. Or is it? Do I, ME, another person, who is not "you" need to point out to you who YOU are? REALLY?

Introspect. You will find that it is you and only you, who can most comprehensively answer the question. The question, sounds very difficult to answer. However, if you look at it, if you analyze it, if you THINK! Even for the briefest of moments, you will start to realize!

"Seek and you shall find God!" That is what they say. Can God answer that question? He should be able to, right? Considering that He "can do anything" he should be able to do this as well, right? WRONG! Nobody but yourself can answer this question for you (and this one is for the believers) not even GOD!

All you need to do is look at yourself. Question yourself. Question your beliefs. Think about it.

So, who am I, you ask. Well, I am everything and I am nothing.

- Dhaval Shethia

-What- Why Should I Say?

“Why don’t you ever talk? Every time we have company you just clam up!” I hear this constantly from my mother. Whenever I meet people, I am never the one to start a conversation. Now, why is it necessary to go up to your 75 year-old uncle and say to him, “Oh hello! How are you? Have any problems with you health?” He says, “Oh! No no! I’m fine!” While he’s thinking, ”Yeah right! After last night, I wouldn’t care for any spices! My blood-sugar level is off the charts and you’re asking me about health problems!”

People are always talking. Have you ever been to a restaurant and seen two people eating quietly? Even a ”quiet dinner” means dinner over a conversation!

There are some people who can’t stop talking. They can go on and on. Whenever they start talking, getting them to shut-up is a task! Why do people have this incessant need to talk? How difficult is it to walk a hundred meters with somebody you know, without saying a word?

They say talking makes you feel comfortable. Well, I’d like to quote a line from the movie Pulp Fiction here, “Why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable? That's when you know you've found somebody special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence.” 

Why are we required to speak all the time? Why is it that if we don’t talk, we are regarded as rude? If a person wishes to stay quiet, he should be allowed to stay quiet!  The social stigma attached to being quiet is totally senseless. They say that you don’t want to mix with everybody or that you are nervous around people. If I was nervous I would be sweating and twitching, not sitting quietly and pondering.

Talking, you say, helps you know a person better. I ask you this, how is your acquaintance’s knowledge about the latest fashion going to help you know him better?

I am pro-talking. However, only if the speaker wants to. What I don’t like, is the fact that “society” demands that we talk. Isn’t there a right to silence? The ‘right to silence’ is a principle of common law and it means that normally courts or tribunals of fact should not be invited or encouraged to conclude, by parties or prosecutors, that a suspect or an accused is guilty merely because he has refused to respond to questions put to him by the police or by the Court.

If the law has understood a person’s right to silence, why is so difficult for “society” to grasp it?


- Dhaval Shethia

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Elevator People


“There are two types of people in this world”, you must have heard this quite often. Well, it’s all gibberish. Every individual is unique. There are no types. However, when you get into an elevator, you see two kinds of people. The ones that talk and the ones that don’t.

The ones that don’t talk. This category of people has sub-categories. The first are the ones that don’t talk because they’re scared of being judged. These are the shy people. All they think about is “Ooh, he’ll laugh at me if I twitch!” If you’re feeling itchy, then just go ahead and scratch it for the love of God! Don’t give a tiny rat’s arse for what it’ll look like! It’s your life, you can do what you want! You don’t have to care about what the next person might think. These type of people don’t go too far in the world because they’re scared. They never let go of their inhibitions. You see these people sitting in a corner at a dance party.

The second are the ones that don’t talk because they’re the enlightened souls. They have no qualms staying quiet in an elevator. In fact, they have no qualms staying quiet anywhere. If they get a chance, they wouldn’t mind staying quiet on a talk show! They are the people that don’t have fixed agenda. They do not really have a mission. They take life as it comes. They don’t think about anything. They just try to get from A to B without much hassle. Some may call them loners, introverts, I call them, and I use this word sparingly, “Dudes”.

The ones that talk. These can be divided into sub-categories as well. The first are the ones that talk because they don’t really care about the others in the elevator. These type of people are the ones that are bold. They don’t care about what others think. They don’t mind being judged by strangers. The do not have a problem of being ridiculed by people they don’t know. They are the good people. They are not concerned about “What will he say if I do this?” or “What will she think if I talk to him?”. They are the sensible people.

The second are the ones that talk because they want to show-off to the others in the elevator. This is the worst of the human kind. These people talk about absolutely irrelevant things, just to impress the others in the elevator. Now, I say this to you, what difference does it make to you, what that tall man in the elevator thought of you when you talked about your excellent test results? How is it going to be important to the pretty girl if you stayed at ‘The Bellagio’ when in Las Vegas? It is this slimy mess of human kind that is a burden upon society. These are the kind of people that will go to any extent to get what they want. They will lie through their teeth, just to get the job done. You may call them, dedicated, resourceful or whatever fancy adjective you can muster up. I call them assholes. The love to create false impressions about themselves. They don’t care if they hurt people along the way to the top of the social ladder.

Is climbing up the social ladder that important? I mean why aren’t people satisfied with their lives? No! Why are there classifications? Why is a man ridiculed if he has a different accent? The man that says “EENDIA” actually speaks better English than the one that says “Ind-yuh”. Forget that! Why is speaking in Hindi considered inferior to speaking English. We are Indians for God’s sake! The Spanish are proud of their language, as are the Germans and the French. Why are we making such an effort to avoid our native language? Why aren’t we happy with the way we are? Why can’t we just be satisfied! Why is it so important to know who Eric Clapton is, when you don’t know who Pandit Ravi Shankar is?

While, this, you may say, is not about the Indian culture, I say, it is! Everything comes down to it. The big question, “WHY ARE WE TRYING TO BE LIKE OTHERS?” It’s the root of the problem. While we think we’re emulating Westerners, and doing a good thing at that, well, we’re not! At first, we’re just copying them, and not the good things. Why? It is they who are copying us! Did you know that the concept of disposable cutlery was introduced by Indians! We’re the ones who ate on a banana leaf! My problem isn’t that we’re trying to be like foreigners, it is that we’re trying to be someone we’re not! All the time we want to leave our identity and be somebody else!

Why?

- Dhaval Shethia

The Faces That You See

What you see is what you get. Really? No, REALLY? I don’t think so. What they show is what you see. What you see is what they show. (Am I being redundant? Yes. Am I going to be just as abstract throughout? Yes. Am I going to carry on writing within the brackets? No.)

So, who’s ‘They’? Who am I talking about? I’m talking about you. Not you, but you. The ‘You’ that you show to the rest of the world.

Okay, so if I am ‘You’ then who is ‘They’?

There! I’ve gone ahead and confused you.

Simply put, I am talking about people in the society. We’re all part of this farce called society. In society, we’re all ‘They’ and we’re ‘You’ too.

All of us are trying to be someone we’re not. All of us are liars. You say, you’re not a liar? You say that you never pretend to be someone you’re not? (If you think I’m talking about identity theft, then you should probably stop reading this right away) Coming back to the point. You tell me that you’re always being yourself. That you’ve never altered your personality for your benefit? Well, there you go! You’re lying! When was the last time that you met a pretty girl and told her that you were a nice guy, when, just an hour back you didn’t let the old woman take the taxi and jumped in before she could because you wanted to go  for the date with the pretty girl. When was the last time you told your friend “I don’t have change”, while paying for the auto-rickshaw fare, when all you had were tens?

These were just a couple of examples. They may be very subjective. The main point is that, everybody lies. Why? Why can’t all of you’ll just be truthful, speak your minds. If you have a problem with someone, what you should do is just go up to him and say, “Hey! I don’t like you. You are a moronic, stupid man with a big face and you stink!” What you really do is, go up to him and say, “Hey! You are so funny! We should hang out more often!”, then as soon as he turns, you tell your friend, “I don’t like him. He is a moronic, stupid man with a big face and he stinks!” Don’t you want to laugh when someone falls? Why do you have to hide your face?

It’s all a sham! Totally wrong! Why do you do it? Why do you say something and mean otherwise? You say that you’re working for social causes. You make donations to old-age homes. Why don’t you take care of your old relatives? Why do you shun them as soon as they grow old? Is fame all that matters to you? Is it really important what ‘They’ think of you? Don’t you think that you should do what you like, irrespective of what ‘They’ think? Why do you put glamour over comfort while selecting clothes? Just so that ‘They’ appreciate it?

That’s what I’m talking about! All ‘You’ do is try to impress ‘They’. At the same time, all ‘They’ do is try to impress ‘You’. Thus, “What they show is what you see” Nobody is showing their true selves. Everybody is being fake, phony and bogus!

Who decides what we’re supposed to do? Why do we have to follow all the rules? Why do we have to be “socially-acceptable”? I ask you this, why are we supposed to go to a person’s wedding, when we don’t even know that person?

Well, you have to be present so that society doesn’t call you a recluse!

I don’t care if society calls me a recluse! In fact, I want to stay away from this society! This slimy, two-faced world full of back-stabbers, keep me away from it!

 What they show is what you see. So, how come if ‘They’ are being fake, ‘You’ can’t see it? While ‘They’ show ‘You’ something, why don’t ‘You’ ask questions? ‘You’ don’t ask any questions because you don’t want to be despised by ‘They’! While you hate the fact that ‘They’ are fake, all ‘You’ want is ‘They’s approval. While you strive for ‘They’s approval, you turn into a fake.

Now you ask, why would ‘You’ want ‘They’s approval? This very question has inspired me to write this. Had it not been for this monumental question, this little piece of literature wouldn’t have come into existence.

It beats me why ‘You’ would go to such an extent, lose their true self, just to become “socially-acceptable”. Ultimately, it’s all a big lie.

This brings me back to the beginning. What you see is not what you get. ‘You’ get what ‘You’re shown. ‘You’ don’t question what ‘You’re shown because ‘You’ think it is what it is. But it isn’t. It is only what ‘They’ decided to show ‘You’.

Really?

- Dhaval Shethia