Sunday, January 14, 2007

Frequently Asked Questions!!

"Buzurgon ne,
Buzurgon ne pharmaaya ki pairon pe apne khade hoke dikhlaao,
Phir ye zamaana tumhaara hai.
Zamaane ke sur-taal ke saath chalte chale jaao,
Phir har taraana, har fasaana tumhaara hai.

Arrey toh loh bhaiyaa ab hum pairon ke upar khade ho gaye aur milaali hai taal"

And so the song goes. Life it seems, echoes the sentiments of the song. As I step into what is the 21st year of my colorfully mundane existence, the familiar taunts & retorts about responsibility & adulthood seems to be all pervasive & omnipresent. Its the last year they say .... the last year before you are expected to take a shovel and in a barren, cold place called the "world", dig for yourself a trench large enough to satisfy both your needs & your materialistic demands.

As if going through the motions of a tiresome, grueling engineering schedule wasn't enough, when the tired soul returns home for some much needed rest, he is subjected to the added bonus of a heavy dosage on the 'responsibilities' of an adult. In such times, the lectures one has sat through & managed to survive seems far more endearing! Adulthood while being no way easy by any stretch of the imagination, surely has to be better than the daily sermons so freely doled out by one & all in the family!

But that is not even the point! The point is that trench which we are supposed to dig, that niche we are supposed to carve out, is but an infinitesimal volume in a void of infinite space ....

As I turn 20, my mind keeps returning back to the questions which I had asked at age 10 & for which till today no rational answer is forthcoming .... why do we live life? what is it that makes us fear death, makes us want to postpone that last fatal blow as long as possible? Why that instinct to survive & to what end? what is the purpose behind it all? Are we an accidental creation of some unknown force & that our existence and/or activity is incidental? .... or are we the result of some intent on the part of some creator?

As I ask these questions & try to seek an answer, I find myself more and more engaged in the nihilistic point of view of man's existence. Nihilism is the philosophy that says man has no purpose, that his life and his activities are inconsequential to the reality of the universe. In short, Nihilism says plainly that whatever man does is irrelevant and hence the next question one asks - then why do we do it? why do we continue living? another one in a long line of unanswered questions!

As a result of being convinced in part, by the rationale of the nihilistic explanation of life(or the apparent lack of it), I just cant seem to give a structured direction to my life. I am akin to that confused, clueless lamb who has lost sight of the Sheppard and has lost all sense of direction. Every time I seek to give a direction to life and try to move into areas unexplored, every time I am reminded of life's apparent futility.

These questions have been bugging me (as they must have almost everyone) for a long time now. And I am convinced that unless I get some straight answers, this delusional mind will tend to indulge in a false psychedelic comfort and justify the procrastinator within!

So there you are. On the occasion of my 20th birthday, I am happy & optimistic .... but there is also this nagging sense of uneasiness at how seemingly futile human life is - especially in the context of this consumerist, brand-conscious world.

As these thoughts occupy most of my temporal lobe most of the time, I am reminded of a quote I read in Reader's Digest the other day:
"Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday." - Dale Carnegie

Maybe I should just leave it at that and make a new start. Do share your insights into what you feel life is.