- We have equal opportunity employers but not parents.
- It is more important to click a pic than to close the eyes & embrace the feeling.
- A spoken word is now worth much more than a thousand pictures (read: selfies).
- Now would be a good time for Atlas to shrug.
Should I go just for the sake of going?
Or do I go away for good, for staying
No matter where I go or where I’ve been,
A whole world remains to be seen,
A wanderlust too deep to redeem,
I want to be, where no one has been.
Living my life without a reprieve
I shan’t know till I don’t leave
But then, how could I believe
That out there is a world unseen.
Living with a job, my friends, my family
When I am tired, and weary
When the world seems bleak, and dreary
Here lies the escape I turn to verily.
If ever there lies before me an adventure
That invites me with a welcome gesture
Do I go away for good, for staying?
Or should I stay back & be better off not knowing?
Chasing money, status, connections, acquaintances, etc. take so much of our time. So many of these things are transient you say. They’re shallow you say. Well, so you speak & you speak truly. Pray tell me what then, should I chase?
Why not chase true friendship, you say? This must surely be a noble pursuit. I agree wholeheartedly. What you propose is neither transient nor shallow. A friendship could justifiably called the starting point of all non-familial human relationships & a basis for much deeper bonds.
But hear my counter-proposition. I say I want to chase conversations, just that. Its not as deep as a friendship, though I’d say anyone with whom I’ve shared one good conversation is a friend of mine. Those moments have brought us closer & provided a much stronger ground for a friendship than anything else might have provided. Yes, it is transient, sometimes just a few minutes, sometimes an hour. But it holds the promise of more such times to come, which is the real gift. It might even be shallow, just a few jokes shared in passing, yet it would be undiminished.
Even the most ardent of friendships start with but one conversation, never diminished, never forgotten.
Why is there a Highway to Hell but just a Stairway to Heaven? Popular culture has portrayed hell as really easy to reach & fast too. Its funny that even thinking about the stairway to heaven brings a picture of a really difficult climb, like the stairs of Cirith Ungol (LOTR fellas).
This really cool for those aspiring to go to hell though, all the more membership for hell. Why should heaven have all the fun?
Its time for a new phase, a job, an intern, in short, responsibilities. Turns out I’m about to have more hotel stays in the coming two months than I had in my life till now. Its fun in a way, getting to see new places, feeling like a homeless wanderer. Wonder how Che must have felt (although I’m in infinitely more comfort). Its interesting that the English “travel” & the French “travail” are so similar. The consulting firms seem to have hit the nail on the head here, with work & travel being flip sides of the same coin. Anyways, back to the hotels.
So in one of them, I come across this corridor. I don’t know about you but I found this carpet disturbing. Reminds me of all the great hotel themed movies I’ve seen, The Shining, 1408 & what not. I wonder about all the stories that have been lived & will be lived in these corridors. So many people, so many situations. Is it a wonder then, that such places should feel like they carry a lot more than can be seen? Years of memories & thousands of people might have imbued these walls with something…more…
Anyways, my room is at the end of the corridor. The above thoughts haven’t helped a bit.
[Focus on crossing it now]
Its has been too long that I’ve written from the heart. Maybe on & off in my diary, but never regularly. Being bound by the need to sound meaningful, deep, informative, etc. has killed the imagination. I want to put random fleeting thoughts of the mind to paper, not write long-winding analyses on academic topics. I do that enough in my college projects.
Reading a friend’s blog, has made me realize what I started with, but lost along the way. I thank you for you’ve made me remember why I wanted to write in the first place. I’ll try to be more regular now, starting with short posts.
Looking up at the stars in a clear night sky, it seems as though I’m looking at an inhabited city from a great height. The stars are just houses, cars, factories & people going about their lives. It happens to me generally on the mountains (the sky is quite clear there, unlike in Jamshedpur) . Whenever it happens, I’m filled with a sense of great distance from everything else as I imagine everything is so far away. Oh random feeling, I dub thee “The Andromeda Complex”.
The world is a competitive place today, much more so than what the previous generations have faced over the years. While theirs was an age of pioneers, thinkers & awe-inspiring undertakings, ours is the age of the ubiquitous “Google”. While it has made our lives easier & assignments much easier to complete, there’s a part of us that runs the risk of becoming just an appendage, a la the appendix in the human body. The entity I’m referring to is the Limbic system of the brain, comprising of the hippocampus, amygdala, etc., which is responsible for human memory.
Let’s face it, while a few years ago one might have taken a small amount of satisfaction in knowing something or gaining a bit of knowledge, that feeling has been relegated to the realm of utter & complete oblivion by the advent of the search engine. As the power & reach of the search engine improves, we take less & less effort in the pursuit of knowledge, & divert our efforts to having the best smartphones with the fastest data packs. While from my limited readings, I was quite sure that data retrieval is one of the fastest in the brain neural networks, I now pause and wonder: Is Google doing the job better than the brain?
Looking at the gradual changes in our day-to-day life & interactions, some inferences might be drawn.
- While a discussion on any topic was earlier a thoughtful enquiry into the causes, effects & factors of an event or an incident, now it’s just a race to search the most relevant review/opinion/rant/blog/vlog/post/podcast/comment/open-letter which is available on the internet & using it to justify whatever the present stand is.
- While any quiz was earlier a battle of wits & awareness of an individual, now its just a battle of the bandwidth of their respective data packs.
- While writing an essay or an article was earlier a measure of one’s literary prowess, its a matter of having access to the best spell-check/grammar-check tool now.
- While an assignment….oh you get the drift.
There’s no wonder then, that an anachronistic old timer, who shows the stupidity (or audacity?) of relying on the human brain in such a setting, should and does lose to the modern, tech-savvy human being. The thinking man is passé. Its the age of the connected, integrated Ubermensch, who can retrieve information at the touch of a button. Knowledge is secondary now, its the other skills that matter.
There’s just one question really, i.e., Is Google making us stupid?
I love reading, not just a particular genre, but all of them. I enjoy devouring everything from ancient Greek mythology to modern high fantasy, from the exploits of Sherlock Holmes to modern high fantasy like Game of Thrones. As a reader, I’ve noticed a trend in the past few years that has caught my fascination.
It is fascinating that there’s a growing number of really great crime novels coming out of the Scandinavian countries, particularly Sweden. The phenomenon is so pronounced that it has been popularly dubbed as “Scandicrime”. From the late Steig Larsson, Håkan Nesser to Jo Nesbø, the line doesn’t seem to end. But such a localized phenomenon is not altogether rare. Earlier, we have seen anti-war novels coming out of the USA, predominantly at the time of the First World War. French authors have consistently delivered path-breaking pictures of the erstwhile society, Germany has given us Kant, Nietzsche, Hegel, etc., whereas, Russian novels have been a comment peasant life and its stark differences with that of the military & aristocracy. What’s common in all the above is that the writing reflects the prevalent times in the respective regions. However, this is not the case with Sweden. Let’s have a look, shall we?
Sweden, with its homogeneous population, is the seventh richest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. It has the highest telephone/internet penetration & the third lowest Gini coefficient in the world. The Nordic countries also consistently rank among the happiest nations in the world. As per a 2014 report by International Centre for Prison Studies, Sweden had an incarceration rate of 66 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013 which was significantly lower than other countries. In comparison, the figure in the USA is 707 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants (“USA – World Prison Brief”. International Centre for Prison Studies. Retrieved 17 July 2014) & the EU average in 2008-10 was 126 (“Crime trends in detail”. Eurostat. Retrieved 17 July 2014). It seems like more people are murdered in Scandinavian crime novels than in the entire Scandinavia itself.
The question then is: How is Sweden, a prosperous country with remarkably low crime rates be the hotbed of such spectacular crime novels in recent times? In the following lines, we’ll explore the manifold reasons for this phenomena.
Firstly, the original writing is mainly in Swedish or the country’s native language. When the same is translated to English (for bulk of the readers across the world), the resulting style is crisp & upfront, with minimal unnecessary words. This makes for an easy read for most of the readers.
Secondly, Scandinavian crime novels are often set in an idyllic, peaceful country, where social structure, overall welfare levels & peaceful surroundings can seem almost utopian to an American or say, Asian reader. In such a setting, any crime seems to be an unthinkable violence & a disturbing occurrence, precisely because it’s not expected. Such a shock value makes for a thrilling read.
Thirdly, the protagonist or the detective in such novels is more often than not, a rustic, careworn & relatable character, which is at odds with say, a suave James Bond or the supremely talented Sherlock Holmes. Such relatability with the protagonist leads to a deeper connect between the readers & the story, leading to better sales.
Fourthly, these novels often incorporate prevalent social themes such as immigration, misogyny, racism, intolerance, social inequality, etc. into the story, imbuing the story with elements of the Scandinavian psyche. Such writing improves the realism in the story, as the setting is not far removed from reality.
Lastly, the bleak Scandinavian landscape aptly mirrors the dark thoughts of the characters. It has an air of mystery & danger only adds to the setting of a crime novel, making the ancient land of the Vikings an apt setting for the stories.
In my opinion, any story worth its salt is greater than the sum total of its parts. As for the definitive reasons for Sweden being the fountainhead of such acclaimed crime novels, the jury is still out. On the basis of the above reason, we can just hope that this tradition continues. Happy reading.
eroded due to the onslaught of ever-evolving lifestyles, aided by the marvels of technological advancement. Taking the example of the Internet, on one hand, accessibility to information & knowledge at the click of a button is a veritable boon to everyone (esp. students) & has made our lives much simpler. On the other hand, it has severely limited the actual contact with teachers, friends & elders, and thus, the learning that a person gains is incomplete as he/she can’t take the advice that another person can give with the vast knowledge & experience at his disposal.
Today, a small child can access & navigate the Internet with an ease that still astounds the older generation. But what’s even more astounding is the neglect of the basic human traits of friendship, society, relationships & family values. Due to all the technological advancements & gadgets available today, children often miss out on the most enriching of childhood experiences like playing outdoor games (like soccer, cricket, etc.) with friends, which apart from being immensely enjoyable & physically exhilarating, also develops traits such as teamwork, physique, discipline, etc. from an early age. But now, when the concept of friends is gradually being limited to virtual friends on social networking sites, one shudders to think of the implications with regard to the personality development of a child because the time spent with computers or mobile phones for entertainment can never really substitute the holistic benefits of outdoor play. Such examples can be found aplenty in the course of our daily lives.
Now if we compare the hustle & bustle of modern city life & the peace & calm rustic village life, we can see that in cities, life is race with a variety of factors. It’s a race which everyone tries their level best to win, but nobody actually wins as the race never ends. Seeing as everyone wants to be happy, is such a race justified, when viewed through the prism of actual human contentment? Is not the village person, with his simple needs & easy smile, more content with his life? This question will of course have different answers depending on who we ask.
As for me, I think that this age of rapid development has created at least as many problems as it has solved, if not more. The reason is that the basic goal of life, which should be the pursuit of happiness, has now been replaced by the pursuit of money. Money & happiness are considered analogous in our present society, but they actually aren’t. In this mindless pursuit of money, no one has the time now to appreciate the beauty of life, which consists not of multi-billion dollar skyscrapers, but a simple act of kindness to someone in a time of need.
So, there is an urgent need to stop for a moment & think about where we are actually heading – is it development or destruction? Do we have to wait until mankind has grown so far apart from each other that we can’t even see the suffering of our own species due to our mindless greed, or can we still mend our ways?
To answer this question, I’ll take the help of that most magnificent of human feelings – Hope. I sincerely hope that we, as the most intelligent species on earth, take our fair share of responsibility & sincerely think about the path which we should follow. Though mankind will likely last for a long time though its determination & sheer ingenuity, but we’ll have to make sure we don’t lose our humanity somewhere along the way.