Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Greatest Loser in the World

"Well I am in mood for a tragedy today," the story-teller began,
"And so I'll tell you about the greatest loser in the world, a simple man,
despite all his efforts he never wins, seemingly suffers from a curse,
to quote Crosby, Stills and Nash, he is the King Midas in reverse."

"Everything he touches changes to dust, even Sensex plunges into freefall,
when he invests in the stock market; for example on Satyam he had made a long call.
And you knew Kingfisher Airlines was bound to fail when he put his money on their stock,
if he is even thinking about investing in a share, you should take a long walk."

"And his professional life is middling at best, he isn't a complete failure as such,
but there are no crowning achievements, and as per his appraisals, he doesn't do much.
And like Michael Scott in office, he tries to make his co-workers love him and fails,
he is stuck in the same job for twelve years, and because of experience, is now leading Sales."

"But as you would have guessed, the sales of the company are falling, and pretty badly too,
he would have been long fired, but the company is in decline, and so failing to find someone new,
ergo, the Greatest Loser continues and tries hard, staying in office late, for he has no personal life,
but all his efforts amount to nothing, the latest sales pitch ends exactly like his search for a wife."

"He is 43 now, and still single, with no prospects of starting a family, for no one really likes him,
the friends he made in college are far away now - he looks at old photos, when all of them were slim,
they're busy with their lives, all married with wives and kids - each of them a family man,
he misses them, his only friends, but he is the only one calling and keeping in touch when he can."

"He likes to think of his team as his friends, but they only tolerate him for he is the boss,
and behind his back, he is the butt of many a joke; while making sure to his face he doesn't get cross.
He absolutely hates his seniors in the company, and sometimes he feels a sort of unreserved rage,
makes plans to shoot all of them down, which don't come into fruition for he lacks courage."

"His social life is completely missing, sometimes he sits drinking at the neighbourhood bar alone,
and when a girl sits next to him, he tries talking to her, but she is soon bored, out with a groan,
he thinks about all the girls he has known over the years, with whom he fell in love and got rejected,
and today when this ugly looking girl shows him the middle finger, he finally gets dejected."

"'Life's not fair,' he proclaims to no one in particular, and gets out of the bar, quite high,
 'I have tried being happy about life, but it has always made me sad,' he declares, with a sigh,
'And so there's nothing left in this life for me, I've had enough of this rough ride,
with my luck there seems to be only one way out for me,' was how he ended his note of suicide."

The children are shocked, many with tears in their eyes, and they ask the story teller, "Sir but why?
There wasn't much wrong with his life, yes he was unlucky, but why did he have to die."
"Here's a lesson for you all," the story teller says, with a wry smile, "loneliness can kill,
and if you find someone who is lonely, make him a friend, a life you can save if you will."

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A theory of Happiness

(First of all, the usual disclaimer and apologies. I haven't been able to update this blog in a long long time, mainly because I haven't felt the mood to do so. I need to be in a certain mood to write here, a brooding, dark mood, and lately my mood has been pretty happy. Hence, I have stayed away from here, but today I've just discovered the correct, sad mood which makes me write here, and hence I am back. Which, kind of ironically, is about happiness.)

We are all looking for happiness. However, we rarely know what it is. Or where to look for it? And even more scarier, how to look for it? Is it even a thing, some might ask? Or is it a particular mood, which can only stay for a while.

Buddha had a view about it. He believed that happiness was the absence of sorrow. And he came up with a view to end sorrow, about how desire caused sorrow and how the way to end sorrow was to end desire. Because desire made people sad. No, scrap that. Desire does not make people sad, but the inability to get what they desire is what makes people sad. Because people tend to internalize their inability to get what they desire, and start finding fault in themselves for not making their target. And so Buddha tried to get to the root cause of it, telling people about the way to end desire. The eight fold meditation path - which doesn't make much sense, and Buddha didn't really make his mark in the materialistic world. Is it so easy to end desire in the materialistic world? So maybe what Buddha told us was to just be happy with what you have, and not really care about anything else. Which makes sense, but it is not happiness. It is peace he is talking about. Happiness makes you feel alive, peace just makes you feel contented. And hence, once you have peace, you don't care much about happiness or sorrow. Because you are at peace. But if you are at peace, you don't achieve anything much either, and hence you stop evolving. Think Buddha, think the Dude in Big Lebowski. Yes, you will enjoy life, and do the things that you want to do, and your peaceful state would work for you. But it might not work for the world in a whole, because the world wants you to achieve something.

And to achieve something, you need a goal. Or a desire. For we are humans, and goals are what push us. And you make efforts to achieve that goal. Now the Gita says, that "
Karmaṇyēvādhikārastē mā phalēṣu kadācana, mā karmaphalahēturbhūrmā tē saṅgō'stvakarmaṇi" which roughly translated means, do the action, but don't care about the end result. But then, how is this humanly possible, you might ask? What is the point of action if you don;t get the result. Why desire anything then, and if you don;t get your goal despite trying your best, isn't it your fault? How do you aspire yourself for something, and give your best, but how do you save yourself from the sorrow you get from not getting your goal despite giving your best? The Gita offers a solution. It tells you to make your full effort, and if you get your goal, then nothing like it, but if it does not, you take it as God's will, and try for another goal. And so on, till finally, you come to a point where you realize that this entire cycle of desires is useless, and that is the moment you find Moksha. Which is same as the state that Buddha wants you to be in. But this too has a problem, for in today's world, who believes in God? Is there even a God, and even if there is, does he have time to micromanage each part of our life, and to see if and when we achieve our goal? Obviously, maybe in Mahabharat times. when we had less population, it was still possible, but I don't think God has that much time to do it now, that is, if there is a God in the first place. 
So, enter probability. Probability explains everything in nature, and it kind of explains happiness as well. So, when you set a goal, you have an inherent probability to achieve it. This goal can be anything - an entrance exam, your dream college, relationship with someone special or that Olympic gold. All you have is a starting probability (P1)  to achieve it - for example, if you are an intelligent person who loves science, you will have a higher starting probability to crack IIT-JEE. But then you can influence the probability as well, and through your hard work, take your starting probability to a higher point. Let's call it your final probability (or P2). Hence, a hard working, slightly dumber guy might have a higher chance to crack JEE than a brilliant, lazy guy. However, it is interesting to see how probability works. The chance of the outcome depends on the probability, but the actual outcome is independent of the probability. Hence, a brilliant, hardworking guy might have a .99 probability of cracking JEE, but he still not might make it, while a lazy, slightly dumber guy might have a .01 probability of craking it, and might end up in top 100. This is where the outside luck comes in, which is out of anyone's control. However, what you have in your control is probability, and if your luck stays, you will be able to achieve your goal with the correct hard work and starting probability.

What does this have to do with happiness you might say? A lot, I would say. Once you understand that all you have in your control is the probability of the outcome and not the actual outcome, you will automatically act for increasing the probability. However, because the outcome is never in your hand, you don't have to internalize the feeling of not being good enough if you don't achieve something. And with this thought in mind, just the feeling of giving it your best shot is enough to make you happy. And it does. Even if you fail in the ultimate objective of the goal. Because the effort you have made would more or less make you a better person, and that in itself is a byproduct and the way to be happy. And if you do get your goal, well you will be happy nonetheless.

A word of caution  here though: Your desires are often overrated. Most people tend to overemphasize things they have failed in, and try to think of possible scenarios in which their life would be "set". Life is never set though, life is always a bitch, and you will need new goals once you have found your old goals. But once you believe in probability, you will start seeing light. Basically, from where I am, the theory of happiness is simple. Make yourself a better person, increase your probability to achieve anything, and don't worry about the result - because life is never set. You will get an alternate plan soon to be happy, and find happiness.

Getting your goal would give you the best happiness you can get, but if you believe in probability, you will find your peace even when you fail. And I should know, for I fail a lot. And today, I probably failed the most majestically, without even a slight whimper. After the kind of effort which a lazy person like me has never made. And right now I should be really sad, and a part of me is, but mostly I am at peace. For I am a better person today than I was eight months back. And that in itself gives me cause to smile, even though I have kind of a feeling of being the biggest loser somewhere in the back of my mind. And I think that's what happiness is all about. That's my happiness theory anyway. And may the force be with you as well.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Anti-national - 1

(First of all, a few apologies for those of you who still care for not updating this more regularly. This is the first post of 2015, and I have few excuses, except that I have been overcome by a big writer's block. I just cannot  seem to be able to write prose anymore. Random poetry yes, but prose - a big no. So not sure if this effort will succeed or not.)

Their last hope died. The call from the headquarters came. There were no reinforcements which could be spared for them. The enemy had surrounded the capital too, and the last stand was to be waged from there. All reinforcements were needed there. Hence, the 100 were left on their own, guarding that small hillock. The enemy had surrounded them from all sides, and there was nowhere to go. They could have surrendered, but their supreme commander's order still rang in their ears. "We never surrender" was what he had told them, and their motto, which each of them had tattooed on their right had, awakened them to it. "Nusquam Quiescunt," was their motto, and hence they fought on. Down to the last man. And how they fought - each men counted the number of enemy soldiers he got down. Each of them had the aim of 100 - and all of them met it. In the end, they managed to kill more than 10,000 of the enemy troops, but the end was nigh. And so they fell, the 100. 

The teacher paused - for dramatic effect - and asked the class, "then what happened?"

Joy looked around the class, waiting for someone to answer. He was bored - they had read this story for the umpteenth time, and he knew it by heart. And as always, Sharona, the class topper replied, "The 100 got martyrdom. The Others took over the capital, and they prosecuted our leaders and ruled over us for the next 2000 years. However, the resistance fought on underground, and finally after 2000 years, the Others left, just as suddenly as they had come. No one knows where they came from, and where did they go. The resistance played a big part in it, and the sustenance of the resistance came from this supreme sacrifice by the 100. They have now been immortalized in our history books."

The teacher beamed at Sharona as she always did, and said, "That's exactly right - the 100 were an inspiration for everyone"

"Why did they fight, having had no hope to live?" Joy suddenly spoke up.

The teacher looked at him sternly. The class expects her to answer and shut down this insolent boy, "For glory, and for their motherland," the teacher replies.

"But they lost the war, and they knew their motherland was finished. Why did they have to die then? What was the purpose of their death? What was the glory they were looking for? And, how do we know how they fought - for like they said, all 100 of them died on that mountain top? What if it is fiction, or a myth, handed down to us over the last 2000 years? I mean how does someone know the exact number of Others killed - especially as there is no mention of this incident in their history?"

"This is blasphemous - how dare you question our history?", the teacher said, "you must be anti-national."

And for the first time, Joy was called anti-national. But it would not be the last.

(To be continued).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Real Slim Shady

Hello again!!

It has been a long long time since I published something here. And it has not been for a lack of trying.  I have come here quite a lot, in fact, started to write something, and not been able to. It has been a kind of writer's block, which makes me wonder if I would be able to complete this particular blog-post as well.

Which is not to say that I have not been writing. I have been writing quite a lot, mainly on my Facebook page, where I have created a character called the Great Traveler, who (as the name might suggest) travels around the world, and philosophizes about the world with a liberal view. His stories are read out as verse, and I have a new story almost every week. The Great Traveler hates the corporate world, is a secularist, and is completely against the violent nationalism sweeping people across India. He has a pretty good sense of humour too, but has a lot of women troubles - namely, he does not have any women, which is the sum of all his troubles. I think it makes for a good read - and is something you should probably check out (Self promotion never really killed anybody, did it?)

But for all that writing, whenever I come to this blog, where I actually started writing and realizing the path towards my yet awaited dream to become a published and renowned author one day, I have been short of words.  I am not really sure why this is so.  A possible theory is that I need to be in a certain mood to write here on this blog. Apart from the Mahabharat story, which also is a creation of a certain different frame of mind, my blog posts here are generally darker and written in a more sombre state of mind as compared to the stuff I write otherwise. My posts here are more cynical whereas my Facebook posts have me as a much more positive person. I often jiggle myself around between the two - sometimes believing in the basic goodness of human beings in general, and at other times believing that most of mankind is stupid and selfish. The first part often reflects in my liberal Facebook posts, and the other, cynical part reflects in most of my posts here. Even my own Mahabharat written here stems from the cynicism of disbelieving what the victors tell you.

So which brings me to the question - which is the real me? Is the blog writer my alter ego, or does it capture my real thoughts, and what I write on Facebook is what I want the general public to see? Am I actually a negative person, trying to fool people otherwise? In other words, will the real writer in me please stand up?

(P.S: I have been able to complete this post. Double thumbs up).

Monday, June 02, 2014

Mahabharat 16: Karan and Eklavya: The Real Heroes - 2

Dear reader, its been quite a journey we have undertaken in uncovering the narrative,
the "real" story of the great epic Mahabharat, uncorrupted by the winner's perspective.
I know this chapter has been a long time coming, and that I have been tardy in updating this before,
but I promise you I will be more regular going forward, so keep watching this space for more.

For the full recap of the series, just click on this link, while I do a small recap of the story here -
if you remember, 6 years ago, we started this story with tale of Yayati and how he made Puru his heir.
Now, Puru was Yayati's youngest son, whereas the eldest, Yadu, was exiled to present day Iran,
while our story turned to Puru's descendant, Shantanu, and how he met Ganga one day at dawn.
Ganga gave birth to eight sons, but killed all but one, and departed when Shantanu asked her why,
Ganga gave him back the only living son, Bhishma, and Shantanu said, "You will be king after I die",
;Meanwhile, we also looked at birth of Satyavati and her son Ved Vyas, both products of lust,
and how Shantanu on the banks of Yamuna found Satyavati, and charmed by her aroma and big bust.
asked her to marry him, which could only be arranged once Bhishma took a vow of never having sex,
Bhishma captures three princess for his half-brother, but Amba tells him "I wanna go back to my ex".
Amba commits suicide, half-brother dies, Vyas impregnates his widows with Dhritrashtra and Pandu,
Pandu marries Kunti & Madri, while blind Dhritrastra weds Gandhari, who says,"kismet's gandu
Dhristrashtra is elder but Pandu is made king, but then retires to the jungle because of a curse,
And I will stop the recap here, for well, I am having difficulty keeping it all in verse.

To tell a long story short is not one of life's great thrills, I realize, and the recap was not much fun,
for in the actual story, there is plenty of excitement, cat fights, violence and sex for everyone.
So, dear reader, if you think you want a recap, read the entire story once again and return,
for now we will start Chapter 16: The Real Heroes - 2, the story to which we all shall turn. 

So after Eklavya had been subdued, by taking the Dakshina of his right thumb,
Arjuna was back being the best archer for the other Pandavas and Kauravas were mostly dumb.
And the time soon came to graduate as their studies were now complete,
Drona designed a test, a contest of sorts in which the different students had to compete.
The entire town was there, in a Colosseum like stadium, to watch the princes perform,
and while there were many fans of Pandavas, the support for Kauravas was rather lukewarm.
Bhima and Duryodhana took up the mace and started fighting hard, difficult to say who won,
Yudhisthra excelled in spearmanship, but in archery, Arjuna was undoubtedly number one.
While Nakul-Sahedeva showed people their skills with swords, Arjuna made arrows make fire,
and then he produced rain, and some arrows made people laugh, while others made them tire.
Everyone applauded Arjuna's feats, he was brought to the podium to be facilitated by the king,
when suddenly walked into the stadium a boy clad in golden armour, with shining earrings.

As you all would know by now, that boy was Karna, and he achieved all of Arjuna's feats,
and as soon as she saw him, Kunti felt her heart pumping in faster beats.
For she remembered the sungod, and the wild sex they had years before,
ohh what a great time it was, Kunti's mind relived all the excitement, fun and gore.
But she had abandoned Karna, and feeling bad for abandoning him, she fainted away,
and was escorted outside the stadium, while the performance of Karna still held sway.
He did all that Arjuna had done, and it was an even better show,
And the people, who were all earlier praising Arjuna, soon had placards saying, "Go Karna Go!"
Everyone was amazed to see this regal looking boy, they said he must be son of a great king,
and soon they were talking about him as the actual winner, the real thing.
Karna was soon shouting at the princes gallery, "Let me fight Arjuna to prove who's the best,
let us do all the tricks, and the one to win should be declared the winner of this contest."

As soon as he said it, Kripa and Drona, the two teachers, asked him about his caste,
"You know you can only contest against a prince, if your family is as chaste".
Hearing this, Karna's head fell, as his "father", the charioteer, Adhirath, came forward to bless him,
and seeing him acknowledging his father, Bhima launched out in a mocking tone, as was his whim.
"Oh, you are a Sutputra, the son of a chariot, and you want to challenge a prince,
know your status and go away, before I and my brothers beat you up and make you wince."
Hearing this, Karna's head bent low, feeling ashamed, but Duryodhana rushed to his aid,
told Bhima to shut up, "and a person isn't judged by his birth, but by the stuff of which he's made."
And turning to Karna, he said, "Dear friend, you valour has impressed us all,your kind is very rare,
and hence I will make you king of Anga this very moment, just to show you that I care."
The usual swearing in ceremony done, Karna was proclaimed a king, and Duryodhana said,
"Now that both belong to families of kings, can they fight a fair fight? I want to see Arjuna dead."

However, by then the day had passed along, the sun was getting down, and hence they all went home,
and Karna, impressed by Duryodhana, said, "Pal, they will talk about our friendship even in Rome."
Karna and Duryodhana rode back to the palace together, talking about their new relationship,
and Duryodhana said, quoting Casablanca, "I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship"

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Biggest Fear

"The biggest fear I have", said the anonymous philosopher, "is the fear of falling in love".

For obvious reasons.

You have tried so hard to be happy. And at the moment you are. You have been following the Buddhist philosophy of letting go of desires and it has been working - and working well. Come to think of it, you have been the happiest you have been in a long, long while.

And then suddenly, you fall in love, and all your happiness comes crashing down. Now, all of your self-doubt which has always been a part of you, but which you have managed to bury somewhere deep down, raises its ugly head once again. "Why would she go out with me?", you ask yourself, and condemn yourself to sleepless nights, for your heart is advising action, while your head - the noble, much maligned head - wants you to maintain status quo, for nothing is going to happen.

And your happiness is long gone. So far gone, you doubt you can be happy again anytime soon.

Needless to say, the anonymous philosopher is right.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Another Brick in the Wall

So I saw Ship of Theseus the other day - and I have not seen a movie so intense, yet so clever,
It raised questions about what does humanity mean - I think its the best movie from India ever.
What all should I praise - a deeply simulating philosophical story, the movie is a work of art,
the cinematography is awesome, the dialogues crisp, and the actors all play their part.

It left me with a few questions though - such as "What was my life really worth?",
The feeling was reinforced listening to Vampire Weekend, as well as the Tallest Man on Earth.
Kristian Matsson and Ezra Koeing are both 1983 born, while I was born a year before - in 1982,
but they create such beautiful art while I am a corporate slave - making presentations is all I do.

I have also followed the geeky XKCD comics, and the amazing Abstruse Goose,
and while I wonder at their brilliance, it also makes me feel kind of obtuse.
Having been in love with numbers as a child, I used to regularly solve problems with probability,
Reading these intelligent comics, though, I feel like I have little or no numeric ability.

I am also amazed by Scott Adams, and the delightful stuff he writes every day,
and I marvel at Bill Watterson, the poignant truths that Calvin and Hobbes say.
Garbage Bin also makes me go "WOW", with its 90s middle class Indian childhood theme,
its art like this which makes me feel that my aim of being a writer would remain just a dream. 

"All the World's a stage, and everyone has a part" wrote the Bard in one of his plays,
and I had often imagined as a child that I would play the lead hero,  till the end of my days.
But now I think that I was not cut off from the creme de la creme crop,
alas - I do not even have a secondary role, and have become a stage prop.

I am 31 now, and my most creative days have probably gone past,
and its time to accept the truth that the die is already cast.
You can see me at the background, that's me waving for attention as the curtains fall,
I am sorry I have just ended up as Another Brick in the Wall. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Suitable Girl

Its a bitter sweet symphony this life, one moment everything going great and the future's all bright,
a long appraisal meeting later, and your career is in dark, and your personal life shows no light,
and while you mostly joke about your married friends, and their sad life,
sometimes you find yourself wishing to settling down with a lovely wife.
Your current lavish lifestyle has its own charms, but you are not in your 20s anymore,
how long till you are able to continue like this, you wonder  - surely not much beyond 34?
But how to woo a suitable girl, is the question you have often posed others,
do you go after the girls themselves, or start wooing the fathers and the mothers?
For you are a bit (being very optimistic here) fat, and the girls don't really like that,
but your degrees point to a successful career, and with their parents you can have a successful chat. 
The bigger problem that you face is this theory about relationships, which haunts you
its called achievers vs. settlers, and this threatens your hunt for a suitable girl or two.
Now the theory goes as such: there is never an equality in relationships - it depends on your luck,
a 7 will marry a 9, and a 6 might get a 10 - you see some couples and go "What the fuck?"
For some people are achievers, who aim high, and look for a settler, who are willing to settle for less,
and surprisingly this works for many people, it is not a complete mess.
However, you are wary of this for you would like to be an achiever, but you are a jealous type,
and with a settler, you will always imagine her to be cheating on you, it will be a constant gripe.
While if you decide to be a settler, and settle for someone less, you will get bored soon,
And you think you will give up on the marriage after the honeymoon.
So now back to the original question - how do you find the suitable girl,
You will need someone your own equal, and then you can pop the question with a pearl.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Do you consider yourself a grown up?

"Do you consider yourself a grown-up?", I ask her, and she gives me one of those trademark looks,
Then ignoring my question, as she often does, she goes back to surveying my collection of fantasy books.
They are showing the Manchester United Arsenal match on TV and as always, Arsenal's losing,
and the two of us are pretty high, its been another evening of smoking up and boozing. 

"You have a beautiful collection of books, and I will borrow Samit Basu next" she tells me, 
and picking up the 14th Wheel of Time book, she says, "I can't wait to learn who would Demandred be.
Please don't tell me - it'll spoil the surprise. But give me a hint - is it Taim? 
No that would be too obvious - I am sure even Brandon Sanderson is not so lame."

I tell her, "Read the book, its a beautiful climax - the tension just builds up.
But why don't you answer me - Do you consider yourself a grown-up?"
"I will have to think hard to answer this, for I don't really know,
I don't feel particularly grown up though, so I think the answer would be no".

"What is growing up though?" she wonders aloud, and I tell her "that's what I am trying to figure out,
When my parents were my age, they were grown up for sure, of that I have no doubt,
They knew exactly what to do given any situation, and they brought me up too,
and I just feel to grow up to that level, I still have a lot of catching up to do."

Meanwhile, Arsenal have scored through Ozil, and I celebrate, while she gives a pained shout, 
"Why did we ever choose Moyes - he has never won anything. My new FB status is Moyes Out".
The Arsenal fan in me enthuses "Arsenal is going to win the league this time around, you wait and see"
"We have seen this optimism before - soon it will be nine years." and she laughs at me. 

 Arsenal wins -yay!!- through a last minute goal,
and she is at her abusive best, calling David Moyes an asshole. 
"I don't think a grown up would have such emotional breakdown when their team loses,
Thank God Manchester City also lost - hatred does have some unique uses"

"I should grow up soon, or that is what my parents tell me as well,
and I think they are planning to get me married, I can hear the wedding bell,
But is it a switch which decides when you grow up, and suddenly you find yourself sure?
for looking at my parents,  I never think I can be that mature."

I tell her: "Maybe growing up is overrated, and its not such a big deal,
but its something you have to do, and that's just how I feel,
and I am taking the first step towards growing up, and I don't know about you,
but there is something I want to tell you - I love you."

Saturday, July 06, 2013


The average Bollywood movie in the 1980s and 1990s ended with the lines, "And they lived happily ever after." It was far from the truth, but the audience lapped it up, considering that because the villian was defeated, and the hero and heroin could marry, or live together, all was good. Sadly, and Bollywood realized it over a period of time, that was just the end of one story - and that there were potentially more interesting stories which could emanate from the "lived happily after" storyline. Real life was a bit more complex than a fairy tale ending. So you had movies like Chupke Chupke, Saathiya and more recently and emphatically, Pyar ka Punchnama, which set the record straight, and made the naive audience realize that the hero marrying/dating heroine was not the end, but could be the beginning. And so on. In fact, despite the efforts of Bollywood movies, you realize that maybe there is no "happily ever after" ending.

As if taking a cue from Bollywood movies, the aspirations of parents/relatives follow a similar path. "Get good marks in 10th, and life would be good" they would say. You did pretty well in 10th, and then the pressure of entrance examinations came on. "Get through IIT, and then you can live happily ever after" was another adage that was added. When you went through IIT and saw your friends with greater jobs bagging the plump jobs, you decided to do an MBA. And you go through IIM, and life is finally set. What more does a person need more than two IIT-IIM degrees to live a grand life, you wonder? Except that in real life, just like in Bollywood, there are hardly any happily ever after endings. And it is not just you. All your married friends, friends who are printing the big bucks in Investment Banks/Consulting Companies, and your single friends, who are making money starting up and apparently doing what they want to do, are all as confused. Even your friends who have decided to focus more on following their hobbies, rather that climbing up the corporate ladder, have the same questions: What is the purpose of life, they ask, as they talk to you. Men who have now long married, have kids, brought flats and have life all sorted out, when on a rare night-out with you, talk to you about "Why are we doing this? Why this rat-race?" And these are all smart people, people who have graduated from some of the top institutions of the country, and who should have it all figured out.

Long before, on this blog, I had written about choosing a life of happiness or a life of meaning. They are inherently contrary concepts, come to think of it. Life of happiness means enjoying the present, without worrying about the future, or caring about the past. Life of meaning, on the other hand is about thinking about the past, and sacrificing the present to make the future more meaningful. And I had proceeded to choose a life of happiness, with all its instant gratification, rather than a life of meaning. So far, so good, I would say, and I would not trade my life, with its (on average) 7-8 hours of work, 3-4 hours of TV, 1-2 hours of XBOX, 1-2 hours of being high, and the remaining hours on sleep and associated pleasures of life (such as the Internet/Facebook, you perverts), with anyone else. Not on a day to day basis. I love my life, and I have less and less days where I question what I am doing. For I am not doing anything, and I think that is the key. I enjoy whatever time I have, and do not look at the big picture. 

But let me be honest. There are some days, few of them admittedly, when I start thinking about what if. Look at it other way, I am rarely the ideal son. I have been home only once in the last six months, making excuses about work when instead, the truth is I was too lazy to book tickets despite my parents telling me how much they missed me in each call. I am 30, and I do not have a girlfriend, let alone a wife, and with no hopes of getting one soon enough. If I keep up my current lifestyle, I am probably going to end up as the Heavy Fuel guy (without all the sex, unfortunately, which would be real sad). And I still have not been able to complete my book, despite telling everyone I was writing it, for I am too lazy to write. I have a loads of friends on Facebook, a number of very good friends, but no one really special in my life.  I am not the best  person to know, for those who know me well enough, also see the dark, evil side in me. Hence the name of the blog, for I recognize the dark side in me, and frankly, I am afraid of it. 

Don't get me wrong. I still think I am a good person, and if I were to judge myself, I would put myself on a pedestal. I think I am a pretty good manager of people, and take good care of my team, and am ready to go out of the line for them. I also think I am more than ready to help people, and people find it easy to come to me for help, and more often than not, I am more than willing to help them. But what this life of happiness has made me a bit of a self-obsessed and lazy asshole who is rarely comfortable outside of his own comfort zone. The other thing that living this life of happiness has done to me is made me closed to taking risks. I am unable to open myself to a lot of emotions because I have trained myself to be a cynic. I do not believe in Anna Hazare (or Arvind Kejriwal, for that matter), dismissing him to be a product of a shepherded mentality of the media. I do not believe in love, for I have been hurt, and have closed myself to it. And I know it- and sometimes the entire fact of my being, and the fact that I could have achieved so much more if I had been braver and far less lazy, and had more purpose in life, gets to me, and makes me hate myself. Sometimes. 

But maybe, it is time to change all that. Maybe, it is time to live a life of meaning for a short while. Just to be hurt once again. To feel. Emotions. And look at the big picture. And to fall in love.