Chasing Contentment: You’re in pursuit too.

A gifted singer was once summoned to enthrall the court of a king with his mesmerizing voice. As he set forth working his magic, the king, who was known to be most generous, started declaring gifts for him. Encouraged, the singer started weaving together the sweetest and the most elegant melodies. The gifts kept on piling up, eventually stopping at a sizable portion of the treasury. Very pleased with himself, the singer went home and waited. After a couple of days, when none of the promised gold was delivered, he went back to the palace to enquire. The king said, “You delighted my ears with your music, and I delighted your ears with my promises. We’re even.”

When I first heard this story (ironically from a politician’s mouth, likening the king to a politician and the singer to voters), I must admit, the wittiness of it all quite amused me. Notwithstanding the cunning of the king and the naivety and the helplessness of the singer, the story does highlight a much debated human desire, the feeling of contentment.

We’ve all been conditioned to pursue excellence, to strive for more, always. A saying that comes up when contentment is mentioned, is the old “is being content the same as being happy?” or “being content is settling for less.” Even in the story above, the two characters are striving to get the best deals for themselves. The king gets the best singer to perform for him, and the singer does his best to earn off of the king. But underneath this, aren’t the goals of both of them contentment? The king took pleasure in fine music, and the singer was content in knowing his finances are secured for years with the endowed gifts.

The unfortunate and sometimes appalling lack of gratitude and disregard for the simple things in life, the less glamorous and the unnoticed, is the less-heralded crime of our lives. That might sound a tad dramatic, but it really is true. The old adage ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’ is a proverb that has stood the test of time, and has stood strong. Writing this post has me trying my best not to sound patronizing and pretentious, but it’s something I’ve felt quite strongly about recently and something that had to be worded out.

It’s a well accepted and well established fact of life, that life, itself, is unfair. The peaks and troughs of this “unfairness” manifest themselves when people go out and try to get the best for themselves. Actions in real life never really occur in isolation. They do have consequences and do trigger actions elsewhere. In this logjam of uncertainty triggered by a desire to always be ahead, taking a step back and being grateful and content with what you have and what you are, is a game changer. Once this spirit gets imbibed in you, you’re no longer intrinsically worried about the intricacies and the fine points of the chase. The gratitude for what you have and the contentment with where you are, when combined with a strong belief that you will eventually reach your goals with your work, gets you the peace of mind you need. All you need to do, is put in the work and let the universe handle the rest. The shifting of the burden of the “rest” from your shoulders to the universe is the key takeaway here. The universe can mean different things to different people. For some, like myself, it’s belief in a divine entity. For some others, it’s karma. It can mean a multitude of things to different people. It’s your coping mechanism. You need to abstract the implementation of the details and the worry away from yourself, atleast to a certain level.

Staying grateful and being content is easier said than done, you might say. And I agree. It’s borderline impossible, when say, your loved one gets very sick with perhaps a disease that doesn’t have a cure yet. Or perhaps when you might keep putting in the work and you don’t get rewarded for it with appropriate recognition at your workplace. Or a whole host of other unfortunate things. But with time, belief, and perseverance, things do get way better. Staying true to yourself and your beliefs, and making use of your support system, whether that be your family or friends or both, does help and restore gratitude and contentment.

When I started writing this, I never expected it to get philosophical nor become an admittedly poor life lesson at all. I just wanted to start writing again, and here I am, at 4 am, trying to wrap this up. I didn’t think I’d have to end it this way, but hey, anything is a better ending than that of the story for the singer.

~SAG

Khushi.

Khamoshi aur andhere ko raat kehte hain shayad,
Mere neend naa aane ko thakaan kehte hain shayad.

Nalayaq logon se tehzeeb se baat karna,
Apke jaiso-n ko lajawab kehte hain shayad.

Jiske sang khamoshi me bhi ho aasaani,
Aise sannate ko yaari kehte hain shayad.

Doosron ke jaise jalwe naa dikhana,
Meri saadgi ko seedhapan kehte hain shayad.

Ye jo junoon o sukoon mehsoos karraha hai khurram,
Iss ehsaas ko khushi kehte hain shayad.

Mujhe Hairat Hui.

Duniya aur uski buri mehfilon se hairat Hui,

Khurram khud aala maqaam ka gunehgaar phir bhi hairat Hui.

Kamzarf log ke meethe bol se ghairat Hui,

Unke mehenge libaas pe Munafiqat ke ittr ki bo se hairat Hui.

Mere bol se un ke shaan me gustakhi Hui?

Unki shaan hai, ye unke bharam pe mujhe hairat Hui.

Zehreele logon ke nalayqi se mujhe nafrat Hui,

Meri Quddari ko takabbur samajhne waalon ki nadaani se mujhe hairat Hui.

Usool parda farma Gaye hain Duniya se Khurram,

Ab Logon ke harkaton se mujhe hairat nahi, bass ranjish hui.

Mai Sabr Karunga

Kehte hain Apne aap ko mitaane par hi Khuda milta hai.

Apne Anaa ko fanaa karne Tak, Mai Sabr karunga.

Jaanta hun unke liye mazaak Hain ham, ye

Kaanta jab tak choobega, Mai Sabr karunga.

Ilm toh hogaya acche aur badd ka,

Inn badd ko radd karne Tak, Mai Sabr karunga.

Sab kuch toh hai mere paas Khurram,

Sach muchh iss baat par Yaqeen aane Tak, Mai Sabr karunga.

~SAG

Kahen kuch? (An attempt at Urdu poetry)

Ab kahen kya?

 

Hain toh gunehgaaron ke basti me kai saalon se;
Sohbat, Aadat aur Niyyat sab hai paayi idhar se buri kai saalon se,
Ab kahen kya?

 

Na hai tameez kai dafa Maa Baap se baat karne ki,
Unse toh na hui thi kami kabhi akhlaaq sikhane me.
Ab kahen kya?

 

Na hai Aadat baith kar Paani peene ki
Na hi baith kar hamesha halke hone ki,
Ab kahen kya?

Na thi paanch namaz ki aadat zyada din tak kabhi,
Na hi hai dhang se Maalik ke Zikr me baithne ki tameez;
Ab kahen kya?

Na kabhi thi Khuda ke kalaam ko padhne ki fursat,
aur na hi tha iska koi malaal;
Ab kahen kya?

Kehna hai mujhe ab do lafz; badlaav jo mai lekar aa raha hun.
Halke hamesha baith kar nahi hue toh kya baat?
Tahaarat aur Paaki ko hamesha Gale se baandh kar toh mai phirta hun.

 

Namaazen panch nahi hui toh kya baat?
Pabandi se har roz chaar toh adaa karta hun.

 

Khuda ka kalaam abhi samajh me nahi aya toh kya baat?
Roz ek se do Paare farz se toh mai padhne baithta hun.

 

Gunehgaaron ki basti me abhi bhi basa hun toh kya baat?
Saamaan toh baandh liya hai,
Mauka milte hi dekho mai kaise yahaan se bhaag nikalta hun.

 ~SAG

The fall.

This post is for when you feel everything is going wrong.

One moment, life is going great. You are having the time of your life with the ones you love, you’re stepping out of your comfort zone making progress towards something you’ve wanted. You’re feeling happy and alive.

The next moment, it’s all gone downhill.

When life kicks you in the balls, and when you’ve doubled down in anguish, it kicks you once more for good measure, you really just feel so helplessly overwhelmed that you can just feel yourself losing it. Like as if you’re moving towards a bottomless abyss that is incredibly tough to come out of, but you really can’t do much other than watching yourself slowly slide in. You can only reflect on the series of events that led you here.

You’d stepped out of your comfort zone for once, hoping that what you’d walk into is a brave new world. Where your adrenalin pumps. Where you can be who you really want to be. With whom you want to be. And at first, it seemed to be exactly that.

Until it suddenly wasn’t.

Your new world of infinite possibilities shatters into many tiny pieces when rejection hits it.

Ah, rejection.

You can see there’s a world out there which is exactly how yours was supposed to be. You proceed to enter, with glee. But then the world you’d been pursuing does not let you in. You are explicitly rejected. Thrown out. Discarded like a worthless pile of shit.

Now, stop. Step back. Take a deep breath. Look at the bigger picture.

You should be thankful that this happened now and not later, when it would feel even worse. You aren’t the one who came off worse from what transpired, it just seems so at this moment in time. Maybe you will still feel at loss with what happened for many days to come. Maybe even more. But eventually you will realize that it’s all for the good.

You know that there have been many such disappointing times before. You’ve experienced it each time. You know, like times past, this too shall pass. 

Meanwhile, it’s all about perseverance. Making yourself stronger. Building towards your destiny. As Hz Ali Rz has stated, “through patience, great things are accomplished.” 

Your time has started. Make it count. 

Attempt at rejuvenating the blog.

Just start writing again, they say

With a shrug, I nod ‘Kay, I may

But about what, say?

Write about your day, that’s the way.

On this I ponder, as I lay,

Aye, there’s a reliable way.

But many failed attempts later, I realize,

Nay, not my way nor my day.

Aside from these cringeworthy rhymes,

Which I suppose are lyrical crimes,

The message which I want to convey,

Can only be stated in one way.

Writing, at least for me,

Can’t be forced, certainly.

Creative inspiration,

Isn’t a product of mental application.

It is, rather, a stimulation

Which must be put to use,

Before you get the blues.

So go on about your day,

doing the things that you do.

And when the inevitable inspiration comes knocking,

I advise you,

Do not stand there gawking.

A new goal to strive for.

It’s been a long time since my last post. In this duration, I’ve had lots of amazing  experiences, but I couldn’t get myself to write about them. My previous post became a bit popular, and I received lots of compliments for it. That lead to a hesitancy to write another article fearing that it might not be as good and I’d have disappointed the reader. There have been many instances where I’ve started a new post, but given up just after the title. I decided to once and for all write something, anything, and get back to writing. So this is my comeback post.

What’s really changed over the last year is my taste in vehicles. Where before I’d be happy with a Honda activa, a gearless scooter, I found myself being pulled towards geared vehicles. I suppose there’s a time in every guy’s life when he feels “Enough of this gearless stuff.” I wanted more. When I went to Hyderabad(something that’s become too frequent lately), I started riding my sister’s husband’s Unicorn, and my cousin’s Fz, saluto, pulsar,trigger and various other bikes. And boy, did they give me a thrill ! The feel of the engine revving, the  pulsating sound of the engine and the wind hitting your face(there’s no compulsion to wear a helmet in Hyderabad) as you ride off are joys that can only be experienced. I’d decided that I needed a bike for myself.

But what transpired was unfortunate. I was told by my parents, in no uncertain terms, that I was to be happy with my activa. And that seemed to be that.
When I came back to Bangalore, I found out that my cousin, who goes to the same college that I do, had bought an Apache rtr 180. Needless to say, old desires resurfaced when I started riding his bike. I wanted a bike.

Elders,at least many I know,  are quite understandably not at ease with a guy having a bike when he’s still in college. While I agree that it might be unsafe, I also know I’ve a responsibility to ride safely and not speed unnecessarily, especially in traffic. I see many pricks on the road who squirm through every available inch of space and end up causing more chaos. What is the monumental feat they hope to achieve that they don’t have even a couple of minutes to spare? I’m not saying people shouldn’t ride fast; all I’m saying is that trying to overtake each and every vehicle on the road is not the only mission of your life. Ride fast when you’re on  an empty road. Or when you’re on a highway. But definitely not when there’s kids and grannies crossing the roads at peak traffic times.

Sorry for the digression.
So the thing now is, I want a bike. And I need atleast a 150cc engine. Second hand is all I can hope for, and second hand is all that I desire. The Suzuki gixxer seems very promising, from my admittedly limited knowledge and research.

So right now,
Step 1: forming a goal: done.
Step 2: working towards goal: don IN PROGRESS.

I’ll get there. I know I will.
EDIT: This is very late, but I did end up getting a Honda Unicorn 150 over a year back. Absolutely love it.

How to make an utter mess of your lab exam.

Lady luck is mine. She always has been, and always will be. Our relation is unbreakable.

Turns out, even the most close knit of relations can and will have hiccups and betrayals along the way. And they can occur at the most inopportune of times. Like the time you need luck for doing well in the practical exam of a subject you absolutely loathe. Read on.

I’m studying computer science and engineering in Bangalore. I’m in the first year, and here we have a weird way of starting this professional course: Teach the students nothing related to their future profession. That’s right, a whole year of the 4 year course is used for teaching other subjects which are supposed to be important. But this post is not about that. Sorry for the digression.

It so happened that I was to have my practical exam of BASIC ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING on the 5th of this month. Until the 3rd, I was running around the college for obtaining my hall ticket which is the admit card for my final exams. I had to go to my village that night, and I was, on 4th, ready to finally start studying (after having to attend a family function, that is). I was to study 16 experiments, out of which one was to be performed and which would decide my marks for the entire semester.

(Note: Up until this practical, I had an excellent track record in all the practical exams I had taken.)

On the morning of 5th June, I left for the exam. Out of the 16 experiments, I was pretty confident about 14 of them, and the other two were about transformers:

1. Short circuit test to determine Copper losses;

2. Open circuit test to determine Iron losses;

I’m still baffled to this day by what they even mean. The logical part of my brain reasoned that the probability of me getting either of these experiments in the exam was 1/8 or 0.125 and with my relationship with lady luck, I’ll sail through this one easily.

With this comforting thought in my mind, I hopped onto my scooter and rode off to college. On the way, a particularly nasty speed breaker almost broke me into two when I was too distracted to notice it. I should have realised at that time itself that it was a sign of the impending, inevitable doom. Alas, I entered the lion’s den with no idea that I was to become the sacrificial lamb.

At the entrance to the lab, a thin man wearing the staff ID card asked for my hall ticket. Oops. I had left it at home.

But that hall ticket was supposed to get me entry only into the theory exam, and was not even required nor requested for for the lab exam, I shouted at him in my head.

The cocky man contrived to ask me how I could forget to get my hall ticket on my exam day.

Only, I thought in my brain, this wasn’t a theory exam you fool!

What resulted in the next few minutes was me not getting allowed into the lab. After requesting persistently, they finally allowed me in on the condition that I would get my hall ticket the following day, and my marks will be finalised and taken into account only then. I agreed.

I had my lab manual with me. I asked the teacher present where do I keep it. A perfectly reasonable question, don’t you think? Evidently , the teacher didn’t think so. Keep it on my head, she replied.

Wondering why the day had so far passed in such an unpleasant manner, I thought to myself, what could possibly go wrong now? I’ll just peacefully do my experiment and ace it.

Wrong.

By this time, all of the other students had picked their question chits. There were only two question papers left for me to choose from. And when I errantly picked up the one kept on the left and turned it around, “PERFORM THE SHORT CIRCUIT TEST ON THE TRANSFORMER AND DETERMINE THE COPPER LOSSES.” greeted me. Just great, don’t you think?

Not these cool transformers though

Hehe, not these cool transformers though.

When it came around to me doing the circuit connections, I was as clueless as Suresh Raina against a short ball. I utterly messed it up. The teacher didn’t even let me switch on the machine, fearing, possibly, that it might blast thanks to my connections.

She sent me along for my viva voce. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a series of oral questions that the professor asks you, related to the experiment you have performed. Here is how my viva went:

Teacher: (after squinting at my written procedure for a couple of minutes and failing to decipher my handwriting) What’s your experiment?

Me: ma’am, Short circuit.

Teacher: Okay, tell me what do you mean by short circuit.

Me: (quickly trying to think of something smart to say) ma’am, its when the secondary of the transformer is shorted.

Seriously did I just say that?

Teacher: okay, what are copper losses?

Me: ma’am, the losses which occur when the secondary of the transformer is shorted.

Seriously, what was wrong with me?

Teacher: where do the copper losses occur?

Me: ma’am, across the secondary..

Teacher: No, I mean where in the transformer.

I thought about what a transformer is. I remembered that it contains a core and windings. So, unwilling to take a chance,

Me: ma’am, in the core and the windings.

This was seriously stupid. I mean, I just answered the whole damn transformer!

Teacher: are you sure it occurs in the core too?

When the teacher asks you such a question, ALWAYS say no.

Me: no ma’am, no. Only in the windings.

Teacher: how do you estimate the copper loss?

Me: by means of Wattmeter reading.

For once, I had answered a question correctly. But of course, how could the teacher just let me be ?

Teacher(now looking at my drawn circuit diagram) :  where’s the wattmeter in your circuit?

I pointed at the relevant portion in my drawing.

Teacher: what are these two windings called in the wattmeter ? Why are there two? What are their functions?

I mean, woah , give the kid a break lady!

Me: ma’am, there is a inductor in this winding , so this is inductive winding. There’s a resistor in that winding, so that’s the resistive winding.

At this point, the teachers sitting on either side of this particular teacher have abandoned the papers they were correcting and are staring at me like as if I came from Mars.

Teacher: What?!?

I thought I’d made enough of a joke of myself.

Me: I don’t know ma’am.

The teacher scribbled something on my paper and told me I could leave. And that I did gladly.

What a horrible day that had been.

Needless to say, I didn’t go back the next day to show my hall ticket.

Lady luck and I were done.

From now onwards it’s only hard work. 🙂