Lost in abstraction

Lost in abstraction

10 trillion-The number of cells in an average human being. That’s more cells than the number of people on the planet. 10 Trillion cells. All working in unison humming every second or two.  From a certain point when we tumble forth into the World.

Such enormous complexity in such a simple and fragile exterior. All it takes is a poke, jab, blow, or fall to end it all. What is the end of it all anyway?

Then there is the brain. The most amazing few million cells. Lets call them “the specially chosen”. The brain that is capable of observing, and being observed at the same time. capable of perceiving reality and understanding abstractions. Capable of writing love songs and planning the most vile campaigns that are meant to destroy every living being in its vicinity.

Life surely flows through streams and rivers of thought- through fables of heroes and the horrors of villains. Through the frustrations and pain of suffering to the serenity of contentment and love. Life is everything and nothing- all in one. The proverbial World that is presented to us through the eye of a needle.

For millenia – scientists, doctors, healers and the curious ones have been studying the “how” of life. How does so and so work? Every year we recognize and reward those who tell us something truly unique about the how’s of life. I wonder how many of us have asked this question.


Why must we live? and why is the opposite of living- dying? What is living really? Is it me perceiving the things around me and other people seeing me move? If that’s the case then I’m no more alive than a car or an airplane. If living means learning, understanding, moving, and observing- that means the laptop I’m typing on is as alive as I am (and maybe better at it!) If it means feeling emotion- then half of the organisms that scientists classify as “living” aren’t really alive. And if it does mean responding to stimulus- then a dead person is as alive as a person alive- the body still responds to the stimulus (of rapid deoxygenation) by turning blue.

Yet somehow, all these suppositions and arguments seem incongruous.

A brief objective and dispassionate look at the World seems to suggest that its nothing more than an experiment in motion. Just like a scientist who mixes chemicals in the lab- just too see if the result, a great thinker suggested that nature is one big experiment called evolution. Random, chaotic, survival rather than living, and a constant state of flux. Where every being survives day to day.

That does throw our moral compass out of gear though. If survival is the goal, then there is no “good” way to survive, no “honorable” way to live and no “destiny” to fulfill. All that matters is eat or be eaten, kill or be killed.

And then- the biggest doozy of all time- is there a soul? if so what is it?

There’s something very reassuring about believing that there is a soul. Something that survives out brief existence of 50-60 summers in a planet that has probably has a hundred billion of them. Something that is ours- something that is us – that transcends. Gives value to learning, meaning to life. Just like the Philosophers Stone gives value to lead- turning it into gold. The kiss of death- something so scary- now turns into a divine transformation, where we are free of the physical bonds that bind us and many a times- burden us, into a sense of complete freedom. This is where we transcend into an abstraction- where we transcend flesh into thought. There have been so many books written by so many incredible thinkers, who after years of digging at the stem of life, discovered roots that were inexplicable and incredible- roots that were – for a lack of a better word- “divine”. Where does all of this fit into the grandest experiment of life- The evolution of the Universe?

I would like to believe that my life has meaning. And that meaning can be found by learning and understanding. I would like to believe that the crazy parts of life and the fun parts of life are there for a reason, that  my mind – muddy lake that it is- can be made transparent- and then I would be able to see the depths of cognition and perception. I would like to believe that the air around us is cackling with magic every moment of everyday- taking life from some, while giving life to others. Parching some parts of the World, while creating cherry blossoms in another.

I would like to believe that friendships and true relationships transcend time and lives, and the dead are not gone forever. I would like to believe that the voice in my head, constantly chatting with me, chastising me, motivating me, and protecting , is all the magic of the World somehow creating a “Reverse Butterfly effect” where I can travel through space, time, distance, and people, without moving an inch.

And I would like to believe that there is more to life then living, like there’s more to death than dying.

I also know that this entire premise rests on one word.


Hope- the principal human delusion- simultaneously the source of our greatest achievements and failures.

And so I remain lost in this World of hallucinations- called Maya. Knowing that for every fact, there is an equal and opposite fact that’s every bit as true.

Like Le Petit Prince- my World has everything. And nothing.

Everyday in this World, I lose my self- in this wondrous abstraction called life.


The Ballad of a Traveler

I walk today across the hallway with deep melancholy,

With each step I take I feel my heart grow heavier.

I begin to play the Blues in my Mind and feel a wrenching in my soul,

Knowing I can’t cry because I’m leaving alone.

The swivel door through Security leads me to the antechamber of waiting,

For the Ferry rowed by Charon.

I’ve paid my coin and I wait for him row,

From the World of Love, to the World of destiny.

The World I love dissolves beneath me into a mist of fog, I touch the skies,

And the memories of a thousand happy times come rushing to my mind.

The ball of dust beneath my feet dissolves into the placid sky,

As the first rays of the Sun Cause me to smile.

A Traveler I am, an epitome of strength sublime,

Quests take me to uncharted lands to discover untold Hope.

It puts a smile on the Lips of people I Love because,

Travel to me is a journey to Self Discovery

My Love spans across continents, so my doubts begin to appear

I’ve left so much behind!

My work and Life takes me across the three continents of the World,

But my heart resides in Two.

The morning comes as the night darkness recedes,

I’m still in Ferrying toward my destiny.

The Sun winks at me through the first rays of his Light

And speaks in whispers to me

“I shine through the windows of Hope, to tell you today,

The people you Love reside within you forever,

Feel them alive within your soul,

And hear them speak to you alone.”

And I try to see them in earnest, as I hope for them to come,

I feel my Mother Hugging me, my Father Gazing in trust.

They want the world for me

I know they’ll never let go.

The One I Love holds me so tight; I feel my eyes go moist,

I can’t hold back the tears as she whispers ever so gently to me.

I smile in knowledge now, as I wipe away my tears of Joy,

My Loved ones are today with me, and Joyous forever I’ll be.

The Raincloud

Big brown eyes -This is how I will remember her long after she forgets my name and my very existence. Big brown eyes contain within it all that is beautiful in the world. Her big brown eyes opened doors that I had shut in my life- ages ago. I still wonder how I picked up an invitation into her life. I’m not sure it was meant for me.

She stands in front of me in that time of the night where street lights throw strange shadows on the streets. She stands in silent repose- Handles gently tucked into her jeans pocket, the soft breeze brushing past her cheeks and gently blowing her hair. The din of the night grows louder, and the people around begin to wonder about two people talking, non stop. This is beauty- in its simplicity – conversation without a care in the world. Its the simple things in life that make for the most powerful memories. I am going to remember the day half a century from now. Right down to the slight chill in the air, the dampness after the first rains. I can’t help but feel a sense of irony at the situation. She has come into my life like the first rains of the season – Bringing so much life, so much joy and so many colours. She stays true to her name- the bringer of hope to parched souls.

To call a person a raincloud is to put an entire generation’s hopes on a young girls shoulder. And as she moves around in life- I see her at work and I realise she is fighting toward realizing her Dharma- to prove to be a symbol of hope for a million parched people- like the first appearance of a raincloud over a parched sunny city. For a person I’ve just gotten to know, it’s amazing how she’s turned my life upside down. Whether it’s her gentle demeanour or directness of talking or a million other aspects of conversation, she has undoubtedly brought colour into my life. Or it may be a so many trinkets all perfectly color- coordinated, that make me wonder if I’d become so used to feeling grey that I’ve forgotten what it feels like to have so much colour in life.

Sitting at the desk writing a piece about a woman I’m just getting to know is superfluous, but again, very few people in the world are worth writing about. And even fewer people have it within them to stir up such passions and such warmth in people. I just hope, over a course of time, the spirit of good does not get tarnished by the morbid cynicism of the soulless zombies that traverse the world and office spaces..

A little tribute to my Valkyrie on a Honda- The Raincloud!