by Kiran Jhamb
Our last conversation sent me into the thinking mode; you have been a very good son – have never given me any reason to complain. But I realized anew that the young are always full of themselves. They take themselves very seriously. They believe in themselves, have the energy to move things, and are hopeful - unaware of the larger picture. At the moment it is ‘I am unique, different … have a point of view which deserves only vow/woo-hoo type of response’ etc. They really believe like Thomas Carlyle that "the casting of this pebble from my hand alters the centre of gravity of the universe - is a mathematical fact."
Youth is like the surf which you observe on the crest of each incoming wave at the seashore. It is formed only for a few moments, and during that time it is very much in existence and thinks, ‘Hey, I am here’ but (alas!) vanishes with the receding wave. The funniest thing is the ocean was very much in existence and will be very much in existence - in the darkness as well as in the day light. Days, weeks, years are human markers made for our convenience. To look back, to anticipate - we need these markers.
From the time of your birth to that of your death you go through nth feelings, emotions, and impulses and then you are spent. The larger picture is - Nothing Matters! Countless people have come and gone. Pick up history, it will give you examples to justify every movement and then again every anti movement to that movement. It just depends/ matters which examples you choose. I am not pointing you towards nihilism or ‘shunya’ or annihilation - just that youth is full of turbulence. Every idea and the resulting deed becomes the thesis. Some accept it, some object to it. The objection becomes the anti-thesis. Then at some point there is a synthesis – parts of acceptance and parts of objection combine to form it. Now this synthesis becomes the new thesis and the whole process begins again. And the society keeps on moving lumbered by incumbency and anti-incumbency.
Learn the importance of ‘nothingness’. Learn to be objective (though you cannot be fully objective because your ego/biases defines your mindset and stops you, otherwise you will achieve nirvana.) - as far as possible. Nobody leaves foot prints on the sands of time, but while alive everybody is full of ‘I, Me, My, Mine’. You don’t have to convince others - it is not your job. Don’t waste your energy, conserve it. Keep your core private, listen to others, or mentally block them out while going through the motions of listening. Don’t add audio pebbles to the din already going on. Absorb only what you want to absorb. To you others are nothing. But you know, you are nothing where sands of time are concerned. Here today, gone tomorrow. Slogans, flags, anniversary celebrations, tele discussions, tweets - they are fleeting, not permanent. Don’t waste your time and energy on them. Look at the surging wannabees and try to find out the humor - how self-righteousness leads to the comic and the tragic. On countless occasions you must have realized that situational ethics precludes the formation of categorical imperatives. Don’t forget the power of rationalization. There
are as many truths as the number of people. Learn to dissociate yourself. Be in the scene but develop a critical self which at the same time stands there separately watching you and tells you, ‘You are being ridiculous’. Learn to mock yourself.
Don’t keep on changing tracks. Learn the importance of mundane - like of a job, a monthly salary, repetitive routine, creativity deadening daily chores. Subscribe to some psychology sites so that you will know how the human mind works.
Success doesn’t necessarily equal happiness. It is very common to expect that things that make us successful, (for example your high level job) will make us happy also. They may not. So make time to develop your hobbies. About creative writing – I hope you don’t want to be didactic or a propagandist – you should write to work out your thoughts, to explore. Then it leads to clarity as well as it heals, therapeutic! Write to end your loneliness. You are smart, so far you haven’t made many mistakes. You think you’re not supposed to make any. As a result, you make life very hard for yourself. Dear, everyone makes mistakes. It’s not possible to go through life without them.
Just because somebody/some ideology is different, it does not mean they are wrong. You know it well – it takes all sorts to make the world etc. If you really want to be creative interact with people who are different than you.
Always empathize. Then you won’t feel anger because you will be able to see the other person’s point of view and put it in proper perspective. Always practice kindness and stop the toxic built-ups from building, though mind you, forgiving does not imply forgetting.
Keep a sense of proportion. Wanting only good times can affect your mental equilibrium. Whatever is going on now, it’s going to change. Learn to ride the ups and downs happily.
You are fully responsible for yourself. And by now you have realized that you are reaping what you sowed and will keep on doing so because in no time present becomes the past. The realization that you are not that young anymore must have been given by the first grey hair that have made their appearance. The fear of turning 30 will soon start looming on your horizon. Have you made an effort to find a partner – the same kind of effort that characterizes the making of your career? Letting others flit through your life and flitting through others’ life becomes pointless after a certain time. There is no Ms. Right, romantic love does not last. One has to work on this relationship. The modern Galatea and Pygmalion both have the right to mould each other. Embark on this journey. Living alone for too long makes one rigid in one’s ways and it increasingly becomes difficult to share. Marriage requires a little selflessness.
On reading what I have written I realized I haven’t talked about leadership. Leadership qualities never dawned on my horizon. Maybe I didn’t have them. Maybe this perspective of mine is determined by my gender, the role I was expected to play – you decide. But a time will come when you won’t want anything to be different past, present or future and wonder what the fuss was about.
Lots of love,