Thursday, March 27, 2008

good-better-best. late-later-hopeless

A colleague who loves reading heavy philosophical books had insisted that I read one of his favourite books, light from many lamps. And ‘read’ I did, just that I took about 8 months to finish the first half of the book. My usual reading time for fiction is 3 days to one week per book, but philosophy has to sink in deep, and that takes time, doesn’t it? You gotta make allowances ;)

Although I didn’t think I would like to finish the book, I am slowly realising that its OK to read it as I am in fact liking it. For one thing its not the average Donald Trump or Shiv Khera type of literature (if you can call it literature, that is). It’s a collection of interesting excerpts from a lot of writers (all American though) and its not all pep talk. It narrates lot of incidents as they happened in people’s lives.

One story that influenced me is about an inscription on a garden wall. One day, a very busy doctor receives a letter from one of the old patients. The patient, a young woman narrates how she had seen a writing on a wall in a garden and thought it might be relevant to the doctor. “Enjoy yourself. It is later than you think”

The doctor put the correspondence aside and tried to forget about it, but it refused to get away from his mind. He was getting old and he had always wanted to go for a holiday. Since he thought his patients needed him, he never gave too much thought about his dream. But, from the time he read those words, he was restless. He kept thinking, “Really? Is it late already?” then he decided that “maybe it is later than I think”

He decided to take the long pending holiday, he wanted to visit South America. He met his friend and asked him to join him in the vacation plan and later, showed him the letter. His friend initially said he cannot go, he wont be able to spare time, he is too busy. Later, they sat in silence, each in deep thought. Then he said “What is that thing again that woman said? ‘it is later than you think’? Well..”

And so they went to South America, and enjoyed their vacation by doing everything that the country had to offer them, as they enjoyed the peace, they felt their burdens slip off.

At his death bed, the doctor’s friend’s best memory was the days spent in South America. “I am so happy that we went to South America. I thank God we did not wait too long” – these were among the words he spoke in the last few hours of his life.

Lots of things I read affect me, some do not, and some I pretend that they didn’t affect me. But this short story went deep inside, made changes and made me do things I would not have done on a normal course. I am glad I read this, because I am glad with the results I have due to my actions. Not all that I did worked out the way I wanted, but not even one will make me regret later.

Thought this would be nice to share with few others. So here i am, spreading the message, Go ahead, enjoy your times ppl! I am afraid it is indeed later than you think!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Excerpts

Eleven minutes by Paulo Coelho

I stood for a long time by the roller coster and I noticed that most people got on it in search of excitement, but that once it starts, they are terrified and want the cars to stop.

What do they expect? Having chosen adventure, shouldn’t they be prepared to go the whole way? Or do they think that the intelligent thing to do would be to avoid the ups and downs and spend all their time on carousal, going round and round on the spot?

Life is a fast, dizzying game; life is a parachute jump; its taking chances, falling over and getting up again; its mountaineering; its wanting to get to the very top of yourself and to feel angry and dissatisfied when you don’t manage it…

The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh

As we were drawing closer (to the mangroves which were notorious for tigers), Horen looked at me. ‘Sir’ he said ‘now the time to go ashore is at hand, tell me, do you feel the fear?’

‘The fear?’ I said ‘what do you mean Horen? Why should I be afraid? Arent you with me?’

‘Because it’s the fear that protects you sir; its what keeps you alive. Without it, the danger doubles’

‘So are you afraid Horen?’

‘Yes sir’, he said. ‘Look at me. Don’t you see the fear on my face?’

And now that I looked more closely, it was true that I could see something out of the ordinary on his face – an alertness, a gravity, a sharpening of the eyes. The tension was a kind that communicated itself readily. It didn’t take me long before I could say to Horen, truthfully, that I was just as afraid as he was.

‘Yes Horen, I feel it’
‘that’s good’
It’s a lazy afternoon, I am sitting huddled with my fluffy pillows in the depths of the couch. Its drizzling outside. The breeze is cool. I get up lazily and walk to the windows, I release the curtains and they drift up lightly in the breeze. I feel the cool rain drops on my palm as I stretch my hands out of the windows. I step out on the balcony, the drops spray on my face, I cant help a smile..

I step back in and make some hot chocolate. Music plays and mingles with the rain’s rhythm. I am back at the couch with a hot cup of chocolate. The book I am reading is hilarious. By the time I finish half of my drink, and two pages of the book, I laugh out aloud at a well written joke.

I finish my drink and 3 more pages, I sink deeper in the pillows and doze off…things are good, things couldn’t be better. Or, can they be?? May be, I cant make up my mind. Well, it would be better if things were even better..i am losing my head…then BANG! I open my eyes and stare at my 15’’ monitor, turn and see the pile of papers at the desk. The time is 2 pm on a hot Tuesday. I am far from my tasks targets and farther from weekend.

The last time I looked at the clock, it was 1.59 pm! I have to make few difficult phone calls. I have been putting it off for later since morning. Should i do it now, or should i finish the mailing first. I need to do a report, should i do that instead..I cant make up my mind.. I close my eyes and try to wake up in a different world. It doesnt happen :(

This is not fair