Literary, Others

If I were the wind

I found her sitting alone, facing the sea. The sky was clear rapidly, but the smell of rain was there to stay. I watched few drops fall lazily from her wet hair. I struggled to gather my wits while her muffled sobs occasionally penetrated the silence. I had never seen her cry in the last eight years.

Unable to find my words, I sat down beside her. She held out a hand, and I gladly took it.

“Your hand is warm,” she sighed after a while.
“And yours is freezing,” I retorted. “Trying to be dramatic, are you?”
“The situation calls for a bit of drama; don’t you think?”

A few meters away, the fisher folk were preparing sails to make use of the steady wind. Large numbers of fish would be gathering a few kilometers off shore right about now – where the muddy, land-washed water meets the clear ocean. Every boat wanted to be the first to reach the temporary gold mine.

“This is not the end,” I said, with a lot of determination.
“It is not,” she replied.

We talked for hours before parting – about friends back at home, about life, and about the new world that awaited her across the ocean.

On my way back, as I looked back before turning the corner, I caught her waving and shouting something. But the wind carried her words away over the waters. How I wished I was the wind then! I’d have been the wind beneath her sails, untied from this place which would soon cease to be home.

Submission for LSD, IIMA.

LSD logo blue

Misc., Others

On the Kindle Paperwhite

The Paperwhite is absolutely beautiful in the dark.

The brightness can be turned down to a diffused glow, providing just enough light to read while not hurting the eyes with unnecessary glare. I’ve never had a more soothing reading experience.

This gives it a huge edge over traditional paperbacks, especially for bedtime readers who know the pang of not having the light switch within immediate reach.

Lists, Others

Richard Dawkins quotes

I love Richard Dawkins quotes!

  • “There is an anaesthetic of familiarity, a sedative of ordinariness which dulls the senses and hides the wonder of existence. For those of us not gifted in poetry, it is at least worth while from time to time making an effort to shake off the anaesthetic. What is the best way of countering the sluggish habituation brought about by our gradual crawl from babyhood? We can’t actually fly to another planet. But we can recapture that sense of having just tumbled out to life on a new world by looking at our own world in unfamiliar ways.”
  • “The adult world may seem a cold and empty place, with no fairies and no Father Christmas, no Toyland or Narnia, no Happy Hunting Ground where mourned pets go, and no angels – guardian or garden variety. But there are also no devils, no hellfire, no wicked witches, no ghosts, no haunted houses, no daemonic possession, no bogeymen or ogres. Yes, Teddy and Dolly turn out not to be really alive. But there are warm, live, speaking, thinking, adult bed fellows to hold, and many of us find it a more rewarding kind of love than the childish affection for stuffed toys, however soft and cuddly they may be.”
  • “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked — as I am surprisingly often — why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn’t it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?”
  • “Not to grow up properly is to retain our ‘caterpillar’ quality from childhood (where it is a virtue) into adulthood (where it becomes a vice). In childhood our credulity serves us well. It helps us to pack, with extraordinary rapidity, our skulls full of the wisdom of our parents and our ancestors. But if we don’t grow out of it in the fullness of time, our caterpillar nature makes us a sitting target for astrologers, mediums, gurus, evangelists and quacks. The genius of the human child, mental caterpillar extraordinary, is for soaking up information and ideas, not for criticizing them. If critical faculties later grow it will be in spite of, not because of, the inclinations of childhood. The blotting paper of the child’s brain is the unpromising seedbed, the base upon which later the skeptical attitude, like a struggling mustard plant, may possibly grow. We need to replace the automatic credulity of childhood with the constructive skepticism of adult science.”
  • “There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.”
  • “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
  • “The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable. It is a deep aesthetic passion to rank with the finest that music and poetry can deliver. It is truly one of the things that make life worth living and it does so, if anything, more effectively if it convinces us that the time we have for living is quite finite.”
Journal, Others, Updates

My blog: In review

As you people know, there’s something called the ‘ stats helper monkeys’, which publishes a post about how your blog has been going over the past year. For the past 30 minutes, I’ve been trying to get my blog reviewed and have failed. Probably because my blog is less than a year old. Or maybe because it doesn’t have enough views. So I decided to write the review myself.

This blog, which was created to be a personal output site, has been just that. I have written posts without a lot of pretence, which I would have never done in my previous blogs. They were all about being cool, and not spontaneity. Here, I have written more honestly, or so I believe.

Being more honest, the blog is certainly meant for a smaller number of viewers. I lost touch with most of the people from my previous blogging groups. However, a blogging group, where every member reads the blogs of all the others,  is one of the most important needs of any blogger. It gives a blogger the much needed “reason to write” by providing an interested audience. Hence logically, I’m a little bummed about the lack of a variety of audiences at this moment. But gone are the days where my ego would permit me to mass-spam my bloglink and ask people to read my posts.

Still, I have about 5 regular readers, which is kinda nice. Once in a while new interesting people show up too. Here’s an incident: in September, I received a mail from a blogger confirming my shortcoming regarding changing subjects during narrating. She had been kind enough to suggest some ways of improvement, too.

Overall, this blog has turned out like a personal diary, except it’s not personal. There are stuff which I want you to read and stuff which I don’t, i.e. unless you’re ready to get bored. There aren’t many readable posts here as of now, but I intend to keep this site for a long time, and things will eventually come up.

The stats helper monkeys did not prepare a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

“A Kanchrapara Bus with a seat capacity of 35 carries 75 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times since July 2011. If it were a Kanchrapara Bus, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.”