This piece was inspired by one major factor. A crippling writer’s block. It may sound snobbish or pretentious, but being plagued by writer’s block even before you can be considered a writer is its own kind of hell. It was too soon for me to be out of ideas, especially since I am still waiting for one I can be proud of. So I decided to glue myself to a chair and not get up until I had written one page. I got up seventeen times up until I got to this point. But hey, I managed to write one paragraph.
Since I’m still fresh out of world changing ideas, this piece is just going to be a list of things I’m thinking about right now. Incidentally, the only things I can think of right now are things I’ve thought about hundreds of times before. While anyone who has known me for over five minutes will tell you I have no problem blowing my own trumpet – loud – I still wouldn’t go as far as to pass off my idle musings as “wisdom”. Hence the title went from “nuggets of wisdom” to “nuggets of nonsense”. Don’t get discouraged, none of this is nonsense, although perhaps anything viewed from the prism of a comfortably raised twenty two year old, whose biggest challenge yesterday was his dinner being slightly under salted, is probably nonsense. I don’t mean that in the sense of “not worthy enough”, but in the sense of “my opinion on these things might change a year from now, who knows.”
One more thing for this prologue, these are just observations my mind has concocted, definitely not to be taken as commandments written in stone. If you disagree, feel free to start a debate in the comments section. If you disapprove, go somewhere else. Not that either of the two scenarios is likely, since I’m not sure I have the capability to do anything more than mildly amuse my readers. On that note, here is a glimpse into the mind of a genius (I told you I have no problem praising myself).
- Retirement is a bogus concept: So you’ve put in the hours and the years, you’ve reached a certain point where work no longer excites you the way it once did, and the wisdom of age has taught you to appreciate things other than the mighty dollar. You’ve paid off your house, and settled your children and finally managed to save enough to live the next twenty years off of. Great, I guess it’s time to get out of the rat race and start living your life. Doing what? Sure, the first few weeks are pure bliss. The morning tea can be swapped out for morning mimosas, and morning can start off at noon if you so choose. What happens after that? You are desperate to find something that engages you remotely as much as you have been in the last four decades and the ever so familiar feeling of not having enough time is replaced with the exceedingly uncomfortable notion of “I can’t believe just how many hours there are in a day.” You just lie on the bed all day waiting for it to be time for that one barely tolerable TV show that hasn’t shown anything of substance since, frankly its inception, while that brilliant, beautiful mind of yours atrophies into a mush. What’s worse, you and your family aren’t used to spending this much time with each other, and you finally accept what you’ve always known deep down- you don’t really like each other all that much. You could travel, I suppose, if you have the means, but even something as pure and enchanting as seeing the world has limitations on how much of it you can take. So please, do yourselves a favor, and don’t stop working. Start your own company, join a non profit, offer tuition to students, write a book, help youngsters in your industry or simply continue with your job – whatever it is that fits you personally is a great option. I mean if Andy Dufresne can build a library, help students get their high school diplomas, and con the entire banking system from inside a prison, I’m sure you can find something to do as a free man. (Big shocker, I referenced a movie in my blog post). Just don’t sit at home “finally living your life.”
- Going to outer space: Since everyone from my family to potential employers read this page, I decided against doing a “bucket list” piece, because there is some disturbing stuff on there. So instead, here it is, a piece of my bucket list. In fact if I could do only one thing on that whole list, it would be this. One of my deepest desires is to be able to go to outer space. Not to Mars, or even the moon, just enough to hover outside the Earth’s atmosphere. (Maybe to the ISS). Everything about this experience, from leaving behind life as humanity knows it, to floating in zero gravity, to viewing our home planet as an outside speck in our solar system and judging for myself the authenticity of the words immortalized by astronaut Rakesh Sharma, “saare jahaan se achha, Hindustan humaara” is utterly magical to me. No matter who you are, I’m willing to bet my left lung that if you ever get the chance to do this, you will not return the same person that left Earth. I’m not the only person who has romanticized the notion of humans in outer space. Apart from preeminent geniuses of our time trying to make space travel for the masses a reality, the late notable author and computer scientist Randy Pausch, in his world renowned “Last Lecture” reminisces how the moment he saw Neil Armstrong put his first step on the moon, he thought it was as if the entire human race had just been given permission to dream big. There is just something about the idea of being able to leave Earth behind that helps fade away all the problems that being grounded can possibly bring with it.
- Integrity of work is massive philanthropy: Bill Gates has spent several years and countless dollars trying to eradicate disease and further education in the world. J.K. Rowling lost her billionaire status because of donating vast sums of money to charity. All extremely noble endeavours, anyone would agree. In no way trying to minimize the benefactorial value of these endeavours, I’d like to attempt to slightly skew the understanding of philanthropy. To me, the philanthropy of Bill Gates started thirty years before it actually did. In more ways than one, he has helped a lot more people in unimaginable ways by creating Microsoft, than through his charities. He created something that forever changed the course of the world, generated employment for thousands of people and started an industry that ultimately allowed great wonders to be born. Aside from her charity, by writing Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling pushed the boundaries of human imagination beyond what was thought possible before. The Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani is famous for not contributing to philanthropy in its conventional sense. However, he created a telecom service at an unbelievably low cost to the consumer, forcing all other telecom providers to bring their prices down to the same level, and ultimately benefiting every cell phone user in a country of a billion and a half people. By creating high quality work product that was ruthlessly true to themselves, each of these people have contributed massively in improving the lives of countless people, which by definition, is philanthropy. While I fully conform to the traditional understanding of philanthropy, and truly value the people who believe that it is their duty to give back because they have been given more than their fair share, I implore you to consider this alternate perspective.
- It’s 2018. Maybe it’s time we let go of racism: We have had an African American president, an Indian leading one of the largest tech corporations in the world, and a half black half white woman set to be the next addition to the royal family, not to mention the entertainment and business industries have pioneers from all sorts of races and ethnicities. Yet, ground staff at Mangalore airport doesn’t look at me while handing me my boarding pass because my surname is clearly North Indian, and black and brown families often don’t get a loan at a decent rate of interest even if they can afford it. Now, I’m not against the stereotypes that come with varied races, in fact I embrace them. Different races do have different cultural and ethnic practices, and trying to normalize them all or not acknowledging us as different is its own form of bigotry. We are different. So this year, it is my wish for the world, that we stop hating each other based on our names or nationalities, or the colour of our skin, instead, we start digging deeper and hate each other for our mindsets and personalities. There are enough flaws there too, why not explore those for a change.
This is where I’ll stop today, partly because I have been told my blog posts can be a bit long, but mostly because I am not sure how much longer anyone would care about what I think. I sincerely hope you have had as much fun reading this post as I have had writing it, and in light of that, maybe I’ll do another one of these lists soon. Possible topics for the same include: genetics VS. environment – the more powerful factor that shapes our lives, how do planes not just fall out of the sky, the moments in which life really happens, and how it’s time to retire the pizza and hero the burger.
A giant thank you to my very small group of loyal readers, who text me their feedback after each piece, or periodically ask me when the next piece is going to be up. You know who you are. I’m not sure if you genuinely like my writing or if it’s just blind affection, but you’re the reason why even after seven months of not writing, I get back to contributing to the ever increasing pile of junk content that the internet has seemingly become.