Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Nature doesn’t say, “This is wrong!”

In Dissecting Life on February 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm

We are all great at mind games, aren’t we? We manipulate, consciously or subconsciously, to alter moves of people around us in order to get our work done. Although the Heavens would consider us unworthy of entry, nature presents a completely different picture.

This is what we saw. A bird poops. The snail feasts on the parasite infested poop. The parasite plays havoc in the digestive system, and then dances in the tentacles of the snail. Consequently, the wormlike tentacles get bitten off by the incognizant bird and the parasite gains entry into the bird’s rectum. In other words, Leucochloridium paradoxum takes over the snail’s brain and executes a perfect bird-deception plan and nobody complains or question’s the parasite’s intention or yells in desperation, “Leucochloridium paradoxum must be punished!”

Parasitic wasps have another story to narrate. They introduce their eggs into a host such as a lady bird, a mantis or a caterpillar. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the host until they grow into adults, killing the host. While the instincts are in motion, nature stands and stares.

Has anyone tried showing the wasp the “Right Path” or telling it, “Dude! This is not done!” Of course not. In nature, deception is a fair game. You deceive, you survive.

In the mean time, cuckoos hatch in a different bird’s nest. Yes, the mother cuckoo leaves her child in a stranger’s (the host) nest! The nest also contains the host’s eggs but the cuckoo’s egg always hatches first.  The host flies helter-skelter to provide the rapidly growing cuckoo with food. Not interested in sharing the feast, the now-not-so-little cuckoo throws the host’s eggs out. Baby cuckoo is pretty violent for a kid, isn’t it? Then again, who doesn’t want to enjoy monopoly?

It seems the little baby does not have the time to learn this act of violence so natural instinct is at play here. We can call it a result of genetic makeup. But does this mean that in order to eradicate destruction and violence in nature, you may have to alter the gene or destroy the creature altogether? Maybe the cuckoo just needs to see a counselor. Will a psychiatrist change the way a cuckoo behaves, I wonder? If chemicals, hormones and genes govern the human body, what could possibly be fair or unfair about human behavior?

While baby cuckoos get rid of their siblings, praying mantises eat their spouses alive during mating! “Praying” mantis? “Preying” mantis more like it!

Homosexuality in animals is not uncommon. (Turns out, there is more to nature than procreation.) With whiptail lizards reproducing without male interference, dolphins engaging in coercive sex and penguins turning to prostitution, “right” and “wrong” clearly never existed in nature.

The point I’m trying to make is this– if I step all over you in my pursuit of brilliance, don’t complain. It’s nature’s will!


Another Fool’s Paradise: Not Lonely Yet Alone

In Dissecting Life on February 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Image by: MrHope :: Image License

Sometimes you scan a room full of people and think about the story each one weaves. A story you don’t know. A story you will never know.

As a child I remember lying on my bed, staring into the dark and wondering if my parents would rush to my room if I screamed. I get that feeling, off and on, even today. It’s weird how your life is (more or less) confined to your body. All you know is yourself in that room. You know every moment, movement, emotion and position that you are in. When someone walks into the room, you perceive his moment, movement, emotion and position from your perspective. But the minute the person walks out of your sight, you don’t know anything about him. When a few minutes pass and he is still out of your sight and cannot be tracked by your ears either, it feels as though you’ve missed a part of his life. While you experience your life continuously, all you see is fractions of others’ lives. The only time you experience lives together is when you are a conjoint twin or when you are pregnant. All other times you are alone. It’s an odd feeling. It doesn’t make you feel lonely; it’s just awareness of your aloneness.

Alone, aware of it and sometimes unable to handle it, I can feel the universe point at me and grin– “You can’t do anything about it!” But I snap back –“I can pray. I am a part of you. You have to converge to separate me from ‘aloneness’.” The universe sighs, “So, you are telling me that life is complex, absurd and haphazard and all you can do is pray? Is that your solution?” Taken aback, I respond, “They say I need to blend into you.” The universe laughs, “You’ll blend into me when you die, whether you like it or not. While you are alive, just keep yourself occupied.”

Now I am alone, aware of it and speechless. It reminds me how depending on the universe only makes me weaker. So, I just grab the hand of every living being and experience life with them, although intermittently. I experience each one’s illusion with them and live each fool’s paradise.

Because you are worth it! Aren’t you?

In Dissecting Life, Minds and Mindsets on February 10, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Scenario #1:  You are thrown into a group of unknown faces and asked to talk about yourself.

Limitations: None.

Challenge: Prove your worth.

Let’s see. You shake hands or drop in a “hi” or exchange smiles (warm or fake) depending on your style. You ask a series of questions about their work, their qualifications, their lifestyle and their interests. You take the opportunity to disclose your achievements, mention your university (especially if prestigious), highlight your qualifications, your hobbies, maybe talk about the family and their achievements and so on. From the information gathered you more or less figure out the pay cheque received by your opponent and you give them an idea about what you receive. Then, you switch to general topics, maybe current issues, and drop in a few jargons or argue over facts and figures (the “who knows more” discussions).  By the end of the session you impress a few while some manage to impress you. You know where you stand based on the image you’ve created in the room.

Scenario #2: You are thrown into a group of unknown faces and asked to talk about yourself.

Limitations: Do not disclose your age, your qualifications, your job description, your investments and your achievements. Do not use any jargons because that may give the opponent hints. Similarly, do not talk about interests that give hints about your lifestyle.

Challenge: Prove your worth.

Let’s see. Who are you?

I don’t talk much. I plan to change that.

In Random on February 3, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I have always been the quiet one in class, in my group, at work, everywhere. I still am unless I am drunk or caught in a debate. I am the skinny creature who has to sit with the largest creature on the school bench, in the car, on the bike because nobody else fits. You will often find my miniature bum next to the heaviest bum in the room. So, if you think I am socially inept, it’s because there is no “room” for socializing.  

Coming back to the quiet bit, I’ve been working on my conversation skills off late. No. Actually, I’ve been working on my disinterest in conversations. You see, some of us love to talk endlessly about anything and everything random, abstract or meaningless “stuff”. But some of us don’t see the point in discussing that piece of information, thought, opinion or “stuff”. I belong to the latter category.

I’ve thankfully been flanked by very talkative personalities who, by virtue of their talkativeness, don’t expect sound emissions from my mouth. That allows me to be the spectator or the mysterious “wise one”.  I don’t mind that. At times, they can be very inquisitive but they are skilled at satisfying their own inquisitiveness. So they ask questions about themselves and answer it themselves or ask questions about you and switch topics before you can respond. And no, they are not rhetorical questions. The talkative folks are the “self entertainers” that I can only dream of being.

We silent folks, on the other hand, may seem socially incompetent but that’s not because we are incapable of talking. We don’t see why conversations with predictable outcomes need our intervention. Neither do we understand why people with short term memory ask questions when they are disinterested in the answer. We don’t know why we must narrate a 30 minute long chapter based on a two minute squabble we had with our partners. When asked what we like about a movie, we like being specific. We don’t like to recount and enact the entire story. We can’t fathom how a facebook status and the subsequent comments can be expressed as a significant event and explained in minute detail. We don’t twitter to be followed. We don’t get how your encounter with the hot neighbor gains entry into our conversation for the seventh time in a week. The basic difference is we don’t ask you what’s up because we don’t want to know what’s up and you don’t want to know what’s up with us either yet you ask, “What’s up?”

Anyway, I’ve decided to alter this domain of my life. I guess it’s good to be expressive and broadcast your opinion. It will only tell me how many of us are on the same page. If a social networking status can be made amusing then why not? If an argument can be replayed, if a movie can be re-dramatized, if a hot neighbor can be revisited, then why not do it? Not all conversations will be productive and why should they? I’ve come to the conclusion that a large part of our lives is made up of “kill time” conversations. Our silence through these doesn’t count as “productive”.