Saturday, November 21, 2020

What is Peace?
A melancholic “minor key piano” music playing in the television, in distant hall room, right across the wall.

Sitting in the swing in the veranda.
That slow lazy motion of the swing.
The mild fluttering of the breeze, touching the skin and passing by.
The bustling of the leaves, the neem tree in front of me, the coconut trees and the rest of it.
The leaves, the walls washed in the yellow street light.
The rickety noise of the broken swing.
No human sound at the dead of the night, 2 am of April 20.
That eminence of the swing and my leg hitting the adjacent walls.
The nudge of pain on the knees.
That minor irritation of mosquitoes.
The realization that all of this is accepted as is.
All the pains to be endured, all the joys to relished, as is.

The realization that this is all that I want from life.
To sit in a swing, the melancholy, the breeze.

This was peace.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Value of Money

We value money just because it is perceived to have value by everybody else. 

Money in itself has no intrinsic value, it is just a piece of paper or a number in your digital bank balance. The very allure of having more and more of this commodity without the need of utilizing it for anything is rather strange. People want to have billions and billions of dollars in their bank but have no need or intention to spend them in any way. It is like the tulip mania of the 17th century. People wanted to get more tulips because the value of tulips was perceived as going up, not that they had any need of tulips or they were trading tulips for their needs/luxuries.

What if money comes with an expiry date?

If money had an expiry date, say the death of the person who earned it or 100 years, people will be forced to spend it instead of stock it. The fundamental property of money/wealth that it can be stored will be destroyed. It can have earth-shattering ramifications on the way we humans exists.

1. No stocking of money: Money will stop being stocked in the bank accounts. There would be a pressing need to spend it within its lifespan.
2. Fulfilling lives: People will be enjoying more fulfilling lives as the very need to store money would be gone and people would be spending generously.
3. More Charity: People would tend to donate any unspent and going to expire money and/or would be more included towards charity.
4. Less Tax Evasion / Black Economy: Tax is evaded for the sole purpose of stocking more money. With no more need of that extra money, the population would tend to be more honest and find it less useful to evade tax.
5. Having a rich dad or mom would mean much less now.

What if the same concept of expiry is applied to other forms of wealth (real estate, precious metals, etc.)? Say all the properties owned by you will be returned to the society once you are dead.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Flames of the Forest

Image Credit - Robert Huffstutter

We see condolences. We see prayers for peace. Does it matter? All of these meaningless words, to those who are no longer with us.

We all die, either doing something we love, being where we belong or on the hospital bed, with normal saline hooked up. Sometimes people wish you were not gone, sometimes people wish you to leave. Either way, death is painful.

I wonder if anybody would have ever thought how painful it would be to burn with the grasses around you, with the insects, with other animals and birds. The smell of fire and burning wood and flesh, the intense sensation of burning skin, the deep desire to save the strangers you met a day before just because they had put their trust in you, the want to keep the black smoke and soot out of your eyes, mouth, and lungs, the desperation to gasp some oxygen. I cannot imagine whether the end was momentary or whether it was a prolonged agony, can you?

I had not had an opportunity to trek with Arun, Vibin, Divya, Nisha, or others who met with the accident in Theni forest fire. Nonetheless, I can say with strong conviction that they all would have shared a dream to be one with nature at the end of their lives. If you look back at your own life, I am sure you too would have dreamed and felt the same intense pleasure of turning into ash, soil, and blooming into the translucent leaves of a tree in a place where you belong. I am sure you would have weighed it many times more than lying dead on a soiled white hospital sheet; in a cold morgue, frozen.

This feeling is hard to define; however, I know many reading this paragraph would have experienced it at some point in their lives. This feeling of being smolten with the rocks, being dissolved with the water, being blown away with the wind. This dream of being assimilated with the universe, where you came from, with "god" if you wish to say so.

All those lives that breathed the last breath in the flames of the forest would have had plans for years to come, with family and friends, plans of beautiful moments to cherish, plans of comforts in the cities, plans of peace in the forest. Alas, not all the plans could be realized, but their dream had come true though with immense pain.

Though it was a condolence for those whom they left behind, their family, their kin, ones close to their heart, perhaps it was a celebration for them to have their dream come true. Perhaps they smiled at that last moment of their lives, that last split second of inner peace.

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