“Our neighbor’s son secured an A and you’ve got just a D.
Look how well she dresses. Learn from her. (with a jab on the shoulder)
Your uncle’s daughter has topped her semester exams but you’re still lagging with 4 arrears.
He’s making 7 Lakhs per annum but you’re making a mere 4.5. When will your salary increase?
Fine arts is not going to help you in your life, get into an IT firm like your friend.”
We are accustomed to these type of comparisons in our life. If you are from a middle-class Indian family, the peer pressure from your family members and relatives will make you go nuts. When our parents sign our report cards, when our board exam results crash the servers (and ourselves), when we get into college, when we get a job offer after going through serious pains, we get subjected to silly comparisons in all the phases of our life. The worst part is when you get compared to a total stranger and the elders acknowledge his/her “words of wisdom.”
There is an insidious quirk to your brain that, if you let it, can drive you insane. Tell me if this sounds familiar to you:
You get anxious about confronting somebody in your life. That anxiety cripples you and you start wondering why you’re so anxious. Now you’re becoming anxious about being anxious. Oh no! Doubly anxious! Now you’re anxious about your anxiety, which is causing more anxiety.
Nights are scary for few.
Nights are romantic and intimate for few.
Nights are fun for few.
Nights are depressing for many.
Think of something in your life that you’ve wanted to accomplish but haven’t. Something deep down. Whether it’s because you haven’t gotten around to it, are too timid to go for it, or you took a shot and failed deliberately. Conjure up in your mind that big failure of your life. Perhaps you’re in the middle of it now.
A few months back when I was desperate to read a book, one of my good friends suggested me to read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. I downloaded the file to my Kindle and started to read…
“The boy’s name was Santiago. Dusk was falling as the boy arrived with his herd
at an abandoned church. The roof had fallen in long ago, and an enormous
sycamore had grown on the spot where the sacristy had once stood.”
This was the first paragraph of part 1. As I turned the pages one after the other, it felt like I was skidding and falling off into a whole new world. Right from thoughts to the actions, this book had its massive impact on me. To put in simple words, this is a story of a young boy who follows his dream, who fails (over and over), who gets mugged, who gets beaten, who gets threatened, who falls in love but leaves the girl behind. No, The Alchemist is not a thriller or an action or a romance novel. It talks only about dreams, love and… universe….
Human beings, like every other living organism, has a relationship with its surrounding environment. This relationship began the moment our species evolved and has been a dynamic relationship ever since. We have interacted with the environment in several ways spread over centuries, and it is important to understand this relationship before we understand the situation today (isn’t that why we study history anyway?).
Human beings are extraordinary creatures. I say this because, in the 4.5 billion-year-old history of the Earth, no other living organism has come close to what we have been able to achieve as a species. Now, I’m not talking about going into space or creating artificial intelligence; although these are as staggering an achievement as any. As a species, we have done some pretty amazing things at the ecological level as well.