Pursuit of the Indeterminate

I’m pretty sure you remember your excitement when you realised that you shall attend the school that day only for a few hours. Of course if you were not a nerd, that is. And that too, sooner than everyday and you won’t be forced to study. You won’t have to submit homework till the next day. You would just have to stand in a line—more straight than everyday—with your friends, singing the National Anthem, as a powerful patriotic surge rush through your body. You stood stiff with a salute, your eyes on the hoisted National flag. The feeling remained unchanged for many years. How about now? After college and settling at a day-job? That surging emotion you felt was a solemn ideal that you still hold it in your heart somewhere. A sense of respect to the great men who refused to live as second-class citizens. But there is no excitement or anticipation anymore. Is there? What changed?

I vividly remember wanting to watch a particular movie that I really loved as a child— for the second time in the same month. It was a psychological thriller that introduced the concept of split-personality disorder. And after the demand being denied by the elders, I remember pledging that I shall build my own theatre someday, and watch that movie every single day. And that gave me a powerful drive to do even the mundane chores like brushing the teeth, effectively for many days after. Of course all that was before the word internet was yet to become one of the most used words of the day. Now the movie is available on youtube. With an unlimited internet pack, and google detecting the movie I wanted to watch, even before I type it out completely, I don’t want to watch it. I just am not interested. I’m not excited about it, like I’m not excited about a lot of things.

But thanks to the mother nature, and my own mother who never nagged me too much about any conventions, I still am excited about a bunch of things, though not as many as in the childhood. I remember I was excited just about everything beyond the reach of my understanding. Trying to fathom various colours, playing with toys, seeing the bright tiny moving dots when I look at bright objects or the sky,—which I now know is a pretty normal phenomenon. I remember thinking I was like Neo in the Matrix—running in the school ground wondering at the quickness of beating heart in my chest, even pissing over the sleeping mat like a rising fountain, sparkling in the bed-bulb lit night, when everyone’s asleep. The mat was easy to clean, so my mother didn’t bother when I did it— once, accidentally, and a few other times on purpose. For the record, I don’t do that anymore. And certainly not because I don’t have that mat now.

Somewhere along the way, we all got disciplined, the quality of anticipation was lost. We know too much. And we get everything too quickly, that we are not excited about many things anymore. Growing up does that? Or is there something else to it? Didn’t we quietly decide to limit ourselves to ask only the things that are easy to get and decided to dream a bit lesser? Perhaps afraid to fathom achievements that are apparently far beyond our reach?

People tend to not value what they have and they do not realise how good the things in their hands are, until they’ve lost them. That’s a pretty view of life, but we must be grateful to our forefathers for thinking otherwise and fighting for independence, staking their lives, and refusing to accept the status quo. That is what we respect in them.

Yes, we must appreciate what we have. But there’s something more alarming with our lives. The things we ask from life have become so predictable, that most of us have stopped asking different, and perhaps better things in life. We often hear people complaining that mankind in general has become so selfish and that people are always wanting what they can’t have at the moment. But that is what drives people to get more in life. And it’s in our nature to stay dissatisfied and want more. That is not the cause of misery.

Truth is, the kind of things we ask from life today have become so determined, that the pursuit isn’t exciting anymore, and men have turned themselves to programmed machines, perpetually worrying, always wanting what everyone wants them to want and tiptoeing into their graves.

The answer isn’t to stop wanting things or staying content or discontent with things we already have in our lives. It is to imagine a bit different and bigger, keeping eyes open. Frightening ourselves a bit with our dreams till we bring in the factor of excitement in pursuit back into our lives. Excited souls are blessed, for they constantly look out for richness in life by anticipating events different and better than they already live in. They would be proud for keeping their fire alive and appreciate the fighting spirit of our forefathers, better.

– Avinash Kumar