The potion of eternal bliss

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Happy he said.

He searched for it in the stars of the night sky. In the chirruping of birds. On the mountain tops. In the cold waterfalls.

He wandered. He travelled. He met new people. He learned new cultures. He tasted new wines. He tried new dishes. He made friends. He fell in love. He got married.

Was he happy? Yes.
Did he know he was happy? No.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Happy he said.

What do you mean by happiness?

It means never being sad.


So he continued on his quest. This time his wife joined. Soon they had a dog. In no time their daughter. They went to places they had never been before. To frozen lakes. To sandy beaches. To abandoned churches. To dark caves.

Life happened.

The magic potion of happiness still eluded him.

In one of his travels to a monastery in the snow clad mountains, he came to know of the magic potion. The potion of eternal bliss. He followed the map onto a perilous journey. He found the potion. He opened the bottle. He gulped down the fluid. Or so one would have imagined.

But he did not. He realized he was wrong all the time. It was not happiness that he wanted, or rather the definition of it which he had in his mind. It was life he wanted. The one that he cherished. With its ups and downs. Its boring chores and passionate kisses. Its unbreathable laughter and unstoppable tears.

He finally found happiness.


The Good, The Bad and The Grey

Long long ago, during the earliest days of mankind, there were two important rival clans: The good and the bad. Each having their leaders and each having their followers. They would fight over each deed, to brand it as good or to brand it as bad. This went on for a while till both the clans were tired of the bloodshed. Both of them wished for a middle way. Both wished for something called “grey”.

But such an arrangement could only be possible if one of the clan leader were to initiate it and hence risk appearing weak. And losing respect of their followers is on no leader’s agenda. So then again both of them wished for a middle way to bring forth the middle way.

Now was it pure chance, or a well thought plan; none could comprehend, but once while fighting over a deed, a small child, the age of 7 proposed a solution to both the leaders. And in those ages, children were treated as sons of gods; the truth teller; the innocent, uncorrupted souls and were treated with respect. So the child was lent the ear he required. And the solution was precisely what the leaders wished for: THE GREY AREA. If a deed could not be easily won over by either side, it would be kept in the no-man’s land, the neutral zone, the grey area.

And as the time progressed, more and more deeds kept falling into the grey area. Even the ones which once had a stronghold in either of the clans.

Since then the good and the bad lived happily ever after, while the humans were struggling to define the term morality!

The village with beautiful eyes

The village in a place far far away had a peculiar culture. Whether it was because people were too ashamed to show their real faces, or whether it was a noble step to discourage all prejudices; each one of the villagers wore a mask. The mask was created by a mask-maker whose shop was near the village common well.

There were masks for happiness, with a smile on the lips. There were masks for sadness, with a frown on the face. And then there were masks for laughter, with white shining teeth. So the streets were witness to just three kinds of emotions, which was pretty unfair.

And so it happened that once the mask-maker fell in love when his eyes struck gold seeing a beautiful girl who had briefly unmasked to buy a new one. Not surprisingly the whole village got painted with this spirit of love. Where ever you go you would see people with a glow in their eyes. Their smile got more genuine, their frown got more heart touching, and their laughter would remind that there was still hope for humanity. The whole village got  beautiful.

But the fate had to intervene and soon the girl got married. The mask-maker was heart broken. It was imperative for him to swallow his grief and continue making the masks, for the whole village chores depended on him. And soon the village got painted with a totally different kind of expression, the emotion of pain. The pain which needed compassion rather than pity, as it was accompanied with dignity and self-respect. The people would smile and laugh but their eyes would betray. The sadness got more genuine.

But there was some beauty in this breakdown. The tear filled eyes would sparkle in the sunlight. The streets seemed grave, serene.  Silence is a virtue too underrated as it is invariably associated with being dumb. But it was the silence and the beautiful clear eyes which exalted the village to divinity.

Your voice may lie, your lips may agree; but its those two beautiful eyes of yours you need to watch out, for they have a habit of telling the truth!

Our Little Worlds

Somewhere in the south eastern china, there was a small town named huangshatang, hunshatang, huangshatan, oh whatever. Lets give it an Indian name, Machlipatnam. In this town machlipatnam, there was a lake where people used to go fishing. The fishing was not for earning livelihood, so it didnt involve fishing nets and motor boats; rather it was more for leisure involving fishing rod with worms hooked on the end.

Now lets get inside the lake and analyse the community there. The lake was home to a wide variety of fish, the most abundant being the tuna fish. Also they were considered to be delicious when cooked in mustard oil along with certain types of herbs. And so naturally they were the ones who were caught the most by the hobbyist fishermen. Even if any other kind of fish was caught by mistake, they were just thrown back into the lake, for you see when fishing as a hobby one prefers to take home only the best fish available. In that school of tuna fish, there was a particular fish, somewhat different from others; in other words, it was more intelligent than the others. Its name was Xin Xiang. Lets give it an Indian name too, Chapalata.

Chapalata was intelligent enough to not get caught in the trap set by the fishermen. Instead she had her own contraption, by which she would capture the worms hooked and relish the delicacy without getting caught. And so while everyone around her were getting caught by the fishermen, she would each day enjoy a delicious meal of worms for breakfast, lunch and dinner without fail. But being intelligent, she had this feeling of prudish selfishness, which used to keep her away from other people. There is a rather broad line between being reserved and being a loner, and she was way off the line on the other side.

Anyways, once there was a oil spill at a certain portion of the lake, and thanks to the abundant plantation in the portion of the lake where the spill occured, the catastrophe was largly contained. A sizeable amount of the fishes were dead but not so large as to endanger the specie. And as a safety measure, every fish was forbidden to go near that place. But our chapalata, being oblivious to the knowledge of the catastrophe, and being too prudish to heed any warnings by lesser intelligent beings, went straight into the mouth of death and then was never heard of.

So the moral of the story is: If you are dumb, you will fail sooner, if you are intelligent but proud, your failure will be postponed a little bit but you will fail nonetheless.

Anyways that was not what I wanted to write in this post. And the moral doesnt make sense anyway :P.  What I wanted to highlight was that for the simple fact like the moral in the above two lines, each one of us can spin a whole story around it. And it seems astounding that we are infact creating our own world, which has infinite limit in as little space as just a portion of our brain.

Each one of us has his/her own little world, the most relevant objects being the things which we say are a part of our lives. In our world we have a projection of almost everything and everyone we see around. And we keep on adjusting these projections, a bit to left, a bit to right, a bit deeper, a bit shallower depending about the new things we learn about them. Most of these projections are formed at first sight and do not change too often, but for some projections we adjust them with such assiduity that they almost resemble the real objects. These are the ones who matter the most in our lives, whether due to our love for them or due to our hatred.

The 7 Legged Spider

One of the problems of having 8 eyes is that we are not sure as to how to wink. With 4 eyes on each side of the face there are 15 possible ways. Each clan has its own signature winking style(In this globalised world, clans are analogous to what you call as cultures, I am not using the world culture as the number of different practises we have can be counted on fingertips). In our clan, we wink by closing the top, the second and the bottom one.

The art of eye-contact also varies with clans, and is more strictly followed. As we are essentially clothless, looking anywhere but the eyes might lead to troubles, you know what I mean. 😀 The problem of eye contact is more complicated than that of winking. You people have only 1 set of eyes and so you dont appreciate the sophistications involved. Imagine you are being photographed by a number of cameras simultaneously. Now when you look at the pictures, you will notice that in one and only one picture, your eyes are looking at the camera, in all others you will be looking somewhere else. That is the problem that we have to face, if the spider you are talking to and you do not look at each other simultaneously, you both are at a loss.

Now let me tell you how eye contact works out in our specie. There are three phases in the process 1) Initialisation, 2) Synchronisation and 3) Execution. Whenever two spiders or a group of spider meet, one of them, usually the host announces that he is about to initialise. You see with 4 set of eyes, we have a nibble. The top pair is the MSB of the nibble and the bottom one is the LSB. Opening an eye is 0(default state) and closing is 1(excited state). So in the initialisation phase, the host signals a 16 bit code by opening and closing some pairs of eyes to signal a code, and signalling 4 such codes at the intervals of 2 seconds. So this 16 bit code indicates which type of eye contact mechanism is to be used. Now that every spider knows which mechanism is to be used, the host conveys an 8-bit synchronisation code(01100000), every spider tries to synchronise to the host’s eyes using this synchronisatin code. And once all of them are synchronised host conveys a 4-bit all one code(1111) and then starts the execution phase in which the eye-contact mechanism decided in the initialisation phase is put into actual execution. Now one might wonder why such a complicated mechanism? The reason is that in the dark ages, when different clans were isolated, each of them generated their own mechanism, but as the world got smaller, and as no one was willing to drop their identity and adopt others’, such a mechanism had to be created.

However, we have one benefit over your specie. A handicapped spider like me is not stigmatised as in your case. Now you might think what difference a lost leg would make, when 7 others are working fine. This is where you underestimate the world around you.

Let me give you an idea of the intricate art involved in weaving the spider net. Its similar to a painter painting on a canvas sheet. We both have to select a canvas(a suitable place to weave the net), we both have to have brushes(legs in our case, imagine the trouble a painter encounters when he has to paint with one of his brush missing), and for both of us the first stroke matters the most. Both our livelihoods depends on how perfect the painting is made, in my case its an even direct relation. And both of us have to keep aside the thoughts of livelihoods when creating our arts to generate our best masterpieces.

Everything is an art, even the engineering which you are so proud of.