Empty thoughts and mutterings

Monday, April 25, 2005

A conversation with my conscience..

Why do we act like we deserved everything we have and some things we don't have ? Why is that we are never satisfied with what we have and always want more ? Why is that when our problems get solved, we always find new problems to entertain ourselves with ? Going to my time in chennai, waiting for the "call for my visa". At first, I thought it was a matter of days, before the call would be made. I was waiting every day for that all important e-mail. It didn't come. Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. The hardest part about this was that it was difficult to meet people without them asking you the question. Although I realized that it was difficult for a conversation to happen without that question popping up, slowly, I grew tired of answering that question. Only because the answer was the same everytime and I had no control over how long it would take. I felt handicapped, in that, I could not do what I loved most..meeting people. I did not want to walk in the street before dark, because I was afraid that somebody would see me, come up to me and say "why are you still here ? ". Although a lot of the people I am sure only wished me well, it was hard for me to talk to them as freely as I used to. I tried to project an image like I was enjoying the time with my relatives, when in fact, I was struggling deep down and they sensed it.

I sat down and thought if I would have done anything different given another chance at the visa office ? Contrary to sayee's depictions on stage, I didn't give super smart answers when asked about my project. I just told him what I knew. Somehow the visa officer felt it was necessary to give it another check, owing to all the added security from 9/11. The answer came out loud and clear..No. I wouldn;t have done anything different. Does this mean that I deserved it the first time I got my visa? Again the answer was clear..No. I didn't. So what is it that we have/had that we did deserve ?

During that period, my Manni would ask me to visit different temples in madras to help me get through this and she'd say "Poi vendikko, kandippa visa kedaikkum". Among the list of the temples, was a "Visa Aanjaneyar" temple. Funny how, even the temples get categorized "utility" wise. In time, we might even see temples like "Viral suththi" Pillayaar temples and "Dote 1" Agasthyar temples. And I did what people asked me to do. Go to temples. But when I had to pray and ask god to make the "visa e-mail" happen, something stopped me. That question always bothered me.When I looked at all those little boys, waiting in line to get the kovil prasaadam to fill their stomach with, I realized that I could have turned out like one of them. So easily ! What did I do differently to deserve all the comforts that have been showered on me ? What did I do to deserve good parents ? What did I do to deserve good education ? Good health and no physical handicap ? I didnt do a thing ! And when I was here to ask him for the Visa, did I thank him for the engineering degree I got ? For the college admission ? For doing well in the 12 th std ? Oh no, those were long forgotten ! And is there any promise I might change this behavior and act "content"? No ! How opportunistic ! So, I did not infact ask for the visa (but ofcourse heart of hearts I was craving for it which is tantamount to asking for it I guess). But God being God, gave it to me anyway. When we face adversities, there are lessons to be learnt. Did I learn my lesson ? We'll know soon enough..

"Naayagan melirundhu noolinai aatugindraan
Naamellam bommai endru naadagam kaattugindraan"

42 Comments:

  • dei, inniki ellarum en da thirudan mode le irukkel? You seem to have found the keys to my mind's lock
    :-)). This is one of the topics about which I have a draft written and saved - contentment. You've done a great job of it, da. Ellarum onne madiri think panninaa, the world would be a better place.

    By Blogger subramoni, at 3:45 PM  

  • mams,

    continuing your line of thought after the chat, I just wanted to put in a couple of additional lines...

    "kaaviyam pol oru vaazhkaiyai theetuvaan,
    kaaranam edhum indri kaatchiyai maatruvaan.."

    cheers !
    ak

    By Blogger Zeppelin, at 4:10 PM  

  • i think everyone matures with age. when u r a kid, u tend to want a lot of things by the act of god, but as u grow older and wiser, u know how much u have and the person next doesnt have.

    "In time, we might even see temples like "Viral suththi" Pillayaar temples and "Dote 1" Agasthyar temples"
    - dei vaa da dei Prathikkkk...

    By Blogger Prabhu, at 4:14 PM  

  • Dinesh, I suspect this was something you wanted to get out of your system for a long time...glad that things worked out for you and you are back where you want to be. About your post, it was thought provoking, touching and sincerely written...like a flow of ideas that hardly noticed the transition from your head to what I read here.

    By Blogger RS, at 4:56 PM  

  • Idhu onnum prathik illa..
    Dinesh, nalla sonneenga.. kalakittenga..

    i have felt the same like U -pretty guilty and odd feelings to ask something to God during tough times.so, ethu nalladho athaye kodu nnu pray pannika thonum though we may desparately want some thing specific...

    By Blogger Priya, at 8:41 PM  

  • Hey Dinesh,

    I always believe in the saying 'whatever happens is for our own good'. So, whatever u had to to thru' was for ur own good. God is always there to protect his devotees no matter what. My father always tells me that you don't have to ask God for anything. He already knows what his sincere devotee wants. But, we should pray God not only when we are suffering but also when we are happy. Whatever u do, eat, drink, etc. just offer it to God (at least in ur mind). That is what is said in the Gita also. Ok enough philosophy, signing off....

    -KP.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:53 PM  

  • Dinesh, truly good post written succintly and with clarity of thought!

    By Blogger Subha, at 4:36 AM  

  • Trailing thoughts: To Arun and Dinesh - thanks for putting the tamil verses here - beautiful!

    And this post is a little bit of deja vu for me

    By Blogger RS, at 5:34 AM  

  • Some saint preached (chinmaya?) God is not a machine that grants you the boons you asked. The inportant thing to know in life is, good or bad is inevitable. One has to be balanced in both outcomes.

    How true?

    By Blogger Muthukumar Puranam, at 5:37 AM  

  • With contentment you have the absolute control over mind and senses.
    After all we are humans...Don't worry lad ! ;)

    ~Vasu

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:02 AM  

  • Just remembered a saying I read long ago that sums up your post:

    "I used to complain that I hadn't any shoes until I saw a man who hadn't any legs"

    By Blogger subramoni, at 8:11 AM  

  • Subbu, Thanks. Didn;t mean to steal your thoughts ! Sorry :)

    Prabhu - I disagree, that was not a pratik - Wrong call :)

    Ramya - Thanks for the compliments !

    Priya - Exactly, same thoughts going through my mind when I talk to God.

    By Blogger dinesh, at 8:51 AM  

  • KP - I concur. I don't know about offering what we eat/drink to god.It's important to know that all that we enjoy one moment, can be taken away from us in 1 instant. That knowledge makes us expect lesser.

    Subha - Thank you ! :)

    PB - Rudyard Kipling had something similar to say. "If you can meet with victory and disaster and treat those impostors just the same"

    Vasu - that's the essence of what's written here. But I am not going as far as controlling senses etc. I am just looking at it from a "human" perspective.

    Subbu- Nice saying !

    By Blogger dinesh, at 8:58 AM  

  • http://www.swarthmore.edu/~apreset1/docs/if.html

    By Blogger dinesh, at 8:58 AM  

  • what was that url for, da? Din't find anything significant there.

    By Blogger subramoni, at 9:32 AM  

  • I read this somewhere, not sure how much it is related to ur post.

    "If your wishes are not extravagant then you will be granted"
    How will you know that ur wish is extravagant??? u will know if you dont get it :)))

    Everything is happening for good.
    I see it in this way, if i dont get something i deserve, there is something else waiting for me that deserves me.

    By Blogger Kay, at 9:49 AM  

  • Dey Kay-na,

    Thathuvathha vaandhi eduthittiyey da..

    Enna aachu nokku ? :))

    ~Vasu

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:49 AM  

  • I have read this poem, IF, in my 8th or 9th standard. Truly inspirational one.

    By Blogger subramoni, at 12:09 PM  

  • good post there..life is a series of events happening to you..if only all our wishes are fulfilled there would be anarchy in the world..so things "happen" according to the divine law..all our lives are connected..no event in the universe is isolated..most people get things without them asking for it..i wonder if Aiswarya Rai asked for a beautiful face..it just happened..and she makes millions just because of that..so if you are proud of your beauty or intellect or whatever, its mostly unjustified..i dunno if what i am writing is making sense..anyway..signing off..
    -Anonymous #13

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:57 PM  

  • U have vividly put down what goes on in the minds of most of us.
    good job dinesh!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:47 PM  

  • God answers all prayers
    To some s/he answers "ok..granted"
    to some s/he answers "No"
    and to all others s/he answers
    "you gotta be kidding me"

    By Blogger Venky, at 5:35 PM  

  • To Venky, God says:
    "I make all the prayers and wishes in the first place!"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:06 PM  

  • Kay,

    Good attitude. Every person has his own approach that works for him/her and yours is good.

    Anonymous #13, well said. But I think it is harder to see the truth when you do posess the talent/beauty. It is but a natural feeling, to think that you earned it or you had it even before God gave it to you.

    Anonymous : Thanks

    Venky: That was funny !

    By Blogger dinesh, at 9:57 PM  

  • People do feel happy when something turns out to be successful but.. slowly but surely the want for more creeps back in. There is always a want for more, there is always a next step that we desire and more often than not we tend to forget how we got thus far. You and I wont be the same if we are able to feel truly contented with what we have for a long period of time. If the above is not true for a person then he/she must either be a sage or an infant.

    My 2 cents
    - Laka

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:39 PM  

  • People do feel happy when something turns out to be successful but it doesnt stop there. Slowly but surely the want for more creeps back in. There is always a next step that we desire and more often than not we tend to forget how we got thus far. You and I wont be the same if we are able to feel contented with what we have for a period of time. If the above is not true for a person then he/she must either be a sage or an infant. Desire is a strange thing. It needs a lot of thinking for one to really understand the true meaning behind his/her desires.

    My 2 cents
    - Laka
    PS : this is what i felt when i read the 3rd para of your post.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:48 PM  

  • Hey Dinesh,
    trying to be the Devil's advocate.
    "Necessity is the mother of all inventions".

    "vEndudhal illayel vignanam illai;
    vignanam illayel iv vAzhvillai."


    So nothing wrong in asking for more. After all you talk to the inner god (jeevathma, self) for betterment in your life and so it makes no sense in thanking yourself for what you are.
    oNNum illa chumma wanted to give a different perspective to your thought.
    enna nAn solradhu

    By Anonymous Sujan Balachandran, at 12:27 PM  

  • Girish as someone mentioned to you.. 'everything happens for good'
    maybe that was a way to learn tolerence and also maybe that was deliberate act by God~ so your parents could have the pleasure of your company and vice-versa!!
    We pray to God for something good. Ask for good thoughts and actions, that way you will speard good things. Never feel sorry or shy to request or confess to God! Be brave and ask for happiness for you and all around you~~ If God knew everything, then no one would religiously perform long prayers and homams ..Every deed has a good intention behind it and it is upto God to grant or not .. God sent you here for you have lot of potential and desire to achieve your goals and also spread your knowledge (good deed!!)..So keep up the good work!!
    I should ask appa and amma to read this.. they would be surprised to see their boy to be so matured..
    All the Best to you and all of you here..

    ~~ sandhya

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:36 AM  

  • Laka,

    What you are saying is true. When I say "to be content", I mean, not to expect all the good things. It's hard to draw a line as you say, to prepare for an exam, study hard, put money into this, and try not to expect to pass it or to treat it like a bonus if it does happen. But what I am saying is that we shouldn't have a lot of expectations ! Easier said than done.

    By Blogger dinesh, at 8:37 AM  

  • Sujan,

    What you say is indeed the corollary of what I am talking about. I look at these as competing arguments. Whichever approach, is more compelling, I want to take that. I should say however, that I don't believe that God answers our prayers, because we prayed for them. I don't imagine, God would reject the idea, if we didn't ask for it. To answer your question, I believe that "Vendudhal illai endraalum, vaazhkai undu"

    Thanks for stopping by !

    By Blogger dinesh, at 8:40 AM  

  • Sandhya Manni,

    Thanks for the informative comment.It truly brings another perspective to what I am talking about. Your comment I think symbolizes the devil's advocate in me. First off, I believe in the "Everything happens for good concept". As for why we should be shy to ask for what we want ? If we decide to blindly say, okay, I am not going to be shy to ask god for what I want, then we are forgetting to think how reasonable our requests are. You might answer that question by saying "God knows what's reaosnable and what's not". But I say there should be human standards. The standards can vary from an individual to individual. But the presence of standards should be mandatory. We should know that we should not be expected to have unreasonable demands for ourselves. Because if we have those demands, and they do not happen, then we are disappointed, we are angry. The root cause for all these ? Our unreasonable demands ! The truth is lost !

    By Blogger dinesh, at 8:49 AM  

  • The quotation "nayagan melirindhu..." suggests as if nayagan has got something to do with our suffferings or pleasures. But that is not the case.

    As far as prayers go, as long as one has desires, he keeps praying either to god or to himself. It is not done out of choice. Only balanced very few do not ask for anything. The famous sloka in vishnu sahasranamam says you will get what you ask for. However when one starts praying to god, he develops a liking for Him, no matter his prayers are answered or not. So better go and ask Him.

    By Blogger Muthukumar Puranam, at 10:26 AM  

  • Good writing. You have the knack of keeping me interested. Continue the good work, buddy.

    Everybody goes through a lot of stressful situations in life. I do not believe in asking God for anything. Of course, when there is a real serious situation, I have gone to God and maybe subconsciously hoped/asked/begged for things to improve. Its just a support structure, an unknown hope. Just a natural human mind that will look for hope/options when all other doors are shut. It helps to have a thought that an unknown God out there might have his ears open for us, when all tangible help is gone. Pure psychology.

    I hope I'm not conveying an agnostic/atheistic behavior here. I want to believe in God. Put me in a separate category.

    I believe that my actions, successes and failures in life are a direct result of my deeds. Honesty and Effort. These two things are high on my list.

    By Blogger Sriram, at 8:17 AM  

  • dinesh..
    eppo next one???

    By Blogger Priya, at 3:22 PM  

  • Priya,

    Idho ! Innum siridhu nerathil !

    By Blogger dinesh, at 8:44 AM  

  • Yes Dinesh, definitely a similar post to mine.
    http://admexi.blogspot.com/2006/05/i-dont-pray-to-god.html

    Good to find a kindred soul.

    Well, Congrats for the Visa....He He He.....I know I am a little late in wishing.....

    By Blogger Admirable Existence, at 7:28 PM  

  • very good one!
    innaiku dhaan indha link open panni padikanumnu thonichu..

    what you say is right. what have we done to deserve all that we have.

    Zilch!

    A mother's love and affection for his kid is beyond imagination. if i canot even imagine, how am i going to ask for it

    So Idhellam God namma ketta kudhthaar?

    Probly we can go to temples and simply affirm "Ennaku oru kurayum illai. ellam nalla dhaan irukku. Summa unnai parka dhaan vanden"

    If we can meet our friends JLT without any agenda, why not God?

    Namma culture God a manusha vadivama parkaradhu dhaaney?

    God a kuzhandaya parkalam(krishnan), mothera parkalam(amman) na yen frienda parka koodadhu?

    Sometimes i feel we r making this whole God-prayer process like meeting a ruling party politican - very powerful, very capable of solving our endless voes.

    neither do we enjoy the temple visits nor r we grateful for what we've got...

    my 2 cents..

    By Blogger Prabu Karthik, at 3:48 AM  

  • The path towards unending learning urges me to this.....One asks: What did I do to deserve this? Yes I certainly believe the things in the past lives and their impact makes you what you deserve today. Every occurrence one undergoes is pre-formulated. And no matter how the life is designed one needs to Thank the Lord every moment and invoke his Grace to reach the only goal that creates the purpose of human life.Right question would be What is the goal? Thats the spiritual take Dinesh, and when one is on that path - one sees nothing expect the soul and the Almighty, the social life that we go through is but to get a feel of THE creation, to learn and gain the single-mindedness- the control of the senses. Pursuing things with a detached approach makes every step ones takes the Divine Will - SO its all about walking the Divine path and being prepared :-) Brahmaarpanam
    PS: I did not understand a bit of the poem quoted :D (An english translation would be appreciated--Kidding)Take care Bro

    Priya R :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:37 AM  

  • Very well written Dinesh..Everything u mentioned is so true...Most of us are never satisfied/content with what we have been given..the craving never stops. We fail to understand that its one life and and one chance given to us ...unfortunately materialistic aspects seem to have more weight than anything else...Every one of us are trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things..which most of us take for granted and fail to cherish ....

    By Anonymous Vamshi, at 11:16 AM  

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