Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I am mine

If I had to name the people who have had a major influence on the way I think and who have helped to shape me into the person I am now, it would be Prati, Akka, Ram, Rash n Sume. But sometimes, some conversations I have had with others, some words uttered, have a way of coming back and making me think. This is one such conversation

I had heard of Priyadarshan Sahasrabuddhe [more popularly PD], heard him sing in Surbahar etc, but got to know him personally after the inter-hostel classical music competition in Jan this year. Soon after that, I bumped into him one day morn, in the SAC grounds. Somehow we got talking and talked for nearly an hour. He told me about the time he spent with tribal people in Maharashtra, as a part of the SEARCH program organized by Abhay and Rani Bang. This couple, both doctors, did their PG from Johns Hopkins. They began this movement called SEARCH in India, where they encouraged people to contribute towards the benefit of the society in general. They advocate that contributions to the society need not be monetary alone, or to bring about welfare of the under privileged, one need not give up one’s career and go and join an NGO. By doing what ever we are doing, be it science, business, medicine or industry, we still can use our skills for the betterment of the masses. And how to do so, is what they tell in their program. As a part of the seven day program that PD attended, one day was spent in contemplation. They were asked to ponder over questions like “Who am I?” and “Whose am I?” The latter question seemed poignant to me at that time, but I did not feel its full impact back then. Surprisingly, after that day, I never got to talk to PD at that length again. It might be over-inference, but, somehow I am inclined to believe that that particular conversation had some significance, some purpose, and was meant to have an effect in my life. Which is why it happened in a totally unexpected fashion, from a totally unexpected source!!

Anyway, coming back to the point, during the weekend, the question “Whose am I?” returned to me. Whose am I? Do I belong to my parents? Am I here to satisfy their desires? To fulfill my duties as a daughter to the T and give them all possible happiness? Am I indebted to my nation? Is it my duty to serve the people in my nation alone, to utilize all my skills to the maximum possible extent for the betterment of “My” people? Or, looking at the bigger picture, am I a part of the world? The world, where the division into countries is man-made, and where people are just the same all over? Is it wrong on my part to work for Science as a passion, irrespective of the place I was living? Felt my thoughts straying to the Pearl Jam song … “I only own my mind, I am mine..” Yes, I belonged to myself. I was here to live my life the way I wanted to. To fulfill my wishes and my desires primarily. I did not have the power to give anybody else happiness, because Happiness is just a state of mind, and unless someone opens themselves to Joy, no amount of effort on others’ behalf can make them happy. But I could make myself happy, by doing what gave me maximum satisfaction. As much as I had a responsibility to my family, I had a responsibility to myself as well. To try and realize my dreams and not let them get squashed, subdued and forgotten, only to go deep in my heart and stay there as bitterness. It was my duty to myself to try and make my dreams come true. If circumstances willed otherwise, atleast I would have the satisfaction of having tried. I might err, I may make rash decisions or judgments at times, but the mistakes would be mine, and I would have the satisfaction of trying to do what I wanted to do. Yes, I was mine. I belonged to me.


Vaib's said...

shall i Say another "Singer".....:P

u must send this to PD too..!!
or shud i send this to him ;)

suma said...

AMAZING. I am proud of you my sis!!!
You must make a tee with those words and flaunt it in front of all "altruistic" 'diggajas' :)

Ayn Rand Rocks!!!

Bastet said...

Faart! :P The whole point is not abt PD, but abt the question he posed! :p Well, if you are bent on paining me, I cant stop ya! :P

@ Sume
Merci beaucoup, ma che`re! :) Lets get tees printed for us with the words "I am mine" in bold fonts [size 72 :D] what say?

Ram said...

Interesting question ... and I guess that's the best possible answer.

Bastet said...


Thanks, re. Me thinks so too [as is obvious frm the post :D]. Still, you know, as a contrast, Art of Living advocates that one should feel that one belongs to all. It is the feeling of belonging that leads to universal love and world peace. Quite an interesting view, worth pondering about, I guess :)

Diana said...

this is so true, and this is the one thing that can keep you striving for your goals no matter what the world says!!! have u heard this song by bon jovi called "Have a nice day" it expresses the same thing too, a damn good song to listen to when u feel depressed...

Pratyush said...

Hey thanks for making the layout more readable!
This will be a long comment, because lot of things you have talked about are things I just like to think and rumble about. Get yourself some popcorn. :D And yeah just overlook the egoTistic touch to the comment.

When you talk of your happiness and your desires as against your duties to say your parents, the country or the world, I think maybe you are not defining yourself clearly. If you liked to say garden would the care you take towards the plants come under your happiness or the plants' happiness. I feel that I should always try and work towards MY INDIVIDUAL happiness, but before doing that I should understand myself in a truly Jane Eyrish way. I strive to see a homogeneity in the various purposes I have at any time, and not discrete conflicting desires. From what I understand of the Geeta, a state of internal ambience must first be reached, something like mauna where you understand yourself objectively. So it is very important for me to understand who I am inclusive of things around me and not with a cubicle view of the world around me.

Also regarding your statement. You do not have the power to You did not have the power to give others happiness. I with all my vigour contest that. The ability to give and earn happiness through others is such a big reason to be alive and be human. No matter however closed a person is, it is only human sensitivity that can open him up. I feel really disappointed that you feel the way you do, especially in the context of what you should do and who you are. A very big part of being human is to have the ability to make others happy. Irrespective of what state they are in, they are humans and thus do not lose the ability to be touched.

Bastet said...

Yup, babe, just luv that song!

@ Pratyush
We humans spend most of our life seeking our happiness in others or external / materialistic stuff. We blame others when we are sad. But, we find bliss only when we realise that no one can give us joy or make us sad until we give them the power to do so. Similarly, if I can find happiness and peace within myself, if I decide to be happy, no matter what, no one can make me sad. Similarly, if I decide to be miserable, no one or nothing can cheer me up. I have experienced this, and, may be you might have as well. So, I still stand by my statement. I can give comforts to my parents, but I cant give them happiness. Happiness is what each of us has to find, and, if you see keenly, it is within us. Similarly, I can give company , but, still, even in a crowd a person can be lonely, or he might be just alone, yet never feel bored or feel the urge for another's physical presence with them. Happiness, sorrow, misery, ecstasy, thrill, boredom - are all states of mind. Yu might go to Essel world, yet find it humdrum You might just sit by the side of Powai lake watching the sunset, yet feel that it is one of the most thrilling moments of your life. It is all in the mind, everything is about having the right perspective.