Being Human

Albert Einstein once said ” I have no special talent, but I am passionately curios”.  I am no Einstein, but do feel a need to understand how things work. I was certainly not born this way, but over time I started to understand the importance of knowing how things work.  The pursuit of knowledge marked the beginning of an exciting phase in my life. I began reading a lot, began observing things keenly, began building a repository of movies I liked to watch. In short I started building datasets around me and spent hours improving the quality of data I had. The more data I processed, the more I started to question the status quo. I did not want to be the master, but I wanted to be a student who never stops learning. Surprisingly I did not find many people who believed in the Intellectual pursuit. I either got weird looks or was labelled a rebel for doing things in my way. Ultimately, I found it endearing to read about something new than having conversation with people who did not care.
Knowledge makes things objective, you try to attribute all things to reason, principles or science. While I cannot explain things using differential equations or describe laws of physics in detail, I learnt to attribute things to general theories.  I was awestruck by the fact that while some where pushing the limits of knowledge on biology, physics, robotics, computer technology several others chose to categorize these achievements as “work of mad scientists” and continue to live their lives. Most of them seemed to be interested about a new movie, interested in the private lives of actors and actresses but did not care about groundbreaking achievements in science. The amazement turned to frustration and despair over time as people started to question the value of being intellectual. The despair drove me to new avenues and I spent hours thinking how could someone not care?
A chance encounter with a gentleman set me up on the philosophical high road. Philosophy gave me context or a understanding of why certain folks behaved in a specific way. I expanded my reading to include works from some famous Indian philosophers and also started to observe people. I tried to empathize and see things from a different perspective. I began to understand their school of thought and quickly learnt to categorize these behaviors and move on. Kabir Das and Tagore works taught me the importance of Wisdom over knowledge, power of reason over beliefs and the beauty of poetry. Swami Vivekananda  works highlighted the importance of Hinduism, Vedas and yoga but also taught us the universal acceptance and the need for tolerance. Chanakya sheds light on the importance of social welfare, and shows how collective good can affect society in a positive manner. Their thoughts, words were based on Dharma (definition: rules that maintain the stability and the harmony of the universe) and repeatedly stressed the importance of righteousness and ethics. Their works break the barriers of religion and are deeply spiritual in nature. I realized that science and spirituality are two sides of the same coin, they help us find answers to questions that one side cannot answer.
Recently, a tragedy befell my family. A mother lost her son and her husband in a tragic twist of fate. As I spoke to her I realized that no amount of knowledge or philosophy could comfort a grieving mother and wife.  My helplessness translated to minutes of silence, and sat listening as she poured her heart out.  It was one of the toughest conversation I have ever had. I know that she will find answers over time, will be able to put the memories behind her and fight one. Until then she does not require a priest nor a scientist, All she needs is someone who has a good human side. A shoulder to cry on, a brother to support her.

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