The question

I’ve always wondered why train journeys bring out all the reflective qualities in people. Is there just something in watching the countryside whiz by, that sets the thought process rolling? Or is it the concept of a journey in itself that is unsettling?
It was one of any number of innumerable journeys from Calcutta to KGP, in as much as it wasn’t special in any way, other than that I wasn’t alone. I was listening to some music, trying to get some shut eye, and not be a nuisance to anyone in general, when this gentleman, ( an acquaintance of mine that we will refer to as B ) pointedly pulled out one of my earphones and embarked upon a tirade, the point of which was trying to convince me that being unusual should be the norm.

I didn’t exactly want to be drawn into the debate, mostly because I had been through this with him before. But something about the trains rhythmic motion made me join in.

B talked about the importance of being unconventional in life. Apparently he was unhappy with the fact that everyone else was normal. (!) And he also couldn’t figure out how I could be happy with the life I had. His version – “Your life is on autopilot, you don’t make any decisions”. (Well, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but I certainly didn’t want to be told about it by him)

A discussion followed about pushing your limits, if only to find out where you stand. About not only being in the drivers seat, but using the gears as well. About taking control. About being in the minority. “It’s good if you have enemies, it just goes to prove that you have stood up for something somewhere sometime in your life”

I’m someone who has never questioned how my life has gone so far. Is it a good thing? Have I been losing out on knowing myself just because I haven’t pushed myself hard enough? Again, I’d like to think that there are variations to the ways a person pushes himself. The question is choice. Individuals are “individual” because they have the awesome power of choice, and none of us can claim to know enough about another to judge him completely.

Disturb Yourself – B

Introduce a little anarchy – The Joker

Similarity? 😛

Not one of my best posts, but I’d appreciate comments on B’s concept.

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7 thoughts on “The question

  1. Akshay

    B seems right to an extent. I have seen too much of established “fundae” for everything – for doing this, doing that, organizing this, getting hold of that etc.

    It is sort of like evolution – the best fundae survive and are passed down – we make the same choices, pass the same freaking exam, study in the same darned technology institute, end up joining the same set of companies etc etc.

    B is also correct that to discover yourself you do need to make weird choices – but not forcibly so – life would present you with enough opportunities for that. And frankly, we are not afraid of making enemies – we are much more afraid of being called an idiot by our own peers.

    And the thing we are most afraid of is this: if you are honest enough with your choices, you may find yourself to be a not-so-likeable person – even to yourself. Would you then have the courage to change yourself?

    The Joker did find himself and he was happy enough with what he was. Would you be?

    Reply
  2. B

    I’ll try to keep it short (which basically means its going to be long. I’ll try nevertheless)

    1. Rather than ‘being’ unconventional, its about discovering whether you are. Mishra’s right, it should not be forceful. For you won’t be ‘discovering’ then, only trying to ‘be’ (unconventional). But on the other hand, it should not be constrained either! For then you’re only trying hard to be conventional, not discovering. So don’t push yourself, and don’t pull yourself. Let loose. Break free. Float. Free fall.

    2. If you, as you say, don’t know whether your life is on autopilot, then it definitely is. Making decisions is a conscious thing. You don’t do it in your sleep.

    3. “Disturb yourself”. These are not my exact words you bastard. kuch bhi bolega! Anyway, what you mean by it is probably what I meant by whatever I said. And so this one deserves further clarification. Here goes:

    I love climbing down the stairs. Climbing up is easy and conventional, there are only so many ways (some 3 or 4) you can do it. But climbing down is more freedom, for you can do it in a lot more ways and also its easier. Now why I like climbing down is actually because of what I do with it. And what I do with it is, I Let Loose. I let my body have a near free fall and then try to control the mess! Take huge jumps, skip 5 6 or more steps, land with a thud on a step and so on, and yet be safe at all times. This trying-to-steer-an-out-of-control-system is the fun part for me. And the final landing on the ground, I try to make it as much as I can, a fitting finale. In dark contrast, climbing down one step at a time, is lame as lame can be.
    Now this, is what I meant by disturbing yourself. This is what Joker meant by introducing anarchy. BUT, there is a stark difference. A difference that makes all the difference. That I am introducing anarchy in only my own life, so that it only affects me, and kills only my own boredom. Whereas the Joker is taking with him the whole world for a ride. Which is sick, in my opinion.

    4. The fourth, the last, and probably the most important point of this point-list by me is what will make this whole discussion futile (seemingly so, for I don’t think anything at all, ever, is futile). The over-hyped point, thus, is this:
    Everything, when sampled for a large enough population, becomes a Normal Curve. (I don’t know whether this statement is true, but I’ve never found a conflict). People of the world, too, seem to fit into this. Imagine a bell (normal) curve, where people beyond the 95% (or whatever) mark on the right form the minority, and everyone on their left is the majority.
    Most of the people on this planet (the majority) are average, and conventional. And that should not surprised anyone, for that is the definition of ‘average’ and ‘conventional’. A few of them, though, are not so (the minority). They’re unconventional. Now when the chance comes, it is these unconventional people (whether they know they’re so or not is immaterial) who will not chain themselves for fear of being unconventional.
    It is now possible, and happens all the time, that during the journey of his life, a person shifts from the minority to the majority (which is mostly because he became stagnant and not-interesting and the world caught up to him, thus engulfing him into the majority). Also, a lot of new borns are landing onto the planet. And as they grow, fall into the Normal Curve of Interestingness. The curve may shift to the right (towards more interesting) if the new borns turn out to be more intelligent and interesting, or to the left if otherwise. Now, though the curve has shifted, the precious statement still holds true that those beyond the 95% (or whatever) mark will be called unconventional and those to their left are again, conventional. Thus, at all times, the world has a given percentage (that will not change substantially) of the weirdos, even though the people making up those percentages may shift places.
    And thus, it is wrong and futile to try to make the whole world unconventional, or to be unhappy (as you say I am) with the fact that everyone in the world is normal. I am not doing either of these. I’m only saying, discover yourself. Don’t tie your hands. Don’t have limits. Don’t live under the weight of what they tell you you are. Knowing fully well, that those who’re unconventional, will listen to me and those who are normal, just won’t get it.

    Reply
  3. mythun Post author

    Bish, I bow to thee. That was perhaps the most insightful comment on any post of mine. And now, despite all odds, I might even be starting to agree with you.
    😛

    Reply
  4. PauL

    ” discover yourself. Don’t tie your hands. Don’t have limits. Don’t live under the weight of what they tell you you are. Knowing fully well, that those who’re unconventional, will listen to me and those who are normal, just won’t get it. ”

    this is wat the real catch is.

    Its not abt being unconventional or being conventional,
    firstly it starts with being ture to urself
    then its just about acting as per ur free-will, doing wat u feel n think is right and not wat the word thinks is right.

    now surprisingly(or not-so-surprisingly) , this being true-to-ur-own-self is un-common in todays world, hence all the xyz problems in ur world, with unhappiness or not-so-sure-happiness of the normal people , one of them.

    wat my point is one doesnt think that ok this is the conventional in this world, so i ll do the unconventional to take control on my life.

    one just first goes abt being true and then just following wat he feels is right, rest everything goes down the drain.

    for support of my point,lets assume that slowly this message is passed and this minority which B talked abt grows into a majority as B reasoned when the curve will shift,

    then the goal of the ah-so-profound-human-race wouldnt be again going for the unconventional , but the RIGHT thing (after being true), now that coincides with 95% of the people or the 5%, it just doesnt matter.

    Reply
  5. Vinayak

    I also feel that being unconventional is a lot of fun. But one of the things that make it fun is the fact that such a large number of people think it’s bad.

    Reply

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