Short questions, long answers [Part 3]
Communication is built on unwritten rules. The experts will tell you a lot of things—some of them being legit essential—for example, listening is more useful than speaking—but there are several elements that aren’t addressed up front. Trust. Without which, no amount of communication skills can come handy. You’ve got to build the bridge first before crossing it. In our school, we are taught a lot of things that we never come to apply in our everyday lives. Yet, the compound effect of these learnings is such that we are able to express ourselves better because we not only know more words but also understand what to use where. Learning x and y and z in Algebra went a long way in teaching us that just because the answer isn’t visible there just mean that it isn’t. We just need to figure it out.
That’s the journey of communication.
It’s slow and reductive but when you look back, it’s a world in itself. To give you one more example, you might be interested in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, but chances are you didn’t know where Ukraine was or that Kiev was its capital a month ago. However, thanks to your urge to learn, you are better positioned today on the subject. A month ago, you wouldn’t have caught on the nuances of the current aggression at work but as of now, you do: what separates Ukrainian language and culture from Russian, and vice versa, and much more. To communicate is to know, and to know is to understand, and to understand is to trust something.
Insofar, I am fully aware of my ignorance because understanding isn’t an easy task. Takes a lot of time and effort, many trips down the learning curves, readjusting biases and accepting (newer) versions. Still, when you have the right questions in place, you are a lot closer to the truth. Sounds Socratic (which sounds better than Platonic) for sure. And I have tried sharing the Q&As twice before a few months ago, featuring some very thoughtful questions and sincere answers. So, what you are going to read will be the third (and definitely not the final) installment.
Here we go –
What's the biggest sign of weakness in a person?
Arrogance. The arrogance of owning something, of knowing something, of experiencing something, of believing in something, of even disbelieving in something — the list goes on though.
What relationship cliché do you think is true?
Almost all relationships are transactional in nature. I’ve come to believe this with time. People keep telling each other that they love each other and can’t do without each other but in practice, they love the notion of each other together.
What do you look forward to the most in old age?
Dying in my sleep and not having to deal with memory loss much.
What do you think is your best quality?
The ability to see things for what they are. At least most of the time. I am rarely wrong (I know this sounds arrogant) about people but it’s true. If you ask others, they will tell you that I am a very nice person but that's not always true.
Name your favourite poems.
I love poems in several languages now. Listing out some my dearest poems from each language I am aware of. Kurai Ondrum Illai by Rajaji (Tamil). Need Ka Nirmaan by Bachchan (Hindi). Naham Jaana Mi by Mehta (Pali). Bright Star by Keats (English). Parh Parh Kitaaba Ilm by Bulleh Shah (Punjabi). Ekla Chalo Re by Tagore (Bengali). Dil-e-Nadaan by Ghalib (Urdu). Mauke Da Singaari by Anonymous (Tulu).
Top five personal values.
What do you want most?
A fearless state of mind. After 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. And then waking up to a purposeful day ahead.
If we learn from our mistakes, why are we afraid to make new mistakes?
Mistakes start as an event and then become a state of mind. Let me explain this: when something wrong happens, it’s just an event. But when you let it occupy your head, it becomes a state of mind. From this definition, everything we do (good or bad or worse) is just an event because shit happens all the time. You didn’t want to stub your toe on the furniture. You didn’t wish to burn your forearm while cooking. You don’t like to do any of the so-called mistakes but the fact of the matter is, YOU DO END UP COMMITTING MISTAKES. That’s a bare necessity of being alive. It’s like collateral damage to breathing. All of us commit mistakes in various shapes and forms. But the good thing is, we learn from those mistakes. And when we get that knowledge gap, we must try to avoid the same mistakes. The problem is, our learnings don’t last long enough and we end up repeating the same mistakes. Us mein bohot time nikal jaata hai and then we are so tired of it that we don’t realize the importance of committing new mistakes. With the passage, we become a tool of our old mistakes because they are neither an event anymore nor a state of mind. Just something that happens because we are freaking idiots.
Is it ever right to do the wrong thing?
The concept of right and wrong is something we embed in our heads for our own convenience. Nobody else (except the hand of law perhaps) can dictate the difference for you. It’s totally up to you what you want to do with your life. As long as you don’t harm anyone else deliberately, I think everything is OK. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of convenience. Anyhow, being born as a human is already a path riddled with wrongs. To conclude, it’s right to do a wrong thing as long as it’s for a greater good. It’s one of the oldest conflicts in human conscience.
If love is freedom, then how would you describe freedom?
Freedom comes from the very lightness of being. When you are truly free, you feel light. When you are not free, you feel burdened – by others’ views, beliefs and expectations. Love, in my opinion, must set you so free that you feel light and not crushed. Sometimes, it’s too much to ask for because we are social beings and we end up projecting ourselves (including our shortcomings) on those we claim to love. That’s the irony of human love.
What's the belief that you hold with which many people disagree?
My belief that we, as a species, must stop reproducing as excessively as we are doing right now. There is no way this planet is capable of sustaining our need/greed. We are only ruining this beautiful planet with more people.
What's something you know you do differently than most people?
I don’t set goals. Most people I know have solid goals in mind in terms of career, relationship, personal growth, etc. I just float with time and struggle with conveying the accurate emotions.
The best advice you have ever given to others.
Overall, life is meaningless, so just go spend your time on what makes you better than you were yesterday.