Milestones

We’re born and then we die. But what defines our lives is everything that happens in between the being born and the dying. For the first few years of our lives our parents take the pains of celebrating every little milestone we reach – our first smile, first rollover, first crawl, first night without crying, first potty training, fully potty trained,…… Yes, some we wish weren’t recorded for posterity but it is the duty of parents to embarrass their children and the earlier you start the better. After the first few years, the novelty of a new baby fades and life and routine begin to take control and the celebration of milestones decreases.

Sometimes we refuse to see what all the fuss is about and slowly most milestones stop being marked in our lives until we feel that it is truly big enough to be celebrated. We succumb to peer pressure and begin to measure our success with society’s yardstick. As the years pass, the number of milestones that mark our lives, at least to us, begin to decrease.

As we age, we begin to lose the awe and wonder we held as kids for anything. Birthdays that were eagerly awaited and looked forward to all year round are slowly becoming days to detest. Acing an exam or a test, though harder now, don’t get the spot on the refrigerator it used to. We grow more critical of ourselves and only recognise our achievements and feats when it is first recognised by others. Happiness becomes something that comes from outside rather than from within ourselves.

This year has been a very big year for me. I’ve crossed some of the biggest milestones in my life. At the beginning of the year I got done with all my exams, the end of march brought to an end my time as an intern, in June I celebrated 25 years on this planet, in September I got featured on Freshly Pressed, I finished my thesis at the end of October, I got my first job offer in November, I finally finished my Masters in December and hit a 1000 followers this week. These are some of the biggest things that have ever happened to me. Things which, apart from the being featured on Freshly Pressed, will never happen to me again. Hence, the biggest milestones.

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YAY!!!

Yet, there have also been so many other smaller milestones along the way which I cannot forget and have given me immense joy. Every single like and comment on the blog, every single time that I spoke in German without a single mistake, every job application that I finished and sent, giving my very first job interview, touching down in Bangalore,… These are things that will continue to happen in my life but we give me the same joy as the bigger milestones.

I guess the other milestones are bigger because they bring with them a certain relief. A feeling of “Oh! Thank God! Finally!!”. That slight panic that we all carry in our hearts, a social clock (more like a time bomb if you ask me) if you will, to reach a certain milestone at a certain time is what makes that milestone more important to achieve. Add to that a certain level of difficulty and you have a big milestone. But that doesn’t mean the smaller ones are any less worth celebrating.

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1000 followers!

The world we live in today is so fast and fickle that we hardly have the time to get a grasp of what is going on, let alone orient ourselves in the direction we want to. There are more upsets and accidents which bring with them so much anguish and turmoil, which is what necessitates a little more happiness. We have become so cynical and critical that we ┬ádon’t recognise the smallest of joys. Or maybe we do recognise them but just refuse to give ourselves the chance to enjoy them.

I’ve always believed in living life to the fullest and I know I’m definitely not the most experienced person when it comes to how to live your life or even about how life is. But I have realised, at least for myself, that just sitting with a bunch of friends and talking absolute nonsense gives me so much more joy than going on that huge roller coaster at the fair. We’re all so caught up in living the YOLO kind of life that we forget and look past some of the most amazing things that are happening to us.

I still can’t forget that even after having defended my thesis, I felt no different than I had been feeling the rest of the time. I remember saying “I thought this was supposed to feel different but it doesn’t”. And no, it wasn’t because it hadn’t sunk in yet. I realise that now because when I look back on the last year, it’s the small things that come to mind. Finding a way to mount a component on the test bench after what seemed like forever, having lunch with my colleagues, celebrating with friends, roaming around the christmas market with them, hugging my mom and sister after a whole year of not having seen them.

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50th Post!!

So, here’s to all the milestones, big and small. To what has been an amazing year and looking forward to a new one, which will hopefully bring with it the same awe and wonder as the previous ones.

Death

Death is a truth of life which, the sooner you get used to, the better. Unfortunately, you never truly get used to it. Try as you might, you just don’t. Not even when life keeps forcing it upon you again and again. We all appreciate the miracle of birth, it’s the beauty of life, it’s a sign of hope, of a new beginning. And what does death signify? The end. No matter how much the Egyptians tried to convince us about the journey we undertake once we leave this world, we will never accept it because we just haven’t seen it.┬áBeing human, we want a visual reassurance.

Maybe it’s not death that we fear, but the uncertainty, the feeling of not knowing. It’s the same as darkness, you’d don’t fear darkness, but the feeling of not knowing what lurks in the dark. Add to that the theories of heaven and hell that haunt our every waking moment, it’s no wonder that we fear it. The possibility that you could end up in Hell, in the “Satan’s frying pan”, or that you’d end up alone in Heaven ( come on, you know you’ve thought about it).

Perhaps it’s not just the fear of the unknown but the fear of loneliness, the fact that we’re alone in death. The fact that we avoid facing all through our lives by surrounding ourselves with friends and family and eventually having to face the same which eats away at us. May be it’s the years we’ll never have or the things we never got around to doing, maybe regret also gnaws at us in some corner of our being.

May be it’s the sadness caused by the absence of person, the guilt and pain of still living on, even after the person is gone that mingles with the feelings that remain. The guilt of the fading memories, of going on with life that rots a part of us just like the decaying body of the person. And we carry the putrid stench of the death with us throughout our life. It becomes a part of us. Neither letting us forget nor letting us remember, slowing snuffing out our being.

For me, death is something I never get used to. It’s a concept which has haunted me throughout my childhood and something that I’ve carried with me into my adult life. I have never been able to wrap my head around it. Physically, I get it. The body like any machine, gets worn out with time and eventually expires. But we’re not just our body. We’re more than just flesh and bones. We’re memories, thoughts, ideas and feelings. They’re not things which expire or cease to exist. Yes they live in people who are attached to them but memories fade, thoughts forgotten, ideas age and feelings, well I don’t really know what happens to feelings. And I think, therein lies my difficulties. No matter how I look at it, it still remains a mystery. But if I were to figure it out, would I then get used to the idea?

I know death will come to me eventually. And it’s not something I seek to avoid. Although, I don’t think there will be enough of me to die when death finally comes. For, as long as I live and those around me die, I die a slow and painful death myself. Compared to that, death would be deliverance.