Monday, June 30, 2008

A Gita quote remembered

When I had just entered the IIT, I had a sneaking guilt that I was still not a deserving candidate.

Now, after twelve years of rubbing shoulders with smart kids from Bangalore , Delhi and the Stateswhose fathers knew how the world worked,it seems kind of silly. But somewhere I can still remember that gnawing ache of lifting the small box that was my world then and seeing the vast one beyond - and the only lever there was was academics. For all of us.

I still remember the homesick moments I shared with Goel just after landing in the campus; where he even contemplated leaving the college for LU. Yes, the Excel Goel.

But this is not a mawkish post regarding my somewhat humble beginnings - but about a quote that stayed with me from those years.

I did very well in the first semester but in the second semester, I really screwed my mid-sems. It's difficult to communicate the horror and the shame that one can feel at that time: I actually can't "feel" it; just remember it. Some of my very good friends never came out of that loss of ego from the five point tag; but that's a different story. I needed support; I needed guidance. But it was not "cool" to worry about acads, and, anyway, it was a personal battle.

I pasted the oft-quoted Gita line: "tum bas apna karma karo, phal ki chinta main karunga." on my door.

It gave me courage and is one of the three-four quotes that I have held very close to my life.

The thing was: my interpretation was that persevere and things will follow.

I succeeded.

By the second year, I was not even studying and results were following.

Thing happenned: I found myself at places where I didn't want to be. I didn't know where I wanted to be, just that whatever it was, it wasn't here.

Struggle, more emotional than physical, followed. Reinventions.

Over the years, I learnt somethings about myself - a faculty I was not gifted with but had to acquire.

Now, the quote still lingers but I think the "phal", the fruit of the action, that Krishna eludes to is more in the tone of a father telling the son to just run the race.

The action itself is the fruit.

Because the action comes from what you are - it is your sense of self projected.

Fruits, as many make them out to be - success, money, fame - are too trivial in this quest for the self. I have had more than my fair share of successes, but would have rather have some actions that I passed over.

That's my interpretation right now.

Perhaps it would change. Perhaps there is a "fruit" that I still can't see hanging. Perhaps, nirvana is not as simplistic and escapist as the construct I rejected as a kid. Maybe there's something beyond.

The beauty of ageing is knowing: there are truths that can't be forced otherwise (by truth I mean self-perceptions: I am too unwise to get into arguments regarding what truth actually is). You might read a million books, discuss impossible theories with brilliant professors; but they come to you when their time has come:like a whisper in the ear as you sleep. Like a wisdom tooth or a whitening root or the hint of a wrinkle.

And some quotes, poems, stories, art - acquire another meaning then.

I think that's where great art.

I wish I was more refined and deeper in my thinking to probe beyond this rather inarticulate thought.


TradeExpress said...

dont u remember the management study which concluded the exact opposite "specific rather than general goals lead to higher productivity"..but i guess it doesnt sound as good to be used as a guiding principle

Bland Spice said...

hey, thanks for reminding me that.

i think that's coz management is only focused in the short term. they have a clear objective also - wealth creation at a faster rate than the available opportunites for the capital invested.

Life is much more complex.