Travel To Feel Alive

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“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” – Anthony Bourdain

I have always been under the impression, that in all the coarse contentiousness within the back and forth of history, the early humans were wanderers and their lives, if contextually inconsequential and short, were a journey too, marked by constant movement and discovery. Perhaps, this was more from marked necessity, the inevitable need to move around, than actual yearning for travel. But the desire to seek out and explore far away lands, for the purposes of knowledge, enlightenment, glory, or even for profit for the suitably inclined, has been a predominant trait that has passed down from generation to generation. And that trait, deeply integrated in our subconscious, instructs onto us an instinctive need to seek out change, the desire to experience new things. We need to have that constant movement, at least in our minds, or maybe even emotions. And that’s why we, you and I, all of us, aspire to travel.

We all have our own reasons for travelling, or even for the intent and the ascribed aspirations – the lust for drifting amidst the unknown, the love for experiencing a new culture, the need to meet new people, the desire to just leave it all behind, the need to forget, or to merely lengthen a conversation. The new, the exciting, the different, and the adventure – it’s all there when you travel. That’s what makes it so interesting, intriguing, and inviting to us all. It calls us. It empowers us, and beckons us to come with it to new lands and unfamiliar retreats, and gives us a respite and sanctuary from all the chaos and regimented world that we have grown accustomed to, and from walking everyday on the same paths. It shows us new places, people, and cultures. It’s always giving us something new – not only outwardly, but also inwardly. So, I travel.

But for me, the most important reason is that travel allows for change. It becomes a way for me to deal with different situations, experience new things, or help search for a sense of self. My days no longer are dictated by tasks to be accomplished, work to be finished, or business hours, but by the changing winds of my own heart.

As much of a cliché as this may sound like, I prefer to, and usually do, travel alone. As an old-timer-world-weary gentleman had once said, “When the traveller goes alone, he gets acquainted with himself.” My solitude and thoughts become my trusted friends to give me company, my apprehensions become my advisors, and my instincts become my guide. I remember my first solo trip was to Singapore, a few years ago. I was 18 years old. After a few weeks of travelling around, getting lost, getting mugged and finally, all by myself, using hand gestures, a map and the help of a toothless old lady at the corner store, I returned hotel. I had learnt to rely on myself. I realized that I can solve problems, get over the blues, and find hidden treasures all by myself. That filled me with confidence to face challenges later on in life. As for the recognition of hard travel as rewarding, the feeling is mainly retrospective, since it is only in looking back that we see how we have been enriched. But if feel you would rather not be alone, please find a co-adventurer, by all means. As long as your tastes, your life cycles, your eagerness match. Trust me, there is nothing worse than having a travel partner who would rather sleep in when you feel the need to go out exploring, or the other way around. Once, on a short photographic expedition, I travelled with a certain someone, who, while undoubtedly being a remarkable conversationalist and an unparalleled dinner companion otherwise, made this three day excursion into an unfortunate series of excruciating discords, the primary reason being the lack of proper amenities and service. Mind you, we were in the backwoods of our rural countryside, not quite the most developed; our entire expedition was supposed to be camping out and this lack of comfort was expected completely. So discern your partners-in-travel wisely and ensure everyone is aware of, and agree to, all facets of your journey together.

However, I would still insist that everyone travel alone, at least once in their lifetime. There is, without a doubt, a lot of happiness, or even comfort, experienced in sharing the beauty you come across in your travels with someone else, but experiencing that beauty all by yourself has a lot of charm, and even contentment, to it.

I believe it to be necessary to plan to a certain extent before you can actually start, but I also believe that travel, like a lot many other things in life, needs to be mostly spontaneous.  You will never feel completely comfortable with the timing of your travel – either to begin or to continue where you left off. There would always be reasons aplenty for you to postpone it. Perhaps, you’re not courageous enough. Maybe you doubt your ability to adapt to foreign situations; perhaps, you would want to wait to learn the language beforehand. Maybe, if you are fairly inexperienced, you would be unsure of your choices. But that doubt is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really, we are just too scared to do what we should. So start now, without putting too much thought into it. The beginning is the most exhilarating bit. As someone had once said – There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it.   In any case, it doesn’t take long to get acclimated to a new place. A good map and plenty of patience can get you anywhere you want to go.

And in the end, it’s not about just travel really; it goes beyond just the sights and the experiences. It’s about freedom as well. We travel to be free: to explore, to escape our daily lives, to relax, to step outside ourselves and shake things up. It allows us to lead a life different than the way we normally do. We travel because we are curious. We travel to feel alive.

Gang Rape !!! 3 Questions remain unanswered…???

India is witnessing a collective outrage over the brutal rape and attempted murder of a 23-year old girl. I want to take a crack at three fundamental issues at play here.

1. Can we hang this  perpetrator  ?

If you notice the senior Congress ministers arent committing to extending the death penalty to rarest of rare rape cases at all. They are issuing some slimy statements.  Lets assume for a moment they are serious about it based on this report.

Essentially, the Home Minister has promised:

» A strong law to deal with rapists that wil provide for capital punishment in certain cases; and,

» A commission of inquiry to review police responses to last Sunday’s rape.

Say you amended the penal code to introduce the death penalty for the rarest of rare rape cases, would it apply to the accused in this case ? I dont think so.  Such an application would be an example of retroactive or ex-post-facto law.  This is generally regarded as evil for good reason. Zoom out from this case and think about if such laws can be passed as a general case. You cannot regulate your conduct with respect to any set of laws if

  • they go back and redefine what is illegal in order to catch you
  • having caught you for a violation, they redefine the penal code to punish you harder or softer
  • having caught and punished you, they can roll back the new laws and codes

It is for this reason retroactive laws are banned in most countries. In India, Article 20(1) specifically bans such laws.

Article 20(1) in The Constitution Of India 1949

(1) No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of the law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence

 

It appears the Congress government, and to a lesser extent, the BJP  are playing us when they announce such measures.  Most of them are in the legal profession and they know they are holding out false hope. You could probably amend the constitution to add a escape clause to 20(1) , but think about it : Do you want to sacrifice the entire basis of law for one case ?

2. Is death penalty for rape a good deterrent ?

If you are against death penalty in principle, obviously death penalty for rape is not on the table and the argument ends there. If you are for the death penalty in homicide cases, then you have a think a bit harder. You have to start separating the various types of such violations. The clearest separation is sexual violence against a minor vs an adult. On one hand if you believe the death penalty is a deterrent to murder then why cant it be a deterrent to rape ?  I suspect the answer is that is murder has a property of an  “end of the road” finality which rape doesnt have. Its really is all over in one case and there is no further legal interpretation required. This is not to diminish the life long psychological scars left on the rape victim, it just means it is a lot harder to have clarity while sentencing.

We are already facing an onslaught by far left marxist intellectuals, activists, and media outlets over abolishing all death penalty. Those of us who support it for its deterrence qualities stand to lose everything by extending it to rape.  The finer points have already been discussed thread bare in Kennedy v Louisiana (child) and Coker v Georgia (adult)  My own position is I dont support death penalty for adult rape and I am torn about child violence. Indian activists will yell “India is not America” but  please read the briefs in those two cases to build up your own positions one way or another. Sidestep what you read in the Indian media.

3.  What effect did the UPA pardons have ?

The Congress led UPA government in June 2012 pardoned 23 people on death rowSome of them had committed crimes worse than this on children and all of them had been sentenced to die by the Supreme Court after the ‘rarest of the rare’ doctrine came into effect.

Take the case of Molai Ram v MP. Here was a rape and murder committed by two convicts serving term on other charges. They brutally raped and killed a 16 year old girl inside the jail premises and dumped her body in a septic tank. Take the case of Shobit vs Bihar where a dacoity killed a family of six including two young boys who were snatched from the mothers lap and shot. The killers didnt want a Hindi film style revenge when the boys grew up because they had seen their father getting murdered. There is an example of a Sushil Murmu v Jharkhand where a killer kidnapped someones 9 year old son and beheaded him in a ritual sacrifice even though he had a 9 year old of his own. Then there was a 5 year old girl. Then there was a 10 year old boy. The list goes on and on and on. Notice what the Supreme Court observed in Murmu

This in our view is an illustrative and most exemplary case to be treated as the ‘rarest of rare cases’ in which death sentence is and should be the rule, with no exception whatsoever. Appeal fails and is dismissed.

Sushil Murmu v Jharkhand

Finally there is the case of Mulla vs UP, where poverty was stated as a mitigating factor in overturning the death penalty.  What this means in effect is that certain citizens can have an “inside” track when it comes to sentencing. This should shock us because it flies against basic principles of rule of law that calls for a general application. The only mitigating factors ought to be related to psychological state.

In effect, the marxists have not only succeeded in abolishing the death penalty through the backdoor but have undermined the uniform application of law. Would I support hanging the perpetrator in this case when the killers of the jailors daughter are alive ? No way.

On the big canvas I firmly believe the death penalty is a required deterrent in India. The life outside jail is one of filth, uncertainty, poverty, and violence. For many on the margins, life inside jail isn’t that big a deal. What works in Norway and France, life on the riviera, benevolent state stipends wont work in India.  A real cost benefit analysis would compare the uniform application of the death penalty in homicide vs a holistic reform system.

  • Holistic reform : Assign social workers to those accused of gruesome crimes in order to make them better people. How much would it cost to run this ? Now that the deterrent factor is gone, how much would it cost to admit the flood of people that enter this system ?

We, the citizens of this third world country, should first get out of filth and squalor in a hurry. This is not to say that the rule of law must be treated as an inconvenience. We should revert to the simplest formulations of the rule of law. All available deterrents should be used to the optimum levels and no extraordinary processes to anyone.

Self Note…to Follow

Hi me,

well this is a bit weird. But called for. So, focus. If I am taking my time to write this down, pay attention, as there are so many other things I could be doing right now.

You are 23, not 20 as you might believe. When did that happen? Well, in 23 years. It’s called time and it doesn’t move with the speed of light nor does it just fly by. Nothing has changed, something to do with math or physics, either way we were never good at it. The day still has 24 hours, as it did when you were a kid, thinking you will never turn 18. And here you are becoming Professional. You’ve vowed you’d never be one. Never be tied down with the strings of the daily routine. How different you thought your life would turn out. But you are happy. That is what counts.

You are not as great nor as bad as you think. You do have moments when you shine and have every right to expect the Ode of Joy to be playing in the background. But life is not a movie or a book you can just flip through, do the good parts or check the ending – as you are used to doing. You have to go through it all, even the subtext. But it will be worth it. As they say: “If you want to see the sunshine you have to weather the storm.”

The body you have is the only one you’ll get. Deal with it. Yes, it shows signs of carrying responsibility  but it’s nothing a few classes of pilates can’t fix.Please, don’t. And don’t give up chocolates, you are not cut out for the “my body is a temple” stuff. 23 years have gone by, you don’t know how many you have left, so enjoy the little things without the guilt :) .

You are a human, but not a slave. Making them happy, makes you happy, sure. But sometimes your happiness is in your hand only. It is not wrong to be a bit selfish every now and then and take what you need. You time, with what makes just you excited. Then it will be so much easier to make everyone around you smile. Don’t lose yourself, because when they leave you’ll be left with nothing. You should know by now, we all have our paths in life, your paths might now be joined, but when the time comes you must let them lead their own way, even if it’s away from you.

You’ve got a great Friends. You were really lucky out there. They might not be Millionaire. But truly how long could you put up with the likes of him. Friends are awesome. Yes, of course they has flaws, trust me, dear, so do you. Don’t let him get away with it though, but every now and again forget about who’s turn it is to do the dishes, take out trash etc. Remember, there was a time, when those stuff didn’t even cross your mind.

Finally, you are a good person, with a great family and friends. You are creative and fun, but your mind works too much. Not everything can be planned. Things are not always as bad or good as your mind portrays. I know you will still try to have a schedule for the next five years and that’s ok. Keep in mind though, that things will get out of hand. Don’t spend your time trying to solve all the problems, sometimes you have to believe that they have a way of fixing themselves out. At least some of them.

P.S. Please no New Year’s resolutions. We’ve got too much on our plate as it is. Unless it’s not to worry :)

Love, Me

TIME….The Daily Miracle

“Yes, he’s one of those men that don’t know how to manage. Good situation. Regular income. Quite enough for luxuries as well as needs. Not really extravagant. And yet the fellow’s always in
difficulties. Somehow he gets nothing out of his money. Excellent
flat–half empty! Always looks as if he’d had the brokers in. New
suit–old hat! Magnificent necktie–baggy trousers! Asks you to
dinner: cut glass–bad mutton, or Turkish coffee–cracked cup! He
can’t understand it. Explanation simply is that he fritters his income
away. Wish I had the half of it! I’d show him–“
So we have most of us criticised, at one time or another, in our
superior way.
We are nearly all chancellors of the exchequer: it is the pride of the
moment. Newspapers are full of articles explaining how to live on
such-and-such a sum, and these articles provoke a correspondence whose
violence proves the interest they excite. Recently, in a daily organ,
a battle raged round the question whether a woman can exist nicely in
the country on 85 a year. I have seen an essay, “How to live on eight
shillings a week.” But I have never seen an essay, “How to live on
twenty-four hours a day.” Yet it has been said that time is money.
That proverb understates the case. Time is a great deal more than
money. If you have time you can obtain money–usually. But though you
have the wealth of a cloak-room attendant at the Hilton Hotel, you
cannot buy yourself a minute more time than I have, or the cat by the
fire has.
Philosophers have explained space. They have not explained time. It is
the inexplicable raw material of everything. With it, all is possible;
without it, nothing. The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an
affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it. You wake up in the
morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours
of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is
yours. It is the most precious of possessions. A highly singular
commodity, showered upon you in a manner as singular as the commodity
itself!
For remark! No one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no
one receives either more or less than you receive.
Talk about an ideal democracy! In the realm of time there is no
aristocracy of wealth, and no aristocracy of intellect. Genius is
never rewarded by even an extra hour a day. And there is no
punishment. Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you
will, and the supply will never be withheld from you. No mysterious
power will say:–“This man is a fool, if not a knave. He does not
deserve time; he shall be cut off at the meter.” It is more certain
than consols, and payment of income is not affected by Sundays.
Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt!
You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste to-morrow; it
is kept for you. You cannot waste the next hour; it is kept for you.
I said the affair was a miracle. Is it not?
You have to live on this twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it
you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the
evolution of your immortal soul. Its right use, its most effective
use, is a matter of the highest urgency and of the most thrilling
actuality. All depends on that. Your happiness–the elusive prize
that you are all clutching for, my friends!–depends on that. Strange
that the newspapers, so enterprising and up-to-date as they are, are
not full of “How to live on a given income of time,” instead of “How to
live on a given income of money”! Money is far commoner than time.
When one reflects, one perceives that money is just about the commonest
thing there is. It encumbers the earth in gross heaps.
If one can’t contrive to live on a certain income of money, one earns a
little more–or steals it, or advertises for it. One doesn’t
necessarily muddle one’s life because one can’t quite manage on a
thousand pounds a year; one braces the muscles and makes it guineas,
and balances the budget. But if one cannot arrange that an income of
twenty-four hours a day shall exactly cover all proper items of
expenditure, one does muddle one’s life definitely. The supply of
time, though gloriously regular, is cruelly restricted.
Which of us lives on twenty-four hours a day? And when I say “lives,”
I do not mean exists, nor “muddles through.” Which of us is free from
that uneasy feeling that the “great spending departments” of his daily
life are not managed as they ought to be? Which of us is quite sure
that his fine suit is not surmounted by a shameful hat, or that in
attending to the crockery he has forgotten the quality of the food?
Which of us is not saying to himself–which of us has not been saying
to himself all his life: “I shall alter that when I have a little more
time”?
We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had,
all the time there is. It is the realisation of this profound and
neglected truth (which, by the way, I have not discovered) that has led
me to the minute practical examination of daily time-expenditure.

Ignorance is Bliss….

Is it really? Would you seriously not want to know that your “friends” are backstabbing bitches, than sit in the dark and think that you guys are the next Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants? If we love this quote but hate ignorant people, isn’t that contradicting the quote? Coz, I mean, ignorant people have the quality of ignorance, right? Now see, I hate ignorant people as I think their heads are so far up their arse you can pretty much see it from their throat. I hate how they see the world in black and white, when really, there’s plenty more shades ranging from warm to cool. All you need to do is look.

Take off those ugly RayBan glasses and see the animal’s skin you cruelly wear on your back. See how it bleeds and cries as it’s being skinned alive for you. Or does that shit turn you on? Do you like hearing their screams and cries as they suffer in pain? Is that your thing Guru?

Put that religious book down for a second and ask yourself. Do  I really hate gay people or is that just whats bin shoved down my throat my whole life forcing me to think that they’re the “devil.”  Is god really gonna punish me for eating meat the one day out of the whole week, that I wasn’t meant to. I mean I’m most probably gonna eat twice as much tomorrow, I mean  since it’s a “sin” to eat that lamb or Tuesday.  And then you sit there judging that girl eating her burger fuel lamb burger on a Saturday. What’s the chances that tomorrow you’ll be in her seat doing the exact same thing. Eating the exact same thing.

LOL,

Open your eyes people and see that there’s more to the world than just your religious based, designer kissing opinions.