The Two of Us

Everybody has two versions of themselves in their heads- 1) the person they are 2)  the person they wish they were.

I may be wrong, and probably there indeed are people out there who are perfectly happy with what they are and wouldn’t want to change a thing about themselves. But I’m gonna take a wild guess and assume that most people don’t have that contentment – we always keep wishing we were better. Better than the version that we are today.

If you notice my above statement, you’d see that I’m not talking about what ‘you have’, but rather, simply, just what ‘you are’. What you don’t have today could be achieved with determination and effort, if it’s practical and you know how to get it. But what you want to be, that’s a slightly different ballgame. Let’s put ‘rich’ and ‘famous’ out of this as they’re not really concrete destinations and need a specific aspiration to hold ground.

Much of our life is spent in trying to bridge the gap between these two people. We fantasize about this other person, we know what they have that we don’t. We keep saying to ourselves that one day, we’re gonna finally be him. But working towards it always ends up to be harder than it seems. In a strange twist, our conscience seems reluctant and lazy to let go of the status quo. How many times have you resolved to start that one activity – and gave up miserably as you just couldn’t fit it into your life? Like, take me for example, I want to work out more, want to have a better sleep schedule, want to be a much better friend to people around me, a better son to my parents – and in my mind all of this seems achievable. But how successful have I been in my attempt? That’s totally debatable.

And I also know that it’s very easy to lead our entire lives like this. Maintaining a considerable gap between what we are and what we aspire to be. But I realized that I don’t wanna be on my death bed and have regrets about what could have been! So I really have to figure out how I’m gonna cut all the crap outta my life and actually work towards being who I really wanna be.

Because in the end, we have to try don’t we? That’s what keeps our life chugging along. A hope for a better tomorrow but more importantly, a better us.

Image Courtesy: Shadow

The one where I talk about Astrology, and other things…

Okay so these days I’m in Tome-Reader mode (yes you read that right).

I mean, look at this beast!

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That’s Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize winning novel The Luminaries for you.

Now there’s a reason why I’m always wary of fat books. And fat people who write fat books. Yes, I’m looking at you –  George R.R. Martin! A Song of Ice and Fire is a series that takes an awful lot of patience just to get through, and you will have a read a 1000 page tome containing a story that could be summarized in just a couple of paragraphs. So yes, I’m very wary of fat books indeed.

So naturally, my instincts have told me to stay away from The Luminaries. And yet, I picked it up. Sometimes there are no justifications to what you do in life. But I probably did because of the craze surrounding this book, with regards to how brilliantly it’s been structured. It takes astrology as its base, assigning each character to a celestial object – with the people behaving and interacting with each other just like their space counterparts. Also, the chapters halve in length as you progress i.e the second chapter is half as long as first and so on, and this mirrors a waning moon. So undoubtedly, it’s the most ambitious project ever taken up by any author.

But this post isn’t about the book.

When I attended Eleanor Catton’s panel at Chennai’s Literature Fest earlier this year, she has said something that registered in my mind immediately. When asked if she truly believed in astrology, she replied (and I’m paraphrasing) –

How interesting it is, to imagine, that your life is controlled by these random stars and planets in space. That there’s order in the chaos. And that it all means something.

Now if you’ve followed my blog enough, you’d know that I don’t believe in any of that. But one can totally see why ‘astrology’ and ‘horoscopes’ are still present in the 21st century. Sometimes when we want to believe something, we believe it no matter what the rational part of our brain might say. And it is at best harmless, which is also the reason why the charade of consulting an astrologer for any Hindu wedding is still an important step. Of course, astrologers need to keep their jobs too.

If I can give my post a bottom line, it’s only this – We humans take solace from the fact that we are not the ultimate controllers of our own lives. 

What an intriguing species indeed.  But what’s your take on astrology? I’d love to hear it!