Monday, September 24, 2007

One step at a time

On a car ride from Gurgaon to Delhi, a wise man once told me ‘Travel, oh naïve one! If you live here forever, you will think that the mountains mean north. But that is not the case. ‘Cause even the Himalayas are south for someone. Just depends on who he is and where he stands’

True and true. It’s a well recorded, documented fact. So I guess it’s pointless to talk about it. I can’t tell anyone anything new about the merits of travelling (especially since till very recently, I needed to be told that myself). But then, why are parents excited when their child says his first words or takes his first steps? He is neither the first nor the last child to do so. Likewise, I am taking my first steps towards understanding how travel builds perspective. Doing what everyone must do to grow up. Such a day brings happiness and hope and excitement. It’s a big day for me!

There are many small and big things I learn everyday. They all tell me the same broad story… its all about context & perspective. Here are some things that struck me today… So obvious yet so huge… I choose to be amazed at them…

Like a Finn told me that her 85 year old grandfather who got widowed 3 years ago now has an 80 year old girlfriend who sent him a mushy SMS on the first mobile he ever owned! And in my own family, a 38 year old widow is told that she now has no purpose to live but to bring up her daughters. Another relationship for her is simply unthinkable.

A more routine instance crosses my mind. The so called successful people in India brag about how they see their children awake only on weekends. On other days, they leave too early, get back too late and are generally too occupied to spend time with their children. Such people are not considered successful in Finland. Infact this is one of the very, very few things you can say to a Finn to completely put him off. Its one of the few things where Finns don’t mind commenting or judging someone’s personal life.

I know of both sides. There are both right in their own ways. I have lived or seen both perspectives. But this is just two. I hope to be a student of human nature and culture. Are two chapters of one book enough for me to be a budding scholar? I know there is a long way to go. But how long? If knowing different people and living in different places builds perspective, how many places are you expected to see before you have enough perspective? Or as Bob Dylan has famously said
“How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?”

And to complicate matters further for me, one of my favourite lines (told to me by a friend on a train journey from Jamshedpur to Bombay, but that’s another story…) is ‘The only thing the human mind cannot tolerate is complete perspective’.

So I need perspective, lots of it, but not so much that it’s too much. That’s tough. Or is it? It’s just like sunshine or exercise or water or love. I need lots of it, but not too much! The right amount will strike me… When the time is right, the truth will reveal itself…

5 comments:

Vikram Mall said...

There is never a complete perspective...

I also meet people who tell me that they do not have time for this and that and that their life is very busy...and, then one day the spouse has an affair, the child rebels...

Like Anna says in "Mister God! This is Anna"

What is this life full of care
If we have not the time to stand and stare

Kartikeya said...

kartybHey...u write really well...its quite refreshing to read ur blog..keep up the good work

nisha said...

Sometimes its good to not have a perspective on everything. Too much of it breeds prejudice, unless wisdom previals to let you alter your viewpoint based on situations. You're at a new beginning in life. I say go for it with an open mind, leave all the baggage behind. Embrace what comes you're way. The world is your oyster

Artemis Fowl III said...

i so much agree on you about the quote on perspective... i have borne the brunt of it...

but still, the thirst for perspective is the biggest addiction you can have!!! there are no rehab homes to cure you of this!

welcome to the world :-)

SS said...

Interesting thoughts. Made me look up the exact meaning of perspective. Heres what Wikipedia says :

"Perspective (cognitive), one's "point of view", the choice of a context for opinions, beliefs and experiences "

And this pretty much affirms my belief about perspective, its a function of your experiences in life. And if you go one step back, also of your value system, imparted to you, when you are really not sure you really want it :)

So its really hard to tell wht the "right" perspective is..

Enjoy the journey, it is more important than the destination.