Thursday, March 08, 2007


Alternate Title:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run"

I've been irregular here with a reason. End-term examinations start from tomorrow, 9th March. Last MBA exams, and to be honest, these exams are gonna be a toughie.

And since it is an evening of being honest, let me (be human and) admit that I've been troubled for a few days now. (Motee spotted it the other day and asked 'what you thinking about??'.) Well, what else do you expect from a guy like me who's gotten into this (bad?) habit of thinking too much all the time, huh? ~grins~

I kinda got worried today morning when I realised that I'd seen myself smoking a cigarette in my dreams last night. I could vividly remember the smell of burning tobacco, the sensation as I allowed the smoke to enter my system and envelope my lungs and the puff of smoke that I exhaled, I remembered all of it with an eerie ease. This is the second time in the last month that I've seen such a dream, and frankly, it scares me. Appropriately so, for I've never smoked a cigarette in my life. Having seen how Dad suffered 'coz of his lifelong habit, I'd vowed early on that I would never ever smoke.

Anyway, let me not turn this into a post where everything looks dark and gray, for that is certainly not what is the truth here !! Accepted that there's very little to think about these days apart from studies, syllabus, exam schedule...I don't have the leisure time to think about other stuff (and how thankful I am for that!!).

Yet, life is fun when you know you can listen to brilliant songs with beautifully worded lyrics. What the heck !! Imagine this... a guy washing his clothes in a deserted bathroom at 2 in the afternoon and loudly singing "Khudi ko kar buland itna" (the Junoon version), and suddenly, his loud chanting is joined by a couple of other folks who've walked in. Get the picture?? Well, that's what a guys' hostel is all about !! :D

Although I'd promised to keep myself away from books (non-acads books, that is) till the end of examinations, I just couldn't help flipping through the first few pages of "Man's search for meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl. It's a psychiatrist's account of time spent in Nazi death camps. To quote from the back-cover, "at the core of his theory is the belief that man's primary motivational force is his search for meaning."

I smiled...

...and recalled the following lines from a previous post:

I kept staring at the picture of Kali Ma (the photograph is a capture of the deity at Kalighat Temple, Calcutta) and wondering what the purpose of life was. Somehow, I felt that I was just wandering around life aimlessly, not knowing what exactly I wanted. To quote myself from a chat that I had with a close friend a few days back, "most of us are like rudderless boats rocking to the waves in the ocean of life...". What exactly was my mission in life?"

I sighed, looked at my wrist-watch (a gift from Dad before I left Cal for my MBA), and reminded myself that I needed to prepare for the exam...the last MBA exam. "One more round," the voice in my head egged me on.

And then I knew that I had to log in, and blog about one of my all-time favorite poems:

- Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

From :
Rudyard Kipling's (1865-1936) inspirational poem 'If' first appeared in his collection 'Rewards and Fairies' in 1909. The poem 'If' is inspirational, motivational, and a set of rules for 'grown-up' living. Kipling's 'If' contains mottos and maxims for life, and the poem is also a blueprint for personal integrity, behaviour and self-development. 'If' is perhaps even more relevant today than when Kipling wrote it, as an ethos and a personal philosophy. Lines from Kipling's 'If' appear over the player's entrance to Wimbledon's Centre Court - a poignant reflection of the poem's timeless and inspiring quality.


Rose said...

"IF".. Is the most futile word ever.. Sigh.. !!!

This poem is one of my favs.. In fact I hv posted it on my Art Blog If u liked "IF" im sure u wud like "Invictus".. Here's the poem if u havnt alrdy read it...

INVICTUS - William Ernest Henley

"Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."

'Invictus' is Latin for UNCONQUERED...

And.. Btw.. There is not another thing in this world that has a control on ur decisions other than URSELF.. So u knw u wudnt smoke if u dont want to.. A dream is a dream is ONLY a dream... It cannot be a reality coz u dnt want it to be.. Have that faith in urself..

N Take Care...



ani said...

Shekhar.... first off.. biiiiiiiiiiii..............g jhappi! Duffer! chill kar na... just concentrate on the task at hand and all else will quietly fall into place...

Next up: "Purpose of life!" Some of us know it at age 3, others at 10 and still others at somewhere around 40! Don't let it hassle you... take a few moments off and intro/retrospect and it will come to u... right now there's too much of a hurricane around and u know it... let the dust settle.. (at least some of it..!) As the haze turns to a beautiful evening, thy purpose shall slowly make itself known to u..!

Dreams: Don't be afraid to dream for out of these fragile things come miracles!! Smoking of a cigarrette need not necessarily be just that... Think of it as a larger, hidden force slowly swirling around you to make ur purpose known and pull u in its direction.. (like cheese aroma catches hold of jerry's nose!! :D) Or think of it as a swirl of madness that's saying to u... baby lets rock!! Rock u like a hurricane! (I have no idea if i'm making any sense at all here...!) But relax.. serisouly.. like rose says.. a dream is a dream is a dream!! >-------:)-------<

Iske baad: All the very best nutcase!!! ludviskpnks!! :)

And finally.. As always.. I'm always there! Jus a silly msg away!

ani said...

And yes... a very dear friend referred me to this when i was so confused i barely knew myself... think deep into the words.. life gets clearer...

(just as i typr this.. the word verifier reads 'joudu' like its trying to say 'jaadu'.. so relax... ur moment has arrived!)

Shekhar said...

rose: Chill, I'm nowhere near a cigarette right now. The closest association that I have to the stick-fooling the world is the song 'sutta', and that too, only at midnight when the entire hostel is singing along. ;)

Thanks for the poem. Loved it.

ani: You have no idea how much I love both, the character and the play, Hamlet. Have read most of Shakespeare's plays and no other character has touched me in this manner. And yes, I love his soliloquies. :))

arpana said...

if is one of my all time favs too :)

Shekhar said...

arpana: :)))