Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Living in Present

Last year around April – May, I started planning to write my master's thesis. As is the case most of the times with me, I started with figuring out simplest things at first. So, what is the most basic requirement in writing a thesis? Guess.

I had a 5 year old second hand keyboard which had witnessed 3 years of intensive Counter-Strike and Age of Empires seasons by its original owner and had to undergo few testing moments when I hammered it really hard while getting frustrated after losing close NBA games J. Well, for me the first basic requirement for this task was a good keyboard, where good means its every key should be working. Therefore, I just wanted a cheapest possible keyboard for this very specific and temporary purpose. I went to the shop outside IIT gate and bought a keyboard for a price (Rs 100) which gave me logic to understand the supremacy of China in the manufacturing market. I started working with it soon to explore that few keys were dysfunctional in this as well. When I went back to get it repaired or replaced, the shopkeeper kept it for repairing and gave me an old back up keyboard for meanwhile of more or less same quality and promised me to give the repaired keyboard in a week. It may sound a bit silly, but I was pretty excited to work on my new keyboard after having managed with broken space bar and enter keys for almost 1.5 years. Somebody has very rightly pointed out that sometimes absence becomes necessary to make you realize presence of something, however basic it may be. Probably, I was having similar kind of experience. So, after anxiously waiting for slightly more than one week, I called to the shop. The guy told me to wait for another week saying that it has been sent to the company for the replacement. Can you believe that a keyboard worth 100 Rs is sent for replacement to the company? I guess its transportation will cost more than its original cost. Anyways, I was happy because I was getting a brand new keyboard rather than the replaced one. So, I accepted to wait for another week. In the meanwhile, I got started with my thesis writing under the pressure of running time. Another week passed and I called him back. There was same reply. I told him about my urgency very politely and requested him to make it as soon as possible. One of the thing at which these business men are naturally good at, that is making promises. He promised me of a sincere effort in his capacity in the same polite way. For next few weeks, I got heavily occupied in my thesis writing and few PhD interviews.

Slowly, 2-3 more weeks passed. By this time, I had already defended my thesis and came back from Switzerland after a PhD interview. But my keyboard was getting repaired in the company under the supervision of highly qualified engineers probably. I realized that I had no use of that keyboard now and it costed me only 100 Rs. I could have easily let it go. But, that was not the case. I was irritated and frustrated not because I could not use it for the purpose I bought it but because I felt that I was being cheated and fooled, which is an uncomfortable feeling for anybody. I decided to go to the shop and teach him a lesson. I remember it was around 3 in the hot afternoon of May end, when I reached the shop and it took no time for that heat to get on my head and an argument was turned on. But soon after the initiation of this heated argument, while the shop guy was giving excuses and adapted aggressive stance in my response, I happened to talk to myself just for a while. I could see myself being mean and yelling to a poor shopkeeper who is not even at fault probably. As soon as I could see myself in a state of reaction and charge, which is not naturally acceptable to anybody, the situation was changed. My voice softened, I was more understanding and instead of being aggressive I was trying to pacify the other guy. I somehow wrapped up the conversation on a good note and was quite satisfied while leaving the shop by the fact that I managed the shopkeeper to realize his mistake while maintaining a good acquaintance of mine.

You might be wondering what does the title of the post has to do with this story. Living in present means to be aware of yourself at every single moment. Most of the times we are thinking about something else while doing something else, our thoughts and actions are not in harmony. How many times can you hear the singing birds on your way, how many times do you feel the cold breeze flowing across your hair, how many times you notice your words while talking to your friends? There are innumerable such things which we do not notice in our daily life which can lead to sometimes accidents similar to the ones which I just avoided by being present at the moment. Similarly, we can really enjoy our life if we can exercise this awareness about our thoughts. The main thing to notice is that you can not do anything which is unacceptable to you if you are present at the moment and can see what you are doing.