Update your bucket list… by Pritish Nandy

Everyone has a bucket list. I made my first one at 5. But the question is: How much of your bucket list at 5 or 15 or 45 have you really pulled off? That’s where I have failed. All the big things I set out to do, I am pretty much done with. But all the small things, the ones that really excite me, I have missed out on the way. It’s no use trying to climb Kilimanjaro if you can’t make a perfect Spanish omelette. Most of us don’t figure this out till it’s too late. And the reason is: We have all been programmed to perpetually hunt down and fulfil the big tasks of life. By the time we get down to the fun stuff, the successes have taken their toll and we have lost the ability to see the smaller things, let alone enjoy them. Would Sachin, after breaking all those world records and making all that money, get time to go back to his childhood stamp collection and find a Penny Black?

That’s the problem with success. In fact, that’s the problem with our lives. We are always chasing The Big Dream. It’s only when you fulfil your larger than life ambitions that you realise how hollow they actually were. Ask Bill Gates. Or Warren Buffet. When they realised how boring it was to reach the pinnacle of wealth, they turned to charity. They are now spending double the time and effort they spent on amassing their wealth on trying to get rid of it in the name of philanthropy. They should be actually wondering why they didn’t do it in the first place, like Mother Teresa. She created the biggest empire of charity in the world with Rs 10, a pair of blue bordered white saris, a bucket and a mug to call her own and she did a damned good job of it.

It’s these small things in our bucket list that are the most important. You miss them even more when you succeed with the big ones. And if you don’t succeed with the big ones, it’s worse. You consume your whole life chasing them. In the process, the real stuff goes MIA. And those are the things that make life worth living. Any idiot can make lots of money, and many do. Just look around you and see if I am wrong. Would you really like to spend your whole life migrating from a BMW to an Audi or a Dior to a Bottega, or would you prefer to take a chance and choose a life that allows you to experience the magic, the vastness, the excitement of being on this amazing planet? One of the things in life I miss out on doing is what Bear Grylls keeps doing all the time. Like entering the Mojave Desert hanging inverted under a biplane at 8,000 feet. Since you can’t skydive from a biplane, the pilot flips the plane upside down and drops you out. Now that’s something I would like to experience. I would love to be lost in the middle of an Amazon rainforest, be it in Brazil or Peru or Columbia, trying to find my way out. Or find myself in Aokigahara, the Sea of Trees at the base of Mount Fuji, where not only wild animals but also the great demons reside.

I would have liked to play chess better than I do. Or solve the Riemann Hypothesis or the Hodge Conjecture, problems that cleverer men than me have struggled over unsuccessfully for years. I would have liked to challenge Blake Edwards, film director and brilliant card shark who died last December, to a game of blackjack. He had boasted he could take anyone to the cleaners in a game of cards and make love to a woman at the same time. I am sure, with practise, I could improve on that. I wish I could converse better with dogs, particularly the ones roaming the street outside my home. They are my best friends and yet I barely speak their language. I would like to try a séance, play the mandolin, do street magic like Chriss Angel, have an occasional chat with God, backpack through Uttarakhand, bake the perfect lemon tart, sing a song (any song) in tune. These are things I always wanted to do.

They are not really all that small, when you look back at them. But then nothing on your bucket list is ever big or small. It’s what you make of them. Life’s about choices. Most of us are so busy chasing our standard template dreams that we never notice the ones on the sideline. It’s only when you get back to your list or update it from time to time that you notice all the stuff you missed out on. And then, all that you actually achieved looks so trite, trivial and unnecessary that you wish you had another shot at life.


162 Responses to “Update your bucket list… by Pritish Nandy”

  1. Sharmila,

    This is an interesting confession by Mr. Nandy of his own view of life in general. I am not sure if any honest yet successful person would concur with it.

    I feel bucket lists need not be long or short. Even one single item is enough to give all the joy of living.

    Idle musings are for lazy people or carpetbaggers. Not for the tough go-getters.

    I won’t quote my usual legends from the past.

    Even a current idol, regardless of their status in the society – a known celebrity or moneyed or powerful – would disagree with Mr. Nandy, provided that they have made their lives honestly and with complete devotion. I don’t think Mr. Nandy is expecting those kind of people to read his blog.

    For instance, if Sachin was asked to find joy in anything other than cricket or a Lata Mangeshkar without her type of music or an Amitabh Bachchan without an opportunity to act, they would respect Mr. Nandy’s age and smile. But thats all.

    The kind of distractions that Mr. Nandy claims as real heavenly or earthly pleasures would not make them bat an eyelid.

    Not because they do not know about a life outside their domains, but because they value their own lives and test themselves to the limits. Nothing can surpass the happiness of a passion.

    Mr. Nandy is assuming that everyone who is anyone is dreaming of achieving celebrity status or money or power. He has listed big names like Sachin, Bill Gates and some others as examples.

    I wish he had checked with them if it was true. I don’t think they agree with this.

    Did they achieve what they did for the status and power, or did they do it to meet their own benchmark of self-respect?

    And yes, on an entriely different note: Why do we need so many examples of unknown strangers from other nations. Are we so short that we don’t have any successful people amongst us?

    A local train commuter in Mumbai has devised a new mind-boggling card game called Funtoosh. But Mr. Nandy wouldn’t know about that. He knows the bedtime stories of Beer Gryllis, Blake Edwards and the like.

    Indians are old masters at innovation. Right now as I write this, there are tens of sponsored research projects to tap these in every field for which Europeans, Japanese, Israelis, Americans and Brits are traveling across the length and breadth of India.

    But our own intellectuals are mastering the general knowledge of Beverly Hills and London that is pasted on Google and Wikipedia.

    Mandolin is an Arabic instrument. Come here and listen to the magical themes that young 7 year old arab boys play in the evenings under the palm trees! Thats how a Mandolin is played. Chris Angel plays Mandolin, says Mr. Nandy. Who is Chris Angel? I don’t even know who is Chris Angel. I am such a stupid Indian.

    The best of the best are not necessarily celebs or fore-worshippers. They are there in the shadows enjoying themselves and mastering their own art. They are happy.

    The only way we can show our respect for them is by performing our own passion as good as they do theirs. Thats fair trade.

    To close this:

    I feel, Mr. Nandy is sadly mistaken that everyone is expecting another shot at life. He may wish he himself had one more go, for all the reasons that he has stated in his post above.

    But I am sure there are many others who are happy that they have given their best shot at life and not wasted a single moment.

    Speaking for myself, if I die today and if there is a God, I’d face Him with pride and expect Him to say “Well done, Son!”

  2. Sorry..Mr Nandy writes great articles then utter crap articles then again great articles.

    Mr Nandy assumed Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were in the game of making money.

    Stopped reading after that.

  3. It is so amusing sometimes…to read personal thoughts…or they are just some scribbles from somewhere to gather thoughts of others…!? I wonder…! 🙂
    Yet that put a smile on one’s face …is a definite… 🙂

    PS. Reader….! You said it…almost all…
    Glad to know you don’t feel a requirement for another shot…at life.. me a greedy one… 🙂

    • MonaLisa,

      There is a beautiful cause described in one word in Sanskrit for my type of contentment. Its called “Karma”.

      Karma is mine.. and mine alone.. it doesn’t compare with the work and results of my parents, siblings, wife or kids or outsiders in the society.

      Suppose I have a small task to do and others are doing a more complex one… I am as happy at mine as the others are at their own… my task is my karma… theirs is theirs…

      I have noticed a lot of young ones deeply frustrated at their states while some of their less talented friends get a head start merely because they have a better support group.

      Such comparisons serve no purpose.

      I am only as good as I do something with all my heart. The rest is Karma.

      For example, I love music. I play some elementary notes on some instruments. But I wouldn’t dare play on a stage even if I was egged on by divine powers.

      Not only because I know how bad I am, but I also know a real egg when it flies through the darkness and lands on the face…

  4. Dear Mr. Nandy and Sharmila

    Since you are a chess buff, may I respond to your post in the jargon of chess?


    A game opens but once, Mr, Nandy. Think well ahead before you touch the piece. No back-moves. Chess is a war game.

    Choose your strategy. Each game is played only once.

    A Ruy Lopez, a Queen’s open gambit or a King’s Indian defense?

    Or, perhaps an Alekhine attack?


    Decisions.. decisions.. decisions…

    One false move and your army is killed one soldier at a time.

    What are you doing? Is it time to open the flanks? Or should you protect the castle?

    Feign an advantage where there is none or place a decoy to divert the offensive?

    Is positional strength enough? Quo Vadis thy warriors?

    One move at a time. Just one move forward. No back moves. Life is like that. No back moves.

    End Game:

    The moment is here. It’s now or never. Do or die, Capablanca.

    You need no bishops now. Sacrifice the knights. Sacrifice the pawns. The end is here. Seal the escape doors.

    Close in from all sides. Strip the King of all his powers.

    What a rooky after all.

    Checkmate! my friend… 🙂

  5. 🙂 Reader…
    Sounds like you have faced that situation in real…
    If not…you should at least try once…we’ll see…what the actual response from the audiance is…! I will be right there to help you count eggs if situation turned out to be different than expected…
    About “Karma”…I believe that’s all we got in our hands…whether we believe in it or not…

    • MonaLisa,

      Egg-on-the-face you mean? Yes ofcourse. Not once, many times.

      I have been insulted, humiliated, scorned and thrown out!

      Not for playing a musical instrument… but in real life… for playing my own tune that did not please the decision makers… like my school teachers, my college professor, my wife’s father, my employers… etc…

      Life is like that. I can’t take those events in my stride. I can’t smile.

      I withdraw.

  6. I am most tempted to post Shoba De’s blog here. Lets see what reactions this one evokes. I enjoy Mr Nandy’s casual style the most, its like sitting down with him under a grand old tree and talking about everything under the sun. Shoba De’a recent one was astounding to say the least. Here it is. Not sure what was going on in her head at that time.

    Fida Factor – Rahulji, will you be my Valentine

    A week from now, lovers the world over will be going completely mad. But on Valentine’s Day, guess who’ll be laughing all the way to the bank? Florists! While i don’t plan to send guldastas to India’s heart-throb (the Dimpled One, who else?)I am all set to pen him a prem patra reflecting the ardent feelings of his panting admirers.

    Dearest, Chweetipie Rahul,

    Mwaah! Mwaah!

    I’m writing this on behalf of thousands of young girls across India, who are totally fida over you. For now, i’m leaving out the young boys. That is your special appeal. I believe you are known as the ‘unisex hottie’ by your adoring fans. All this is good for any young person’s ego. But as a former agony aunt and current “grandma Moses”, let me tell you, being a heart-throb is not all that easy. Especially for someone in your unique position. “Dil ki dhadkan” is one thing. But you have to deal with “desh ki dhadkan”. And this desh is vast and varied, Rahulji. As you well know. Your helicopter chakkars all over the place must have given you a pretty good idea by now. To say nothing about your impromptu visits to chhota villages, with or without foreign diplomats in tow. In fact, it was your very first photo op in a jhopdi, sharing a frugal meal with the poorest of the poor that broke so many female hearts. ‘Cho chweet’, chorused all those girls, as they watched you sit awkwardly on a khatiya before you turned in for the night, wrapped in a rustic razai. Chicks go for such stuff big time! It brings out their motherly instinct. They feel protective and mushy. They love a man who can rough it out —it proves he is made of stern stuff. Your mama must have been worried, but that’s what mamas are for. And even though you do come across as a maa da ladla, the girls who love you believe you are definitely not spoilt (“bigad nahi gaya”, they coo). Plus, independent minded, too. I mean, at close to 40, mama has not managed to bully you into marriage. That’s unusual in India. A feat!

    Now to the crucial question: when is the big day, Rahulji? There are only two bachelor boys left in your super league, and one of them is saying, he isn’t interested in getting hitched since he already has babies! Go figure. Yup. That’s a Salman original, and if Sallu Bhai’s trail of broken hearts gets any longer, there will be a line going up to the Himalayas and beyond. The other eligible bachelor boy is still a baby and rumour has it he is taken. Sid Mallya just may beat you in the Valentine stakes this year, especially after Baby Mallya ripped off his ganji, post-Mumbai Marathon. But there are years to go before he gets hitched. Unless …. There is Ness, of course. But we guess, he has a lot on his… err… mind. The others don’t really count. Pundits (political and the other astro kind) are predicting a shaadi for you in 2011. In fact, those in the know in Dilli claim the date is set, and the dulhan is getting her trousseau ready even as we speak. Bol Rahul, bol, sangam hoga ki nahi? If wedding bells are about to clang, you’d better beat the British royals to the altar. We don’t want our prince to receive less international coverage than … what’s his name, again? Yes, William.

    Of late, you have been talking very sensibly. Mothers of prospective brides like that. You want to bring back all the black money stashed away in those secretive Swiss banks. The money you say belongs to India’s poor. While we don’t really understand how India’s poor were looted of their money, which is now accumulating in foreign accounts, it sounds very noble and honourable. We really like noble and honourable young men, considering there aren’t too many of them around. We also liked all that stuff about rooting out corruption and cleaning up the system. Your father used to say that, too. But a few unfortunate deals got in the way. Most of us have forgotten, but not Ram Jethmalani, God bless his memory. The thing is, our youngsters have what is known as ADS (Attention Deficit Syndrome). They have no time for history and that’s why they love you. You also don’t bother about history and boring stuff like that. You prefer action, like changing the life of that orphan boy in one minute. Nice! Looks good. Feels good. Reads good. Lucky boy. And your humility! Mummyjis really appreciate that quality and keep saying how simple and humble you are even though you belong to such a great family and all that. It’s true. You asked for 10 years to clean up corruption. That was simple of you. Another hot-headed, impatient, show-off politician would have demanded 50. See? Indians are sentimental and understanding. They know you are not a magician. But they also know if anybody can do it, it is you.

    Rahulji, you have no rival, no equal. Even Rajni can’t match you. If there is one hero Rajni cannot take on, it is you. Mind it! So, on behalf of those million hearts going dhak dhak for you this Valentine’s Day, let me wish you a super romantic, pyaar bhara time ahead. Cupid is standing by with several arrows ready. India awaits the most anticipated reality show of all time – ‘Rahul Ka Swayamvar’. All are invited. No presents please. Only blessings!

    • Reader…
      Now what kind of English would you call it..!? omg..! What does she write..!? She is a writer …right..!???
      I read her posts before on her blog…too…but I never could decide…should I pull my hair after reading that or go and pull her hair out…! 🙂
      Never read her book though…never wish to either…haha..

      • MonaLisa,

        Shobha de writes uncontaminated poop.

        ‘Uncontaminated’ because it is in the purest form of crap.

        Sheer bilge.

        Never liked her style or thoughts.

    • Sharmila,

      Shobha de seems very impressed by what Rahul Gandhi is.

      Actually that’s not a good sign for Rahul if you knw what Shobha de is.

      I remember, Shobha de was punched on the nose by Dharmendra on the over bridge outside Taj on the Marine drive in Mumbai. She was out of circulation with scars and plasters for the rest of the year. She had written a scandalous piece in Flimfare about him and Meena Kumari after the release of “Phool aur Patther’.

      In the late ’70s, she had a flat at Koregaon park next to Osho’s ashram where we played cricket. She was an incorrigible alcoholic and an all night party freak. She started wearing sarees after her 60th birthday when the shoulders became wrinkled.

      Isn’t it a tad too late for a valentine for herself?

      Grandma Moses, indeed… her ten commandments would be…

      Bloody Mary, Dimple, Champagne, Johnny Walker, Napolean, Vat 69, Sherry, Cogniac, Gin and Tonic. 🙂

      • Reader…
        Probably that’s the Indian way or Bombay style of writting the stuff…far more superior, appealing and effective than substandard American English…in your opinion I guess…How do The Brits feel about that now..!? Did they change their Dictionary..!? or they still are ” The Snobs”…the way they were before….!? 🙂

      • Reader…
        Her kind of humor is..not working…
        Might be working well with the ppl over there though…I don’t know…may be..!

      • MonaLisa,

        Ah… now you know why the English left the country without a fight… Shobha de’s Hinglish was enough to scare them away…

        In Delhi when someone speaks like that they say,

        “Angrez chale gaye, par inhe chhod gaye…”

        “The English have gone, but they left these behind…”


      • 🙂 🙂
        All her Ten Commandments are so tempting…absolutely stunning…she must be…! 🙂
        Btw…what was she wearing before turning 60…or nothing at all….!?

      • MonaLisa,

        Gowns… mostly upside down…

  7. “We have all been programmed to perpetually hunt down and fulfil the big tasks of life”
    Well…well…well..! Surprise…surprise…! never knew everybody in India is programmed that way…Wow..!
    Now we feel like Idiots…! 😦

  8. Sharmila,

    Thanks for putting up Shobha de…

    Now Pritish Nandy looks like a saint!


    • Ha Ha.. The part that really got me was chweetipie and mwah mwah..

    • Lol …Reader…! Saint…! Yep….right…!
      So….I gave a serious thought to his wish list…and it occured to me that…
      Why not we all chip in and fulfill atleast his one wish… lets hang him down the plane…and let him jump…you decide…would we be able to afford the papachute or not…depending on our fund… 🙂

      • MonaLisa,

        Hope the two don’t meet. Shobha de and Pritsh Nandy are both bengalis. She has enough clout to make him look like a Saint Bernard.

        Yes, we can fulfill that wish. Parachute? What for? Theres only one way out of a biplane… straight down.. he can’t get lost…

        In fact, the parachute is big threat… its too slow… he might write a poem or something on the way down…

      • 🙂 Reader…
        lol…Would they gang up on us..!? Aren’t you a mightier sward than them…collectively…!? you write much better than them….unless some so called prominent names get more weightage than less known or unknowns…and stuff really don’t matter… 🙂

      • MonaLisa,

        All the prominence I need is a few persons, whom I choose, to know me as I am.

        I don’t want to win the world.

        Many think I am a fool, but I am glad I am, if that be so!


  9. Time to go now…you have a great one.. bye for now…c ya.

  10. Reader, have you thought of collecting all your spoofs and other creative satires somewhere? Yes, they are all here on Sharmila’s blog, but not that easy to access any more.

    A Reader’s Digest for the new millennium? 🙂

    • Renate,

      I know someone who is saving them off the blog in a folder for me.

      It’s all situational humor, Renate. I doubt they’ll make sense if read out of context.

      Like, yesterdays Sharmila-Nurse duel. 🙂

      • Perhaps she won’t mind if you forward me the folder 🙂

        I like your writings a lot!

        After all, even much of Wodehouse’s was situational humor.

      • Dr. Renate,

        You automatically assumed the gender!

        Wodehousian humor is ageless… from kids of 5 to old men on their last lap, wodehouse can make anyone laugh!

        My brothers children would roll on their beds begging me to stop!!!

        “Kaka enough.. baaaaaasssssssssssss…!” (Baaasss is enough in Marathi)

        They called me ‘Kaka’

        My usual job was to tell them comic stories after dinner.

        I would create something so absurd, they’d laugh their way to bed!

        The younger one, Kanchan, even laughed in her sleep, dreaming about the stuff.

  11. Sharmila,

    Don’t we have enough space here for everyone?

    Or is it necessary to displace one to make room for another?

    • ? Rephrase the question pls.. Who is displacing who??

      • Rephrasing the question:

        Where is Aishwarya?

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Was waiting for Sharmila’s post… I dont know what a bucket list is… 😦

      • Aishwarya,

        Its a bit larger than a tumbler and smaller than a drum…

        Glad you are back… I don’t want Sharmila to think anyone is keeping away from the blog because of me…

        I hog too much space anyway…


        PS: I know you like the songs… don’t get me wrong.. I am not trying to flirt or make passes… its neither my wont nor my style… I don’t romance in real life…

      • You know my choice. I love the songs. Thank you.

      • Aishwarya,

        I am sorry. I am always scared of being misunderstood.

        Blame it on my Rahu-Mithun lagna in the patrika. Causes immense obssession and disappointments… Not only to me… even to others…

        Got to be careful…

      • Relax. I know you. Been friends for a while now.

  12. Sharmila, Aishwarya, MonaLisa, Renate, Anand, Ninad and EF,

    Here is a real time stunner for all. Released by Nasa on 31/01/2011. Worth sharing. First 360 degree view of our Sun.

    The solar sphere as observed by STEREO and the Solar Dynamics Observatory on January 31, 2011. Because the STEREO separation was still slightly less than 180o at that time, a narrow gap on the far side of the Sun has been interpolated to simulate the full 360o view. The gap and quality of farside imaging will improve even more in the days and weeks ahead.

  13. Where is Aishwarya?

    • Aishwarya Says:


      You are naughtier than the little boy who bit me in clinic today! And he’s just 2!

      Okay…okay…you win! (Has it ever been otherwise?)

      • I win or lose… I don’t negotiate…

        You seem to have put up something stark… its violating human rights in this region… doesn’t play even on youtube…

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Did I negotiate?
        Silence is not a negotiation. Silence is not a self defense. Silence is like the nothingness of a zero. (Quotes from my favorite writer)

        Song retrying…

      • Aishwarya Says:

        I give up… 😦

      • Aishwarya,

        Don’t re-try again. Its blocked by the ISP here on YouTube. Syas clearly “This Video contains….”

        It may be playing in other regions. Never mind.

        Lots of sites and pages are blocked here. Many social networks are selectively blocked because of four letter words used by the account holders or their following.

        There is some sort of tracking mechanism.

        Its good in a way. I like the control. I prefer that sort of censorship. Abusive language is not freedom of speech.

      • Restricted by Sony Music Entertainment. ‘Yeh kya hua’ sung by Shreya Ghoshal. One of my favorites. Nothing atrocious.

  14. Where is Aishwarya?

  15. Where is Aishwarya?

  16. Where is Aishwarya?

  17. Where is Aishwarya?

  18. Where is Aishwarya?

  19. Where is AIshwarya?

  20. Okay.. bye for now.. better get out of here before I am taken for granted…

    Dhanyawaad… bahot bahot dhanywaad… meherbaani… shukriya.. thank you.. spasiba tavaish… yahan humara interval hota hai… eto enteyaatta… yaane ke.. wakfaa… madhyaantar… yeh interval ho sakta hai pandhara minute ka hai…ya pandhara ghante ka… ya pandhara mahine ka… lekin joker ka tamaasha khatam nahin hua… joker ka tamassha… khatam nahin hua… jaayiega nahin… mera tamaasha khatam nahin hua… jayiega nahin… jayiega nahin… hmmmm… jaana kahaaannn?…

  21. Seems your interval is longer than 15 minutes…Reader

    • Sorry… I was away spending money on sundries… hate myself in a shop full varieties…

      Why can’t life be simple… why should there always be a choice for everything?


      Rhetoric of tired spirit…. ignore..

  22. Reader,

    There is no more ‘reply’ space left under the Wodehouse sub-thread, so I’ll put this at the end.

    Don’t underestimate your stuff just because it’s casual and comes easy for you. Please do send me the folder, if he/she/it won’t kill you for doing it.

  23. Reader,

    Thanks 🙂

  24. Renate,

    I need to find some more info on the Solar magnetic fields. I was impressed by the next video too in the same series. The two Stereo probes are continuously mapping the surface of the Sun. The next few videos are going to be amazing.

  25. Yes, please keep us updated. It’s really amazing what imaging can do nowadays.

    • Renate,

      Idam shrestham jyotisha jytish aagaat chitrah… etc

      This is the final frontier of intelligence… the spirit of the Sun!!!!

      (Rig Veda.. 1.113.1)

      Or is it?… Who knows… 🙂

  26. Of course it is.

    Where do you come from?

    Where does your food come from?

    Where does your warmth comes from?

    The energy circling in your brain?

    • 🙂

      Don’t be sure till you know. Its easier to say, “Who knows..”

      If warmth comes from the Sun, why is Space so cold?

      If food comes from the Sun, why do I need earth?

      If I come from the Sun, why do I need a mother?

      If the energy is all there is, what is a soul?

      Wait… wait.. wait… this exuberance of rhetoric… from Amar Akbar Anthony…

      Wait till we know.. till then lets stick to “Who knows…”

  27. Ok,

    I can’t answer the bit about the soul. Who knows…..

    I did not say space’s warmth, but yours. That comes from your food.

    Your food grows in the earth – the molecules are from the earth and the air and the water – but the energy-containing bonds that keep your life are from the sun.

    Your mother came from the sun, too. And hers.

    Ever since photosynthesis was invented.

    Interesting point – how was the energy fixated before photosynthesis?

    I should know this!!!!! Will know asap and come back.

    Goooooddddd Niiiigggghttyyyy Naaaiiiiiiittttt. 🙂

  28. Reader,

    Have you ever thought about what a wondrous thing “Activation Energy” is?

    There are only 118 or so elements in the Periodic Table, and all of life (and most of the rest) is made up from a tiny fraction of those.

    And yet, go into your jungle and look around – how many, many, many permutations do you see of those few elements?

    What keeps them all in line, let’s an elephant stay an elephant? Activation Energy!!

    • 118 is an enormous number as it is for permutation and combination.

      Man with merely six senses has discovered the universe!

      • What are your senses made out of? In the end it all comes down to the Periodic Table.

        And please tell me more about the sixth.

      • There are 118 (far more than that actually including the rare earths and radioactive elements) elements.

        Of these chemistry of some are used for the human senses. The five that are used for detection and the sixth is the user.

      • Now, the obvious question is “what” is this user.

        Evidently the user is the missing element in a corpse.

  29. Oops!

    Header, ahem .. I mean Reader, I follow you way too much……

    Here, too:


    Lets, not let’s in this case

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  30. Renate,

    Okay you know some. I know some. Some know some. For the rest we’ll say “Who knows…”

    I am not sure what the new map of the Sun will tell us. Lets wait and learn.

    Will the spirit of the Sun tell me why I need food?

    Why am I born, why do I grow and why do I die? Why do I eat the earth that I am made of?

    The Veda calls the Sun the final frontier of intelligence – the Savitr.

    Is it really the final frontier? What is there beyond intelligence? Wouldn’t you like to know?

    I do.

  31. Reader,

    Yes, I would love to know. Know without doubts or conjectures.

    • Renate,

      “Knowing” is always without doubt and conjecture. If you have to say it then you are trying to defend something.

      There is no such thing as a knowledge of faith.

      • Point noted.

        So, how do we go about expanding our knowledge?

        Is it “known” whether we have a soul or not?

      • Renate,

        Knowledge is not an ordered collection of data.

        Data is simply what is perceived by our senses, either in experiments or by accidents.

        We derive the concept from the data. The concept, sans measuring units, is information.

        Information used to define a state is knowledge.

        Knowledge sans the state is Wisdom.

        So, are you asking if the soul is an object/data/fact? Frankly, I don’t know…

      • I don’t think a soul is an object or a data or a fact.

        I think it is a process, if at all it is.

  32. Reader,
    Let me know when you know…

    • MonaLisa,

      Why don’t we search for it together?

      I may never know… but at least the expedition will be fun!

      • Bring some souvenirs back for the rest of us….

      • Who is the rest of us? There are no rest of us. Everyone is on board. No one shall rest in peace! 🙂

      • 🙂 🙂 Reader…
        Let me know from where,when & what you start with..
        Expeditions are always fun….Journey….always matters…when..where..how it ends…who knows…!? 🙂

      • MonaLisa,

        Lets start with ‘Who Knows…’

        Renate knows what she knows, I know what I know, You know what you know, so does every one… if we build this vehicle together… it will not need wheels… it will fly!

  33. Well…! Don’t get me wrong …but I thought the expedition is about…to know beyond…Who knows…! Beyond the Intellect…
    And now you directly …want to fly…Hmmm…man..! You are so fast…! 🙂

    • MonaLisa,

      Yes. Its a journey into the unknown. Join me. Bring your knowledge with you. I don’t have enough. But remember, the knowledge is the fuel for this vehicle. It will be used for the energy and discarded. You can’t preserve this fuel. It has to be burnt for our journey to move on.

      For example, Newton said action and reaction are equal and opposite. He proved it too.

      Einstein proved him wrong. There is no reaction in a vacuum. He proved it as well. So, Newton’s law was discarded for non-mechanical events. But that law was the fuel that lead Einstein to come up with his own.

      We need the fuel of knowledge. Defend it with your life. But burn it when you want to move on…

      • That burning is called ‘Homa’ in Sanskrit. It’s the most interesting part of a yadnya. Every hymn in the Rig is the recital of a yadnya. The homa part is usually in the last verse or the end of a theme.

  34. Interesting.

    It burns the part before itself and leads to the next? So the Rig never really ends?

    • I hope it ends somewhere. I don’t want this to go on forever. I feel trapped, in this body and in this universe of obviousness. Discovering stuff that already exists is all there is for pastime here.

      • Wow, Reader, you have a need to be out of the whole big box? If nothing here holds you, that’s quite a burden to carry.

      • Reader…
        As far as I can know or figure out….one needs to get out of anything…any situation in two conditions…
        @ when he is too contented…
        @ when he is too frustrated….
        I might be wrong..but you sound inbetween…by whtever you are showing in here…
        What is the actual reason to look for the way out permanently..if possible..

      • Renate, MonaLisa,

        What if you are asked to repeat the same grade in the school for the rest of your lifetime?

        Or what if you are only learning stuff that is discovered by someone else already?

        Or what if you are only using this created universe for surviving a few more years?

        Do you count that as a “purpose” for staying alive?

  35. Lol…Reader…
    If you don’t have enough…then who is…!? I can bring what I got…will be not enough..i guess…
    About such journey…don’t you think…one needs to take it kinda slow…!? One thing… one day at a time…! Slow and steady wins the race…pumping up too much fuel and energy initially might leave us high & dry in the end…
    Or is it an era of the fast pace in that matter too…!? I don’t know…Do you…!?

    • MonaLisa,

      Don’t worry about slow and fast. No matter which coach one is in the whole train reaches the destination at the same time!

      Just make sure you are in a coach that is attached to the train.

      Too much energy is right.

      But you know 90% of the fuel is burnt at the take-off.

      Once the vehicle leaves the earth’s pragamatic gravity, the vehicle moves at supersonic speeds on very little fuel… the inertia is the strongest resistence on earth…

  36. True….so now it sounds like an expedition to some other planet…or The Universe …may be..!

    • 🙂

      Or may be the edge of this unverse and beyond?

      Who knows…

      • Journey sounds pretty interesting to me…Reader…! lol…! It’s a kind of situation…which reminds me of the song…” Take me Baby…one more time”….lol..

        Do you think opting out serves any purpose to find out “the purpose” of our existence…!?

      • MonaLisa,

        Ofcourse not. Opting out is not even an option. All I said is that it is boring.

        But that boredom is probably because of a silent moving dimension called Time.

  37. Hmmmm….sorry…..the imbed did not work.

    The link does though, does it not?

  38. It’s my favourite of old and you know it already, but you guys gave me the cue, so here it is:

    Universe am I by Donovan

  39. Now I pasted the link only, no imbed, and the same thing happened.

    I can see the following:

    “This video contains content from Sony Music Entertainment. It is restricted from playback on certain sites.”

    And below it says:

    “Watch on youtube”

    in a link that is active from my computer. What am I missing here?

  40. Or better: What are YOU missing?

  41. Middle East must not be an active part of the Universe then.

    My apologies for presuming 😛

  42. But to get back to what you said above, and this thread is becoming so unwieldy that I will cite you to yourself in order to continue here::

    “Renate, MonaLisa,

    What if you are asked to repeat the same grade in the school for the rest of your lifetime?

    Or what if you are only learning stuff that is discovered by someone else already?

    Or what if you are only using this created universe for surviving a few more years?

    Do you count that as a “purpose” for staying alive?”

    Who said there was a purpose? That’s religion’s domain, to find a purpose for those who need to believe in one.

    For the rest of us there is no purpose and what we do is to occupy/distract ourselves to a degree which makes life bearable or even better than that.

    Evolution has taken care of making this possible for most of us. The rest – oh well, not evolution’s problem, who is left by the wayside.

  43. MonaLisa, Renate,

    I am off to the office where I am usually off as you know…

    Guuuuuddd Nnnnnaaaaaiiiiiiiittttt if you are…

  44. Not quite yet at 8 pm, but if you’re off, you’re off…

  45. Sharmila,

    तुम कहाँ हो?

    Hopefully only shaking you head over our conversations and not down with the flu still….

  46. Sharmila..
    Good to know..you feeling better..
    You ..watching “Big Brother”…!? Never knew you watch that kinda shows…!!!
    All those reality shows are so badly scripted..in my opinion..! At least I can’t take that kinda crap.. 🙂
    Choices differ…we are individuals…
    Anyway….Will see you again when you put up your article…

  47. Renate,

    You asked for this one. I usually don’t comment on religion and its deemed purpose. I’ll avoid it if I can. But you made sweeping sentences in your response. So I must speak up.

    I’ll speak for myself.

    I do not recognize any such thing as a ‘domain of religion.’ (Your words)

    As far as I am concerned, a rational purpose has nothing to do with religion.

    Some religions even seek pride in not having a rational purpose.

    Here’s an event:

    I, once, started a Road Safety Workshop in a rather provocative manner. I had got the list of delegates on the previous day. About 80% of them were arab undergraduates, mostly logistics coordinators from different oil companies.

    After the preliminary introductions, I projected a somewhat intriguing line on a viewgraph.

    I had written in a cursive colorful font:

    || Road Traffic Accidents are Man-made disasters, like Religion. ||

    I asked all those who agree to raise their hands. There was just one hand up which incidently was my own.

    So, I changed the knack. I called a syndicate discussion on each table to debate the line among themselves.

    Two questions for the GD:

    1. Is religion a man-made disaster?

    2. Is driving on roads similar to religion?

    At the end of the session I gave them a break.

    Everyone was expecting an open forum to discuss the topic.

    Instead, I gave a post-it sticker to each one and asked them to write their own answers on it, without disclosing their names or ID.

    Their seemed to be a sense relief. Somehow, people become bolder about these subjects when incognito.

    Over 90% wrote agreed that religion is a man-made disaster; Only 50% said driving is similar to religion.

    The learning value is this:

    Driving has a rational purpose. Religion, today, has lost its way.

    Religion was originally assigned the role of putting philosophy into words, perspective and a rational context. Instead it played with the words, distorted the perspective and ridiculed the hopes of its disciples.

    Once upon a time it had a respectful domain, an opportunity to create good history.

    Instead, it spread fear and hatred and malice.

    The recorded history of religion is not about the discovery of God. Its about inquisition, sodomy, blasphemy and political clout. Religion thrived on feudalism.

    If religion had a purpose, it was only to make sure that no one has a rational one!

    Purpose is a value. It is achieved by virtues and ethics. If you surrender this value to religion, you’ll have no reason to decide your own virtues and ethics. Religion will decide them for you.

    Religion, incidently, offers only one pretension of a value in exchange – Death.

    Life is ‘bearable’ (your word) only for those who do not surrender values, virtues and ethics to religion. For the rest it is a curse.

    I don’t want to know how to die. I am learning how to live.

    Lastly, about evolution:

    Evolution is not only about growing or reducing cartileges or flesh in different parts of the body. Evolution is also about the development of the mind.

    I believe we have now reached a point in evolution where we can do away with all forms of religion.

    I’ll decide my values (purpose in this case), virtues (integrity in this case) and code of ethics.

    • Correction: para 3

      I do not recognize any such thing as a ‘domain of religion.’

      Only domain of religion are your words. The sentence is mine.

    • Disclaimer: I am not an aethist. I believe in the philosophical premise of a Creator… not a volitional God presiding over rituals…

      • Reader,

        If you equate purpose with value I agree with what you are saying above.

        But that was not the way I was using the word. I say that I have values, but no purpose. Does that mean my values are wrong or incomplete or non-existent, as you define “value”, or do I need an additional word for “purpose” in order to express what I mean to say?

        Perhaps this discussion is also not the “purpose” of Sharmila’s blog either, maybe we should stop this and just enjoy the expedition into the wilds of the universe.

      • Renate,

        You are right. Lets keep this discussion off this space. Religion is a humorless subject.

    • ‘Life is ‘bearable’ only for those who do not surrender values, virtues and ethics to religion. For the rest it is a curse.”
      Where do those inbetween go..!? What values & ethics have to do with the kind of life one leads..!? Ask A Don..A politician…and many others…Who do not fit into that criteria..
      What are values…ethics and virtues…btw..!? I don’t know…do you..!?

      • MonaLisa,

        Virtues, code of ethics and values are concepts, defined as follows:

        A virtue is the ability of applying conceptual learning.

        There are 6 virtues: Honesty, Integrity, Sense of justice, Independence, Rationality and Productivity.

        A code of ethics is the discipline of how the virtues are applied. If I translate a virtue into money – say two persons have the same amount of money – One may invest it to develop a new technology and another may use it make bombs of destruction – The virtues are the same, ethics are different.

        Values are the achievements of the virtues. There are only 3 values associated with the individual ‘Self’ – Sense of Life, Purpose and Self-Esteem.

        Sense of Life or Life itself is a primary value; Purpose is the rational objective; Self-esteem is the inviolate certainty that life is worth living.

        There is nothing in between. The same generics apply whether a person is a criminal or a saint.

  48. Reader,


    I will give you an answer, only right now it is my “office” which is keeping me from spending enough time to do it right away. Sorry 😦

    But, in the words of my former Governor: “I’ll be back!”

  49. Don’t worry, he is not a direct relative. My family are peaceful farmers with a few engineers thrown in.

  50. Sharmila, MonaLisa,

    What part of this page seems like ‘Big Brother’?

    If it is the videos I put up for calling Aishwarya, then I am sorry. I won’t do it again.

    I did that because I don’t like any regular to remain away for unknown reasons.

    I didn’t mean to be vulgar or indecent. I am sure she has better things to do.

  51. Do you see everything in positive and negative films…!?
    Are there no grey areas..!?
    Who decides what’s essential..and how…!?
    Your values might not be as valuable to me as you think it is..to you..
    who wrote those ethical codes…!? We humans did..Does that apply equally universally..!? I don’t know…
    Ethical codes differ from person to person…
    Forget about person to person…the dame person acts differently in different situations and different circumstances…
    When you talk about and divide into two…1. ppl submitting to religion and 2. those who don’t…then shouldn’t forget the inbetweens who believes in a particular religion..yet they don’t follow blindly…stand tall..holding their grounds and values..
    ps…Negativity is a perception too…our definition of negativity might not be the same for others..

    • MonaLisa,

      Lets move on. This is nice to discuss but neither important nor necessary.

      I’ll reply to the above and we’ll stop right here, hmm?

      Virtues and values are individual traits of individual personalities. They are not underlying themes of political sociology.

      The common thread that binds a couple, a family, a community, a society or a nation is not individual virtues and values, it’s politcis or inter-dependence.

      A code of ethics is required by an individual person for his/her own virtues and also the 3 values – self-esteem, purpose and life.

      When this code is the same, people form families and societies. In other words, they agree with each other on the code.

      Nonetheless, it’s necessary to have one before we agree. If we don’t then it is imposed by others.

      You are right about my black and white views. I find it difficult to tread the middle on this subject.

      Perhaps a personality defect in me. I am sure there are many more – enjoy some… suffer some…


  52. 🙂 Reader…
    Never knew you will give in or give up so easily….you must be really tired of me… 🙂
    You drift very easily sometimes…nevermind..! 🙂

    • MonaLisa,

      Not tired. This is all I know that is worth sharing. I am not a reporter or a seagull manager.

      Do you know what is a seagull manager?

      The seagull flies over the fishing boats near the shore, craps on the mast, comes back to its base and tells it’s pals, “All under control, don’t ya worry!”

      Richard Bach’s Jonathans are only in the books! 🙂

  53. Reader…
    Not looking for a “cleaner” either…
    The knowledge sourcing from anywhere..either books or anywhere..are useful only when one can put into practice to make things better…make one’s life better…the surroundings better…or else it remains just a fairy tale…!
    One doesn’t have to be a seagull manager…The cleansing process from within..is the first step rather to move forward on the path…the journey we were discussing about…
    The questions always arise…which needs to be answred…whether from outside or inside…
    discussions are part of the process..to clear the doubts & get the crystal clear ideas…of any matter..anything…any subject..

  54. Sorry…! I am a bad student….never follow my Teachers blindly and always drive them crazy… asking too many Q…necessary or unnecessary… 😦
    Not your fault….it lies within me… 😦

    • Forget about this MonaLisa,

      Nothing to do with you or Renate or Aishwarya…

      Thing is, I am using Sharmila’s page like my father’s property.

      Thats why she called it a Big Brother show.

      I seem to be blocking all casual visitors who may simply want to say hi to Sharmila or a few words on the post.

      If my entries are read in isolation – out of context – they read like a psychiatric case of a bottleneck!

      Lets discuss these subjects off the blog on emails, unless they are relevant to Sharmila’s subjects in the post. This is not a twitter or Facebook or a gossip column.

  55. Oh, and not to put words in Sharmila’s mouth,


    are you sure she meant the Indian TV show


    was she referring to the original Orwellian Big Brother, meaning herself just watching from above?

  56. Reader,

    Does that mean you out for the whole life of that entey then?

    Leaving us with google instead of your presence?

    Google is not life.

  57. sorry entry, meaning post

    • Renate,

      Lifes a-changing rather quick… have to cook my food and do my house keeping for some time… Man Friday and Indian cook no more with me in the new apartment…

      It’s fun… but time consuming nonetheless… I’ll work on my philosophy in the kitchen… 🙂

  58. Looking forward to the new brand of kitchen-philosopy!

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