This was my 6th visit to the Niagara Falls since I've been in the US - just a little over a year. Each one has been quite different from the others. Each time with different company. The only constant thing is my obsession with the river.
This visit marks the end of a glorious summer... a few of the best 4 months of my life... a summer that started out with anticipation, leading to trepidation, merriment, care-free-ness, joy and sheer bliss - a second childhood.
Summer's ended. But does everything end here? Hope not...
So what if I'm all the way across the globe from where I was less than a year ago? The things I like haven't changed one bit. So what if I dont have a bike to ride anymore? I have a lake right on campus. So what if I can't get the thrill of riding without a helmet? The cool breeze ruffles my hair and follows me everywhere on campus. So what if I cant do the things I was so used to doing back home? The forbidden pleasures are the norm out here. So what if I can't meet the people I grew up with? The people here are the ones who're building their lives with me.
Am I displaced? Do I miss home? Do I think this is better? I don't know. How can you possibly compare two complementary scenarios?
From the time of my oldest memories, I remember Anna telling me about "Dwiteeya Vigna".
It is nice and fun to do something the first time round. It's doing it the second time that takes the most effort. Effort in terms of motivation to repeat it the second time; also in terms of seeing it through to completion the second time. If you do manage to get through the second time, further repetitions come easier.
How very true!
I am no workaholic. I am rather the happy-go-lucky kinds that will do something only for the pleasure of doing it. If something doesn't seem interesting enough or pose enough of a challenge to me, I wont consider doing it even the first time. If I have done something once, there's no fun in doing it a second time round. I'd rather try something new.
But somethings have gotta be seen through to completion. And that's what's keeping me going for now.
Getting my first degree - I didn't have a choice. Had to do it. Did it. To try to get a second - that required 'some' work - to let go of a life where I had it all and land myself into a godforsaken place, eternally at war with the whims of nature. Can't complain about that - I chose this way of life. In hindsight... whatever was I thinking!
Now, it's time for dwiteeya vigna all over again. I just wanna get through this semester. The next one is going to be nice and easy (at least, I'm hoping it will be) and I don't see a fourth on the horizon - may not be one after all.
It's interesting to note that everyone I know or have heard of are complaining about their second semester. What are the odds that every opinion you hear from persons known and unknown coincide? You'd expect that there's someone who has had a different experience. I'm waiting to hear from that someone. The expectation of this random variable tending to zero is Zero.
The other day I was watching an old Jackie Chan movie with a few friends. One of the characters named Ting Ting delivered this dialogue quite nonchalantly.
"We're born and we die; we don't know why."
Her rhythmic sing-song tone cracked us all up. We decided to put it up as our status messages. So all 4 of us had it on together. None of our other friends could fathom what we were upto. We kept at it for a whole day. Then my friends found expression with different quotes, while I still retain the same.
What a beautiful and concise summation of all human life!
We give ourselves airs that we've made great progress in every walk of life. We consider ourselves superior to all other life forms. We take great pride in the comforts and havoc caused by advances in science. We rave about our philosophical thoughts, astrological predictions, psychological control and paranormal experiences. We proclaim ourselves happy at times; we vehemently cry foul and accuse Fate or God for all our miseries. We think we are in control as long as things go our way; the minute things begin to fall apart, we conveniently give up saying it's beyond our powers.
Fact of life... We delude ourselves every moment of the day, irrespective of being conscious or unconscious or semi-conscious.
Our waking hours are spent with us investing our beliefs in whatever seems the most convenient for our minds. Our sleeping hours are spent dreaming about things normal and abnormal - not an ounce of reality in those experiences. Our minds are forever deluding us and making us believe in imagined realities. That's how you can force yourself to believe that a certain event doesn't affect you; then the only truth that you experience is that you're not affected in any way. Force yourself to believe the other extreme and you feel miserable and see the after-effects everywhere you go and in everything you do.
Reality is best explained in this Zen proverb :
"If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are."
I altered my status message thus :
"We're born and we die; we don't know why." What a pointless waste!
Another friend who noticed this felt I was being negative and responded with an encouraging statement about life being good and to feel happy about it. I gave him my delusion theory. Delusion is due to lack of knowledge, he shot back.
Indeed! "We're born and we die; we don't know why."