- Taken from Transcendence by Dr. Abdul Kalam (with Arun Tiwari)
An email shows up in my mailbox last week:
My university teacher, also my dear friend passed away recently. I received many books from his collection and they are placed on the third floor. Please feel free to take as many as you want.
Recently, I have developed a keen interest in reading, though my domain is very limited. Still, I went on the third floor to find two cartons of books lying on a table near the elevator. Mostly, they were about mathematics, general science, evolution, astronomy and later on artificial intelligence, computer science. Being curious about space and stuff, I picked up a few and left for my office. On the way, something clicked inside me. I somehow felt connected to the owner of those books. I realised that he must have been a very active reader throughout his life, wondering things about the past (evolution) to that of future (AI, computers, astronomy). Even though he is not here, but the books that I’ve taken along will always remind me that they were unintentionally given by him. What he must have cherished all through his life is still going to make a difference in lives of people like me. Unfortunately, I can not thank him, but it goes without saying. It makes me question myself: what can I give? What can I give selflessly when I’m alive and even beyond?
Books are definitely the first thing that pops into my head, but the question is more important, and deep. The more I ponder on it, the more I question myself. I am not a giver I think, but I wish to spread what I know, maybe that’s an act of giving? We might think that if we keep on giving, then we may not get what we want at the end. But the experience and wisdom of many old (and wise) men have always pointed to the fact that we feel most fulfilled during this act of giving (This has been beautifully portrayed in the book “What can I give” about the former Indian President and Missile Man, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, I can not cite anything better). If you’re reading this, I want you to ask yourself the same thing and if any answers come your way, please, I really mean it, please share with all of us.
This article is meant to be included in my college’s magazine so the examples given here are more relevant to a college student, however, you’ll still get an idea of what I am trying to say once you make your way through these three paragraphs.
Being a Mechanical Engineer in the making, I feel it irresistible to correlate what I see to what I experience. From what I have learnt so far in life, if one do anything with passion, then the similar principles can be used to lead a better life. Sports develop your character, arts develop your creativity. Even a chain-smoker, at some point, develops the awareness that lung cancer and blindness are not too far behind. But usually, he/she neglects it. My experiences with fluid dynamics have provided me an insight to a better day-to-day life and you do not need to be an engineer to understand what I have to say.
There are two kinds of flow that we usually work with: laminar and turbulent. Laminar is a very structured sort of flow in which layers of fluids flow over one another. Think of your classmate who when given a certain condition, will always respond the same. Class bunk karte hain? NAHI! (Let’s bunk the class today? NO!) Bhai aaj class mat ja please? NAHI! (Don’t go to the class bro? NO!) That is what laminar flow is. If you do an experiment over and over again, you will get exactly the same results. Quite a good-boy kind of flow. On the other hand, turbulent flow is characterised by its chaotic nature. No matter how accurately you try to experiment, you can never get two exactly same turbulent flows. Fluctuations are what makes it unique. Though there exists a constant mean value of almost every parameter (like the laminar case), but once the fluctuations come into the picture, the whole story changes. It’s like your attendance at the end of the semester. On an average, it would be somewhere around 70-75%, but if you plot it on a graph for all of your classmates, you know how terribly fluctuating that thing would look like.
I happen to have a theory which I would like to put before you. Our daily lives are just like this turbulent flow: chaotic, non-repeatable and unpredictable. At least for the human beings, I don’t think you can have any two days exactly the same in your entire lifetime. Can you? Fluctuations make up the problems we face, big and small. For someone not taking in the bigger picture, these fluctuations may never seem to fade and could occur endlessly. Have you not seen people complaining about their lives all the time? How about that friend of yours who cries “yaar kuch nahi padha (Hey I didn’t study a thing)” before every exam? Maybe, he’s just creating a pseudo-fluctuation to fool you! Or maybe not. However, as one zooms out, you might start to notice that constant happiness-line hiding behind these problems. You won’t realise it until you are brave enough to look outside the fluctuation box. Happiness does always exist, you don’t even have to ask for it. Once you make your way through the problems, one at a time, you’ll feel it growing inside. It’s like a friend who saves a desk for you despite you getting late in every other class. It’s like that friend who carries you through all of your break-ups. My message here is simple: problems are inevitable, suffering is optional. Think about it!
I’d like to hear your thoughts on my theory. Feel free to complement, amend and criticise it 🙂
Last night, I slept with an excitement to go for running early in the morning. After all, it was a part of my training which I can not afford to skip. Last week, I had not accomplished what my real running target was, and therefore this week seemed pretty important in my training. And this morning was to be an extremely important part of it, it was the time for a speed workout. But, it never happened!
According to my newly founded ritual, I woke up early in the morning, after snoozing the alarm of 5.55 AM and finally making my way up by the one at 6 AM, only to discover that it was pouring down (not raining).
I really wanted to hit the track but it didn’t seem possible, not in this weather. I don’t like giving myself breaks like this, specially when the race is near. At this time, the weather seems to calm down after a huge windstorm and rainy showers. I am hoping to make myself go out there on the track in the evening TODAY. I do not want to cut any slack here because the discontinuities propagate very fast in my case. I want to finish this day of training today because the tomorrow never comes 😉
I was never fond of waking up early, not at least before 8 in the morning. That had always been my usual routine, go to bed around 1 – 2 AM and wake up around 8 – 9 AM and I never thought it was a bad schedule! I could handle all of my works, could get to study late at night if required and despite all this, I am taking a good amount of sleep.
But I changed this schedule no matter how easy it was for me, because there was one thing that I was missing during this, morning! Yes, that early sweet morning I can get to feel now that I never had a chance to experience before. When I wake up now and get outside, that serene environment and the neutral yet positive breeze, fills me up with HUGE amount of energy that keeps me going for the day. Waking up early gives me enough time to make myself a good breakfast and enough time to eat it. I am now never in a hurry to grab the breads and eat them on my way to school.
But yes, this comes on an expense of saying a bitter goodbye to your bed, earlier than you usually do. It hurts a little at that time, but as your feet touch the ground, you feel bad no more. In fact, it feels great! If you have never tried this, you MUST experience this. As they say, early to bed and early to rise……you know what comes next! 😉
So! One more year of our lives is about to pass by! Just like every other year, I am sure that your 2015 must had been a book of mixed feelings, experiences, both good and bad and more importantly, memories. We all in fact strive to make good memories out of time. And before this year officially comes to an end, I’ve tried to create one more memory out of it, and I would call it my way to bid goodbye to the awesome year 2015 was.
Actually, this idea hit my mind last night until I modified it today. Quite fast eh? After coming back from lab late at night, I told myself that the year is about to end, and it would be great to have one last running session before it ends. I was wondering whether to change in my running shoes or in the night wears. Luckily, I didn’t hit the road straightaway otherwise it could not have been possible. It was only while having lunch today, I asked myself, if I’m going to have a last run, why not run 15k for 2015? What could be better than that to remember it this way? Running 15k is not impossible for me that I knew because I’ve had runs of up to 13k last month.
So I hit the track in the evening. I started with a good warm-up and headed on for a soft start. 1k, 2k, 3k, 4k, it was going all fine. I was trying to maintain a pace of 5 min/km otherwise I know that keeping on the track for a long time could be boring like hell, believe me! On 5k,a thought crossed my mind. “It’s good enough. Can’t you feel your legs shaking? Take rest now. You have plans for tomorrow morning” But I told myself no! Not now. I swept another kilometer and when I reached 9k, I heard my brain talking, “9k is pretty good. 44 minutes 18 seconds. This is your best so far. Let’s make this a record and continue training later” I was thinking to stop for while but then I realized that I’ve already came more than the half way, now it’s a matter of few kilometers. Can’t you even do 6k now? I heard the right voice, slowed down a bit so as to make my body to cope-up with the wind. Once I hit 11k, then I started the countdown. At that time, my average pace had gone down to 5:12 min/km and I wanted the original pace back. In the last two laps, I gave it all so as to maintain the average speed. With every step, I was feeling that I am about to do what I thought of! And that feeling was incredible! I completed 15k in an hour and 15 minutes. So much of 15 to end 2015!
I am really thankful that I can run. There are a lot of small things in our lives which we don’t realize until they are gone. My love for running increased more after I had my knee injury. Small things like this make a lot of difference in our life once we act on them. Cherish every damn single thing you have!
And here is my running record:
I hope you had a great year of 2015! Don’t forget to share your adventures 🙂