Monday, November 26, 2012

Near-death experiences change your perspective in life. But imagining the possibility of a near-death experience, however, can motivate you to live your life.

The other day, I was at this furniture shop and was staring at this fancy living-room set. I thought it would blend well with the beige-colored walls in my drawing room and developed an instant liking for it. I reached out for the price tag and my heart went "OH MY !!! MUMMA JUMMA". In case you didn't get the reference, I meant it was too costly. Like most normal people, I felt completely demoralized and slipped into the usual binary logic mode where the mind envisions a universe with just two possibilities: Either I get this very furniture set or walk away with nothing. Emotional attachment always cleaves your world into a two-fold subsistence. All other options seem irrelevant.

Since it felt too expensive, I began thinking if I really need a sofa set in a manner reminiscent of my spartan graduate school lifestyle. More often than not, I find it very easy to convince myself of the lazier option :

After all, I have some chairs. Posture # 1 - check. 
Plus, there's a bed too. Posture # 2 - check. 
Why do I keep forgetting the floor ? Posture # 3  - #7 - check.  

With 7 possible postures, do I really need a sofa now ? Besides, who is going to come to visit me ? So what if they judge me for not having a decent sofa? Also, should I have such shallow people in my life who judge me based on my materialistic decision to buy a sofa set ? They are going to visit me. ME. Not some sofa set. If they want to see a sofa set, why visit me? Let them come to this shop. In fact, I can bring them here and show this very sofa that I thought of buying but never did. They will probably appreciate my taste and I spend no money. Talk about win-win …

My mind went on and on. Building forts and castles of rationalizations, raising a magnificent army of justifications in order to put up a brave defense for choosing the easier option: NOT DO ANYTHING. I must tell you that this was probably the 10th time I came to this shop to buy furniture. I don't know why I keep coming here each time. I must really like the sofa-set. Every time, I come, I see the price-tag, I convince myself that I really don't need a sofa and walk out. In fact, I suspect that no one greeted me when I entered the store that day because they probably recognized my "window-shopping, never spend anything" face.  Does that happen to you? That you have to keep going to the same shop to check out the same TV or laptop or artwork you feel like buying over and over again till you get the courage to take the leap and swipe the credit card ?

In the midst of all this mental rush, a sudden epiphany struck me.


What if I die tomorrow ? What if I get involved in an woeful accident ? 

All of a sudden, I was reminded of my mortality. I recollected what I wrote myself, "At any given time, we are one drunken freak away from ramming his car into us".  Don't we all live conceitedly so sure that nothing like that is going to happen ? What if I die and they go through my stuff and find out that I made a decent salary but lacked the basic energy to get out and buy a simple sofa set. They are all going to say, "Jeez!!! He was a nice guy but he didn't buy a sofa". I can't explain to them that I tried, that I have been here 10 times. I am going to be dead. Remember?  Soon, I was imagining myself having a near-death experience. What if in the last seconds of my life, I keep thinking about the kind of boring life I led and how each time I convinced myself out of doing anything by giving the same argument that it's all arbitrary, nothing is really, really important and there is no point in doing anything wacky even though I wanted to. I didn't want to be that guy. Nope. Don't wanna be that do-nothing who talked himself out of everything because he couldn't find satisfying answers to the 2 existential questions: "Who Cares?" and "What's the point?".
 

And Lo! I brought the sofa home. It was like divine intervention. It's as if the universe reminded me of death to ask me to live properly, have my soda sitting on a sofa and not squatting on the floor.
 
Or may be this is how impulse shopping works. Either way, I learnt something ...




7 comments :

Twilight Musings said...

Funny. It works the opposite to me.
I need to buy a sofa too. (Just threw out the one I got at your life stage. A sofa can only take so much jumping before it breaks, poor thing).

I went and saw sofas. I see them online too. Every time, I go, what is the point? Today I buy sofa and put this body in comfort and tomorrow it is going to break or I am going to die. Then, who cares?

Remember all those history lessons? The 'good' guys become 'bad' and the 'bad' guys become 'good' all the time. The ones who are outcasts become heroes, and the heroes become fools. You are not here to care either way.

Ramya V said...

You surely are influenced by George Carlin's acts! I mean your writing :)

Sash! said...

@twilight: the weird fact is that there is no real purpose for anything the way we define the word "purpose" in terms of wants, efforts and pay-offs. There is just no point to doing anything ...

but do we want to go through the day thinking like that ? I still we are looking for an experience. Besides, EVERYTHING IS AN EXPERIENCE. WE CAN'T AVOID IT. In your case of

"Today I buy sofa and put this body in comfort and tomorrow it is going to break or I am going to die. Then, who cares?" ...

I interpret this as if you just stole an incredible experience of coming up with a creative excuse for not doing something. And I enjoy that kind of stuff time to time :)

@ramya: countless hours of listening to his routines as bed-time stories have made his acts a second nature to my personality ... I can probably do each of his routine. I used to be like that with AR RAHMAN's songs ... So, that makes me a just a foul mouthed non-singer then ? :)

Twilight Musings said...

Perhaps this puts it in context:

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2805#comic

Switch "Arby" to "Sofa".

Now let me go and stop inadvertently stealing more of your experiences. ;)





Ramya V said...

Haha! Carlin and foul-mouth?! Hardly I say! :P His acts got me through some really tough times. Just like wine, he kept on getting better and better with age. His routines were (and still are) my bed-time stories as well. Nothing like going to sleep while laughing at the silliness surrounding us.

Coming to Rahman, he is an amazing singer. So, that should make you a not-foul-mouthed singer. And, yes! You are welcome :D

Sash! said...

@ twilight: :)

I am amazed how you can remind yourselF of SMBC right-in-context ... pretty cool ...

-------

@ ramya: I refer to my PhD days fondly as the "The Carlin Years" - the years I spent obsessing about his work and where the research became the side-attraction.

yeah ... i too love his older routines more, he aged magnificently ...

"Carlin maharaj ki jai ho" - I think he is going to kick me in the you-know-where for saying that ... :)

Twilight Musings said...

Now I know how the rest of PhD students cope.

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