Monday, November 25, 2013

Before They Pass Away

Before They Pass Away
I read this post on my favorite Internet haunt - Brainpickings. I am going to share the accompanying video at the end of this post. It is a great talk. It made me think about the lives of so many people I have met in the past. People who have willingly chosen to do something different and unconventional, usually because of something they experienced at the very beginning of their adulthood. 

It is really difficult to understand the way certain people process what happens to them. Traveling helps in deconstructing our rigid boundaries, especially the ones we inherit from our upbringing. But not all traveling is as paradigm changing as the one you see in these pictures. Some people just become their journey. While some travel in a comfortable bubble they carry around them - of their identity. There is a lot to gain however, in losing your identity. There is a lot to learn just in the act of getting lost. 

People who walk these roads sometimes find it difficult to identify themselves again, in places where they started from. You come back and realize that the place has or hasn't changed in ways you don't want to see. And no matter how rich you are from all your travel, judgment still hurts. Not because you expect a deeper understanding from people but because you cannot translate your experiences into words, for them to understand. There are some realizations that cannot be said. They can only happen at the end of an experience. And going through these kind of experiences takes the courage (or the foolishness) to get lost. 

As an audience we have an insatiable appetite for stories of triumph. Yet, most of us would not want to put ourselves in situations that offer the kind of risk that creates stories of triumph. Most of us choose to stay away from the fear of losing than accept the joy of walking the unknown path. And most of the times, we offer little hope or encouragement to people who are halfway through their own stories of triumph. For them, we speculate failure, citing statistics, or cultural norms, or our (limited) experience. When all the dots are connected, (and they are always connected in retrospect), these stories always defy our idea of how a life "ought" to be lived. 

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