Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Peace...

Peace...

Every language has a few words that are its own, that other languages just have no equivalent for. There's Bakku-shan, for instance, which is Japanese for a woman who "seems pretty when seen from behind but not from the front." There's Drachenfutter, which is German for "dragon fodder" when translated literally, but means "the peace offerings made by guilty husbands to their wives." And then there's Peace... not [only] the English word, but rather its usage in IIT-Kgp's lingo...And I'm not talking about that brief interlude between wars, during which the prudent study the lessons of the last war and prepare for the next one, though it may be related.

I use the term very freely, so much so that it has become my catchphrase. Peace is a philosophy, a way of life, or rather, an ideal way of living a life. It can be described as living without worrying, with comfort of mind, living in the present, without crying over the past or cribbing about the future. True peace can only come with deep knowledge and understanding about oneself, to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress. Whether you call it Peace of mind, serenity, calmness, or simply, Peace, it is the ultimate path (or rather, the ulti path, as Kgpians wud say) to bliss and happiness. It is not wrong to think, or even to think a lot. In fact, thought is usually an unknown territory for most people, due to which many claim to be lost in it. It's just about thinking positively, cause 'freaking out' doesn't really count as thinking. Worrying gets you nowhere.


However, Peace should not be confused with 'Hakuna Matata' or any of its variants. While it seems just right for the meerkat-warthog duo, this harmless Swahili phrase meaning "There are no worries", should be a good cause of worry if applied to reality. Peace is not about being lazy. Or about Procrastinating. And even not about not caring for the future. It's about not worrying about the future. It's about not caring for the options you never had, and by not cribbing about it, you can make the best of what you do have. It does not preach running away from responsibilities, but about being at ease with them, with yourself. The most successful people I know, are in a state of complete peace, or very near to it. While Timon and Pumba may have The Lion King eat bugs and turn into a hedonistic jerk, being at Peace pushes you to excellence, ensuring that of all the ups and downs in life, it is the ups that count for you. The more you crib over the downs, the more down you go.

Peace is used as a farewell greeting, an expression of delight, or as an affirmative. This is definitely not unique. While the phrase 'Peace out' is used frequently as well, it generally carries with it a negative air, the same as saying f**k off. A better example would be a greeting much of the world recognises, As-salaamu 'Aleykum ("Peace be upon you") responded with a wa `Aleykum As-Salaam (and upon you be peace). Salaam, here, stands for Peace, and also one of the 99 names of God from the Quran (Al-Salaam). Usage of the magical word, Peace, gives an immediate sense of relief and comfort to the mind, and creates a whole atmosphere of peace around it. Signing off with a Peace is as good as saying "May peace be with you", and reminds you of keeping peace in your life.

Its easy to take this in the wrong sense, which is true for pretty much every philosophy. Here at IIT-Kgp, I see people failing over half their subjects and thus prolonging their stay in the institute by years still refusing to study, since they are peace-maroo. Boozers, druggists and chain smokers, or the equally addicted counterstrike-players here become self-acclaimed peace gurus. This is as far from Peace as possible. Peace is when you perform your best under present circumstances, and have a feeling that you 'know' its going to turn out great at the end. Peace is when you look forward to giving you best. Peace is when you enjoy the little things in life, the small things. When you know that the future is going to be great, and the little pitfalls now won't spoil the big picture.

And with this, I sign off today, hopefully writing more frequently now onwards.


Peace...

6 comments:

Mandar said...

hmm...........
you surely dont go into battle without arms

great way to look at the every day aspects of kgp life, which are much deeper than the institute itself.

chalo peace hain.......

Adrien said...

It's those words that tell you about the nature of the civilisation. I consider the Japanese to be closet-perverts, with lolicon and all, and Bakku-shan only confirms the same.

It is surprising then, that Peace comes from IIT, with a substantial suicide rate. Or maybe its not surprising, since IITians, amidst all the tension, have to be reminded about it constantly to keep Peace. I suppose you must be an agent of Peace there then.

And how can any entry be complete without you self-referencing through wordplay. "Peace is when you enjoy the little things in life, the small things." Who would know better than The God of Small Things.

I guess you've been waiting for this:

Peace...

kaber1 said...

Peace

incognito said...

great analysis, great post!

i'd suggest that the next one in this series be on "makhana" ;)

keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Long years back at Jadavpur, Engineering, we had for your Japanese “Bakku-shan” (seems pretty when seen from behind but not from the front), NOT-GATE.

.k Peace

priyesh said...

Call it queer or just a co-incidence, but this is posted a day before the attacks. Sad to see people, the media and the politicians so quickly "forget" this incident and want to do so. But how can issues so fundamental be be taken care of and solved all by itself? How can we so easily "get away" with problems of this nature....