And everything in between: A random cross section of a restless mind that traveling across multiple tangents.
God is Great
Like Santa Claus, Peter Pan, Green Eggs and Ham and the wondrous fantasies in Enid Blyton books.
I've always believed in God, but somehow never did. I was a strange child and an even stranger adult.As a child I had an uncanny understanding that Santa Claus was not real. I knew very well that it was my grandma or mom who hid a gift under my pillow. I sometimes caught them while pretending to sleep. It never shattered my world. In fact I took delight in the fact that the simple and mundane can be made so thrilling and exciting. Even though fairies, dwarfs, elves and goblins were all make believe they opened the windows of opportunity. There is no reason why our lives have to be ordinary. All we need is a little imagination to make our lives wonderful. And I had to believe with all my heart that it was true. If I ceased believing, then no one would give me hidden gifts or make my life extraordinary.
That was my childlike view of God as well. A wondrous concept that made ordinary lives extraordinary. Someone that offered miracles and solutions to all of lives problems. I believed in God with all my heart and soul. I enjoyed going to temples. I was very particular about ringing the bells, putting the cash in the box, bowing, praying and carefully following every instruction my grandmother gave. I believed in God, just like I did in Santa Claus and all the characters in my books. I had to. Not believing meant making my life mundane again.
That is why I still believe. Not just in God, but every fantasy fiction novel I read. Atheism is out of the question. Why believe in such child like fantasies? Why not I say. My dreams and imagination don't exist outside reality. I am real, my mind is real and so is everything within it. They are as real as anything else in life. They just in the world of our imaginations rather than the world of our sensory perceptions. To be honest, I cannot imagine the boring, serious lives of people who can't take simple joys in the magic in the world.
Experiments with Atheism
I was the why child. Curious, inquisitive, probing and demanding, I could never listen or accept anything. Whether it was at home, at school or anything in life, I had a million questions that demanded answers. My parents simply could not say - Go to bed, Do your homework, eat your vegetables, have a bath, go to school and expect me to follow. Threats and bribes had no effect. All I needed was a simple why. If there was a good reason, I would do it. If not, I wouldn't.
So why do we have temples and idols? Why do we have religious rituals? Why do we waste milk and fruit in rituals, when people are hungry? Why do we put money in the box, when people have no money? Why were some of my friends not welcome in the temple? Why did it matter how I dressed or played with boys? Why are all these people who believe in God such bitches and assholes?
There were never any satisfactory answers. I was convinced that God was a vile and terrible idea. At least fairies were kind and compassionate. All the characters I worshiped were heroic and virtues. God didn't seem to have these virtues. It seemed like a meaningless pursuit for vile people to gain selfish ends. I decided I did not believe in God anymore. I was an atheist. In the grand scheme of things of life as I understood it, God made no fucking sense.
I attained nirvana at the age of five, and I have been searching for myself ever since.
The reason I started believing again is quite hilarious.If not hilarious, it is probably quite blasphemous for most theists. And it was not at the age of five, more like twelve actually. The story goes like this. here was a club hockey game that I really wanted to go to. Our school was going to take the school boys and girls team to BHA in order to watch the match. All my friends were going. After the game we would probably chill on Marine drive, eat and watch the sunset before going home. Unfortunately, there was one problem with the plan. I had a summer computer class that clashed with the game. There was no way my parents were going to let me skip a class they were paying for so I could watch a game with friends. I was super pissed and mentally cussed out all of existence in the foulest language. Even as an atheist I derived some twisted pleasure blaming everything on God and showering the choicest abuses on God.
Then something unexpected happened. On a bright summer day when there were no storms the power went out unexpectedly for inexplicable reasons. It was not even a Friday when power could go off in the afternoon. Computer class was canceled and I was free to see the game.
Something even stranger happened to me. It must have been my hyperactive twelve year old imagination. As I walked towards class, I felt a strange connection to the universe. It was as if the universe was communicating with me. I was out on the streets and felt a surge within me that the power would go and class would be canceled. When I found out that it was indeed true, I was an instant believer. Coincidence, Luck, Random Probability. There are many rational things that could have happened. But once you feel that connection surge, you can't ignore it.
I feel that connection with the universe so many times. When I'm delighting in a taste of chocolate, when I am in a heated argument, when I lounge lazily on the couch. My life is almost one large quest of finding all these things that recreate the connection and surges. It is fun and exciting. It is unlike any experience religions or spiritual gurus will give you. It gives me the freedom to be really bad or really good as I search for myself through these life experiences. Strangely, there nothing that supercharges the connection more than sin and abusive arguments with God. Who knows, perhaps it is actually the devil I'm dealing with, but it feels so positively good, innocent and honest.
Conversion & Diversion
I want to be a Catalyst like the Jesus dude.
Actually, I wanted to become a Catholic. Catalyst is just an inside joke. But if you think about it Jesus Christ was indeed a catalyst of sorts and created a chain reaction of many things. Anyway, I went to Catholic school. The Biblical teachings really spoke to me. I liked Jesus Christ and what he stood for. The parables, the stories, all that they drilled into us in "moral science" really made an impression on me. I wanted to be a part of this faith and belief system. I wanted to follow Jesus Christ.
There was one problem though. My parents were good debaters and I could not win. They never refused me or turned be down. Of course I could if I could explain why. They asked so many questions and probed so much, I could never respond to them all. And as a why child, it made no sense for me to embark on something when I could not fully answer all the whys. They also asked a lot about my own religion Hinduism, and why Christianity was better. I discovered that I really did not know much about Hinduism. How could I decide I should become a Catalyst if I don't even know what it means to be a B.E.S.T Brahmin. (It is actually GSB Gowd Saraswat Brahmin, but again an inside joke).
It was then I embarked on my journey into theology. I tried to learn not just about Hinduism, but pretty much every diversion (religion) out there.
All Roads lead to Greece
And Ares the God of War is the coolest, awesomest, greatest and sexiest God ever. All hail and bow to Ares. I shalt worship Ares forever.
Jesus was not a very popular God, back in ancient Greece. I don't think they knew much about Rama and Krishna either. But they had Gods like Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Apollo, Hera, Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena etc. The Romans had Venus, Janus, Vesta, Ceres etc. The Norse had Thor, Iduna, Thrymm, Loki etc. The Egyptians had Horus, Anubis, Bastet etc.
Did you know that witches really exist and they are not just in fairy tales? There are covens around the world of men and women who practice Wiccan. Did you know that black magic is terribly exaggerated? There are religions like Voodoo, Shamanism and a slew of misunderstood nature based, tribal and polytheistic religions. Did you know that Confucianism is a religion but has nothing to do with God and faith? That some religions are about code of conduct, politics, ethics, social structures and ways of life. Did you know there are atheist religions? Hinduism has an atheistic school of thought and many eastern philosophies are considered atheistic. Did you know that Hinduism has no specific doctrine on theism? Hindu Gods and Goddesses and the multitudes of avatars are metaphors and manifestations of a singularity.
Religion is not divine. Nor is God. They are both parts of the story of man. They have their own history and it is a fascinating one. History itself is a fascinating subject. It is very difficult to study isolated aspects of history like God and religion, without the context. It is like watching one scene in an epic trilogy and hoping to grasp everything. Sometimes there are so many concurrent story lines, so many threads that intertwine with each other that it is practically impossible to follow one thread easily.
I became a super history dork. I read about ancient civilizations and the societies that early man formed. I learned about trade routes, migrations and the exchange of goods and ideas. I followed the rise and fall of Empires, of Kings and Queens who stamped their mark on the world. I saw a heartbreaking history of war, bloodshed, plague and death, but also a heartwarming history of love, peace, resilience and hope. I tried to see what patterns the tapestry of human history forms. Who we are, what we believe, the Gods we worship, the faiths we subscribe to are mere threads in this intricate pattern. To pull one aside and study it individually is such a travesty, the beauty is only within the patterns.
I wanted to become a Minister
Like my idol Rev. Eric Camden, I would have loved to study theology and become a pastor at a community church. Then people would follow me.
There was just one glitch. I'm a Hindu. I don't think the church is open to that idea yet. I might have had better luck if I was a gay pedophile (j/k). And no this was not a childlike fantasy. I was probably 19-20 when I started thinking this was a swell idea. As a young person, 7th Heaven was a show I really enjoyed. It definitely is unlike a lot of things I typically watch. It is a family oriented Christian show that has a preachy aspect to it. But something about the show appealed to me. I admired Eric Camden and his open heart. The show dealt with so many issues like teenage pregnancy, premarital sex, alcoholism, addiction, racism etc. It was not judgmental. Eric and Annie Camden dealt with these issues with a lot of understanding. Doesn't the whole world need a shoulder to cry on and an accepting heart for guidance. How nice would it be to become a minister and serve people this way. After all so many people turn to church for shoulders and hearts.
The reason for my idealistic thinking is I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the rigid divisions of religion. After all when I look back through history we are all a product of time and social evolution. Our cultures and beliefs are different but share so many common threads. It also is the business school mentality that creeps in. You hire good employees and make them Wal-Mart/Target/K-Mart employees. It is all interchangeable. One retail, many retail outlets. One God, many faith outlets. Why not focus on good employees?
My Mama Said
"I can't be saved!I seriously should tattoo that on my forehead."
I said that, not my Mama.
Sometimes dealing with religious people sends me in an angry tailspin. Truly! They often test my patience and send me over the edge. I'm the why child. Religion is bound to send me over the edge. I don't like practices like conversion and public preaching. I'm pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-sexual freedom, pro-separation of church and state that my views directly conflict with most religious views. Beliefs like the Rapture, Apocalypse sound absurd. Worst of all, I don't like being saved. I'm not a lost, hapless puppy dog. I'm a conscious rational adult with my own free will. I'm open to advice and religious discussion, but I don't like it when people try to save me.
One day after a discussion with a preacher ( father of a coworker and friend), I huffed home screaming the lines. My mom gave me the sternest death glare and said "I hope you were polite." No matter what I feel, ridiculing and insulting other people is out of the question. Even accidentally hurting or offending someone is a crime the way I was raised. I'm glad my mom raised us that way. I can't imagine being one of those people who are so fixated on their own views that they can't think of others.
Or so I hope, and definitely strive to be.
We were having an argument over the recount. One conservative guy was vehemently pro Scott Walker, but he was polite and reasonable. Yet all the liberals pounced on him labeling him "hater". I made a reply post politely explaining why I disagreed with his views. The next morning I had a message from him. He said he was booted from the group for his views, but wanted to thank me. He said I was reasonable and made good points, and he agreed with some of them.
That is the kind of person I want to be. I don't like discounting people who are different or disagree. Even as a bleeding heart liberal, I try to be open to debate with conservatives. Even as a barbaric heathen, I hope to openly discuss religion with followers. It is the only way to bridge gaps. This conservative guy disagreed with liberals. He simply could not see eye to eye with our views. They appeared foolish to him. Despite that, I made an impact on him through my polite response. He could agree to some of it. Maybe we could have discussed it further and come to some sort of consensus. I honestly think the reason why Scott Walker survived the recall election is because liberals banned conservatives from their groups as 'haters' instead of trying to interact and engage in debate.
I'm a human with many vices and virtues, but an overall good person who tries to be good. I see all people the same way. Just humans trying to be good people like me. People like me who make mistakes, do foolish things, say hurtful things and stir up a lot of shit on occasion. These same people who also fix things, do the right things, delight people and make things better on occasion. I always like giving people the benefit of the doubt and doing my best.
The Church of Business
"I'd rather spend my life studying history, theology, and philosophy. But I didn't want to be a teacher or researcher. I had to do something to feed my belly."
Business school is really misunderstood. People think MBA and think of evil Wall Street Corporate types. They think of the greedy and power hungry. That is not what business is about, at least not what good business is about. Business is a vast and expansive field of study. I went into it for marketing. I love communications and building relationships, and what is marketing if not that. Although lumped together with sales, they are as different as chalk and cheese. Marketing is the most human side of business. Engineers, accountants, sales people, operations and all other departments business often hate us for that. We are the creative people who walk to the beat of our drum. It is not about selling something or making a profit. In marketing we study demographics, psychographics and all sorts of features about people. We try to identify segments in populations and figure out what they want. We try to figure what their needs are and how we can meet it. When we go international culture, perceptions and society play an even bigger role. It is the perfect field for dorks like me. In that colorful tapestry of human history we take present day snapshots. We see markets rich and vibrant with so many colorful threads of diverse people and culture. We strive to understand them, cater to their needs and build long term relations.
Business as a whole itself is also not about the bottom line. Business is more of an organizational model. What we learn is not just for J.P Morgan Chase or Citibank. It is for World Wildlife Fund, for the Humane Society, for Red Cross, for Tom's Shoes, for mom and pop store on the corner, for the city parks division, for the community church, for a local soccer club, for a college fraternity, for a family, for an individual and for life.
In our organizational model we figure out what our goal and mission is - make money, heal the world, have fun, all of the above. What values we subscribe to - who we are and what we stand for. How shall we do it, whom will we serve and whom will we help. We form a strategy, a business plan based on it. From there all the cogs come together and start turning - finance, human resources, marketing, operations, sales - all to meet that goal.
Isn't life exactly like that. Figure out what we want to do, what our values are, how we plan to go about it. Set a strategy to achieve our goals and dreams. Then all the cogs come together and start turning paycheck, friends and family, organizing our day, selling our ideas - all to actualize who we are. Thats why business strangely is just like the fabric of human history and the fabric of life in general.
My Secret Wish
"I want to go Pride Fest and pick a fight with the Christian Protesters"
There were none the last time I went, being Wisconsin and all, and I was genuinely heartbroken. I felt as if my entire weekend went to waste. All I was wanted was to be a rabble-rouser and get into a fight with homophobic Christians. I'm really not that balanced as I'd like people to believe. I'm a disrespectful, blaspheming heathen. I like to pick on religion, faith, culture, beliefs and all the idiosyncrasies that is mankind and have fun at the expense of it.
I fantasize of finding a someone pure, religious and virginal and then using my charm, my nice gal balance, and my why child wit to turn them into a sinful heathen just like me. Won't that be something.
When I'm feeling particularly evil, I scheme of adopting three kids and raising them Muslim, Christian and Jewish. And I shall make bacon for breakfast and give it to my Christian child and deprive the Muslim and Jewish kid from bacon. I'll adopt a Hindu one for good measure and deprive the child of sizzling steaks and juicy burgers that the other kids will have. Well if God screws over and deprives children all over the world from something or the other, what is wrong with me in recreating my own miniature version of God's world. What is so wrong in that? I'll have to adopt an atheist as well for some intense sibling rivalry. I wonder which one should be the gay kid.
I also want to own property, like a nice house to rent. Not for income just for kicks. I'll rent it to really politically opinionated folks. Then during election season I will screw with them. If they put democratic signs, I'll remove them and put republican ones and vice versa. If they don't put any signs, I'll put random ones of my own. Democratic one day, Republican another, both the third, Team Edward the fourth, Team Jacob the fifth and vote for Volturi on election day.
"Hell is just as good as any place on earth, and I plan on going there someday, along with everyone else"