The Potter

What is a child?
A young mind of curiosity
Tiny body keen on testing itself
Little hands and feet, exploring
Wide eyes that absorb everything

A child is but a piece of clay
Some large chunks, some small
Some tough and some supple
They come in all sorts of colors
Bright, dark and all in between

You were clay once
Perhaps you still are
You’ve been shaped by surrounding forces
And have come to take this form

Of all forces, I wonder
Which is most powerful?
There is but one popular answer
The potter that made you from soil and water

Though a potter in reality
Has complete control of the clay
These potters we speak of
Aren’t quite the same

The potter is but one of many
Who test their hands on the clay
Although this is the case
He makes most of the indentations

This potter must spend much time
Studying the clay before he starts
To change its shape or size
For this is a crucial part

All that follows will depend
On how well he knows the clay’s ends
Too much force or too less
Will certainly make a mess

But potters aren’t all so meticulous
And some don’t grasp the importance
And thus there are pieces
Of unappealing pottery

A potter must first fathom his challenge
Be ready to work on given clay
He cannot change it on his will
With what is given he must stay

Not knowing texture or soil
This task can be surprising
He gets just one chance that is all
To make the best pottery

He must set the wheel to soundly spin
And gently handle any sagging
That the spinning may cause to his piece
For if not attended, the shape will loosen

Rightly skill must be applied
To bring out the form desired
A little mistake here or there
Takes lots of time to be repaired

The potter can’t do everything alone
So he must call for help
And make sure the piece is well maintained
While they work on it’s structure

It’s a tedious task, is it not?
Even more so! since the clay doesn’t
Take it’s final shape so quick
It takes years for it to stick

It demands all the potter’s attention
And a day ignored is hell to pay
For the clay may take arbitrary shape
And cause trouble

This clay can be a handful too
Yet the potter must continue
To work with it though it may slack
Or not cooperate just because

Yet another point to know
Is that the potter himself
Though more stable than his subject
Is clay himself.

What is a person but clay himself
Molding those around him with his presence
And being molded in return
To become the shape that he is.

Advertisements

Information Overload

In the quest to improve business with the help of new, innovative ideas, man has often put the essentials of life on the sidelines. Sometimes what’s new effectively replaces the neglected, but leaves behind an impression of said change. Is it always wise to give in to change? Is it always wise to abandon something robust and strong for something untested, radical? There is no good answer to this question. It cannot be answered unless both the possible choices are examined closely.

What did the early man do for heat before discovering fire? Maybe his body simply produced more heat. Did it? But he wouldn’t care about what he did before there was fire. Fire fulfilled his need – or needs. What happened before fire held no importance. This makes sense too. Why care about something not at all efficient when you have something that fits the job.

Now think about this. If man hadn’t ever discovered fire, he wouldn’t have made it. Imagine a world with only wild, natural fires. Environmentalists of today might have favored that. Man wouldn’t be contributing to ‘Global Warming’. Its needless to write that after the discovery, the use of fire only grew exponentially as years passed. Its been modified is ways that we recognize it in entirely different places and forms – combustion in engines, gas on the stove, burning coal in a train. Nobody thinks about the repetitive contained explosions happening inside their car while driving. Everything has become abstract and hidden from sight.

Throughout time there have been several major changes, that have revolutionized life in even the minutest way. Spoons and forks, clothes, shoes, doors and locks, clocks. These are essentials for life today. Apart from these, there are things that exist solely for our aesthetics and pleasure. Paint on the walls, fabric on the cushions, curtains. We don’t exactly need them to live, but we feel an internal need to have these things. Then there are recreational things like instruments, books, religion, music, movies, and so many other things. Most of life is filled with these things alone. They constitute such a huge part of human existence, that people can even be defined by what the do for recreation.

Basically, since everything else in life like getting an education, having a job, getting married, having kids is normal for most people, the recreational things we do are much more wide in variety and differ from individual to individual. But in recent times, even these activities have become ore common than not among the crowds. The world is becoming a smaller place each day, especially thanks to the internet. People know about things that they wouldn’t normally know about otherwise.

Remember when in the 90’s, kids would turn on the computer just to play a game of pinball? Around the dot-com boom, businesses went online and millions were spent in expanding the reach of the internet. People looked at it like the early nomads looked at fire. Something they didn’t understand, but used anyway for their own benefit. In contrast though, this wasn’t something as simple as fire, and the bubble finally burst, causing huge recession. Clearly, it wasn’t very beneficial. It wasn’t something that could always serve in a time of need, like fire. People were fooled by the shiny new toy.

I guess it could be said that something that makes a huge impact on human life either successfully makes it much easier to live, or it goes down in flames, taking everything with it. We should be careful about what new thing we allow to change our lives.

Its true that the internet is the reason why you are reading this post of mine right now. Yes, the internet can be miraculously informative. But most people don’t use the internet for  gaining productive information. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have become so riveting to human-kind, that the average human spends hours on social media everyday. This is a change that is still taking place. We don’t know what its result will be.

But what we do know is that social media gives you a ton of nonconstructive information, that cannot be used to better humanity. Apparently, it does however help people start businesses that take advantage of the information you provide to produce services that you didn’t even know you needed. If anything, social media helps the few individuals take advantage of the many. All that information about the pages you like, the causes you support, the cuisine you eat, is being used to create businesses, which is one factor contributing to why there are so many start-ups these days.

We are allowing our thoughts to manifest into digital information through even a single click. We allow the internet to show us products, designs, and items that we were happy without anyway, but suddenly feel like we can’t live without them. We are allowing this change to happen. We are being targeted by those few behind the scenes of it all, without being aware of the fact that we are providing the information they need to make a profit off of us. We are being dumbfounded.

Is this a change humanity is willing to make?

The Quality Of Life

The world is a small place. The first time I really paid attention to such a statement was while watching Pirates of the Caribbean. You can imagine how small the world really is if a pirate says it. Yet, it has managed to get much smaller. For me, the size of the world depends on how much more there is for me to see in it, how many more friendly people I can meet. I wonder how other people think of the world.

We all talk about other people, try to imagine what their lives are like, and how they handle situations. Normally, this kind of information is not something you just know about anyone unless you’ve spent a good amount of time with them. Such people would be parents, siblings, grandparents, other family members. I wouldn’t go as far as including friends in this pool. We don’t really know our friends as well as we think we do – after all, we haven’t spent enough time with them. So really, except this small group of people, we just barely have an idea about how others lead their lives.

And that’s a good thing. It helps us maintain the minimum distance required to live in a functioning social environment. You can indulge yourself in another person’s life, involve yourself in their personal affairs. Of course, I wouldn’t invite such intrusiveness into my life. Yet, this is an age in which people find it harder than ever to keep to themselves. I myself have intentionally let out information about my life which I have later come to regret and felt uncomfortable with. I know some things about other people, which also makes me uncomfortable. I would have been much better off without knowing those details, no matter how insignificant they may be.

In this era, anything that you do not keep inside your head is bound to spread. Nothing is private anymore. What you say, do, eat – anything that can be seen, heard or understood by others is no longer within the bounds of your control. Literally, anything you say can and will be used against you.

It has become so easy to stay in touch with someone else. So easy that you can do it while cozily snuggling under the warmth of your blanket. It shouldn’t be so convenient. Unless some minimum amount of effort is put into maintaining contact with a person, it shouldn’t be done. Any individual’s attention is something that needs to be valued. It can’t be earned by just sending a friend request or a few lazy messages. Yet, that is what this world has come to.

So many details that would otherwise stay unnoticed are overt, out in the open. In fact, they are emphasized. I’ve tried to limit the information I have put up on social media, but it doesn’t fail to make me feel insecure anyway. Does anyone else feel that way? Even if some people did (once upon a time), I bet they just killed their conscience and gave in to what is now considered the norm. Sometimes its disconcerting to see humanity lose its essence in this way. If the condition of our race continues to deter, we will end up becoming empty, manner-less shells, lacking chivalry, courtesy and respect. For what is the world without gentle, kind, loving people?

Every time something comes up and reminds us that the quality of our existence is taking a nosedive, Captain Jack Sparrow’s voice will ring in my ears, saying

“The world is still the same. There’s just less in it.”

My Playlist’s Evolution

I’ve loved listening to music since I was a child. Like many of you, I have maintained my own set of songs throughout the years, adding new ones, and deleting few that don’t agree with me anymore. I’ve had smooth and rough patches, through each of which I had music by my side, and I am thankful for that to all the artists, composers, producers for making it possible.

But sometimes, my playlist is quite against me. A couple years ago I realized that I had a lot of music that was sad and depressing. I had picked them up from my times of despair, and kept them with me even after progressing to a different phase altogether. After all, the music and instrumentation was brilliant, I couldn’t delete them. So I decided to separate my positive music from the negative, and to my surprise, the positive ones made up a much smaller percentage than I had anticipated, with music about strength, love, magic, imagination, hope. The larger part were songs about break-ups, anger, fear, mockery, confusion, disappointment and so on. I couldn’t understand why I had so much of it. Leaving that aside, I still listened to it when I was upbeat.

Am I the only one who does that? I don’t really know, but I’d guess not. I think not many people put enough effort to change their playlist often enough to match their mood. There may be very few who do it, and honestly, I’ve seen none. So when I was dissatisfied with this discovery about my music, I decided to change it, and filtered out everything that wasn’t constructive – which meant around 70% of what I had. It was really difficult to adjust to such a small list of songs at first, I felt claustrophobic in the limited space, but the result of stripping down my music was fantastic. I didn’t feel low as often as I used to, and when I did, I didn’t really have a reason for it. I was happier about the smaller things that mattered, and life in general. I felt more complete in myself than I did since I was twelve years old. It was a fantastic experience, and anything that got the better of me before, now had to put in a lot more effort.

Eventually, I also realized that I had a certain unique feeling associated with each song I had. I needed to change up my playlist again, because I couldn’t listen to the same set over and over. I had always done this often, maybe once in a couple months, so that I don’t listen to too much of the same thing. This one time though, I felt a different emotion attached to each piece I had, and I didn’t even have to play the song to feel it, just scrolling over the name did it for me. I was in awe of how deeply I had associated myself with all my music, and that I had never noticed it before. By the time I was done deciding what music I wanted to keep for daily play, I was emotionally worn out. I couldn’t bare any kind of emotional stimulus for the rest of the day. But later when I listened to what I had picked out, it was totally worth it – I was closer to detecting what kind of music was on the same wavelength as myself, it was amazing. It was amazing that choosing specific songs from the tons that I had could make such a great combination. I was elated, since music is such a huge part of my life, and even after spending so many years on it, it still had so much more to teach me.

For anyone out there who loves music, I recommend you try filtering your playlist with any variable, it doesn’t have to be the one I used. I’m sure all of us can discover new heights by doing so. Please share your thoughts, I would love to hear about your experiences as well.

And for those who need to be uplifted, here’s a set of songs that might help you out. I hope you enjoy them!

1. Rebel Beat – The Goo Goo Dolls, Magnetic
2. Counting Stars – OneRepublic, Native
3. Firestone (ft. Conrad Sewell) – KYGO
4. Strawberry Swing – Coldplay, Viva La Vida
5. If I Lose Myself – OneRepublic, Native
6. How I Became The Sea – Owl City, All Things Bright And Beautiful
7. A Sky Full Of Stars – Coldplay, Ghost Stories
8. Alligator Sky – Owl City, All Things Bright And Beautiful
9. You Get Wat You Give – New Radicals, Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too
10. Off The Wall – Michael Jackson, Off The Wall
11. Into Yesterday – Sugar Ray, Surf’s Up OST
12. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.
13. The Fighter (ft. Ryan Tedder) – Gym Class Heroes, The Papercut Chronicles II
14. P.Y.T. – Michael Jackson, Thriller
15. Replay – Iyaz, Replay
16. Angel – Shaggy
17. Beautiful Soul – Jesse McCartney, Beautiful Soul