If something has to end, let it be the notion of greed and haste, so that the world becomes a more balanced place.
If something has to end, let it be the pain and the suffering, so that the world becomes a happier place.
If something has to end, let it be the hatred and the insanity which eliminates the last vestige of rationalism and leads us to a path where the gun becomes the only way to let the frustration out, so that the world becomes a much safer place.
If something has to end, let it be the apathy towards everything, from education to corruption, and the general disregard towards quality, so that the world becomes a lot more valuable.
If something has to end, let it be the fanaticism over religions, so that the world becomes a lot more serene.
If something has to end, let it be the rampant pollution, so that the world becomes a lot more green.
All this, in an ideal world. In a practical sense, however, none of the things mentioned above are likely to end soon. None more so than the world itself which houses them.
Among news of unemployment and financial meltdowns,
Among unsavory scenes of protests and forceful clampdowns,
Among reports of corruption, self-denial and government lethargy,
Among batting failures in Cricket and mismanagement in Athletics and Hockey,
Among wars between nations and fights to decide which is a more peaceful religion,
Among rising costs and declining quality in all domains, from farming to education,
Comes a message, though an advertisement, that provides a glimmer of ‘hope’ to the conscience which is on the brink of extinction.
Hindi (Indian) Version
I have been wanting to write on this topic for a long time. How often have we heard people use terms like “back to the routine..” or “back to the grind..” only to realize that they are talking about rejoining their jobs or regular work after, say, a long vacation or a set of holidays. Not that its the best of feelings, but I have serious dislike for this usage of the word ‘routine’. Its a word that has had its meaning pushed into the domain of negativity due to its blatant overuse!
I’m of the strong opinion that there is no such a thing as an ‘ordinary day’. Its more of a mental attitude, I suppose, than a realistic one. Each day is different in its existence. It makes you go through different experiences, teaches you new stuff about yourself and throws some unique challenges at you. The intensity may vary according to your line of work (or social status), but its there alright. Its up to you whether you want to overcome these challenges or completely sidestep them, if at all you recognize them in the first place, and that’s where personality comes in. Some people, even some of the learned ones, don’t realize this fact of life, which I think is a real pity.
The word I’d like people to use instead is ‘rhythm’. It is a phenomenon that surrounds us, and the word seems inspiring and energetic from its very utterance.
We live by the beats made by our heart following a certain rhythm and its ironic how, unlike the negativity many people seem to attribute to the repetitive nature of life, we actually want the heart to beat in a normal regular manner. We term that as a positive. In fact, any irregularity in this rhythm raises an alarm! Similar is the case of the strands of DNA and the human genome that describes our very structure. It has lots of repetition throughout the body, and people are fine with that.
Rhythm is easily identified with music and dance moves. The very mention of rhythm in this sense of the word exudes energy, though the idea of music and dance routines is to be repetitive, to an extent. This is where creativity comes in, a corollary to the unique challenge I talked about earlier in the article.
Sportsmen talk a lot about rhythm, be it in their training regimens or their performances on the field. Almost any sport you pick has an element of rhythm associated with it. Rarely would you come across a sportsperson calling his/her exercises as ‘routine’, even though the tasks might be repetitively same every single day and procedural in nature. Rhythm carries even more significance in the field of athletics, track and field events, and cycling. In the swimming arena, the strokes look beautiful when everything falls into place, when everything happens in unison every single time.
The same logic can be applied to our lives. Most of the examples mentioned here point to the concept of passion. Musicians and dancers are passionate about what they do. So are sportsmen. If ‘passion’ is too strong a word for you, replace it with ‘attention’ and the result won’t be very different. It would be quite unfortunate if we do not pick up on these signs and surrender ourselves to lethargy and the ‘routine’ of our daily chores.
Again, routine is something that exists, rhythm is something that we perceive. Rhythm is the co-ordination of action. As we go about our activities, this is the definition we should be identifying with, don’t you think?
Today I lumber out of my 6 month blogging hiatus with an article in the domain of linguistics. As the title suggests, its about the meaning and the origins of the word ‘companion’, and it was brought to my notice by my fiancé. Aptly so, don’t you think?
Right then. Why did the origins of that one word strike me as interesting? Here’s why.
‘Companion’ has its origins in the French word ‘compaignon’, which literally means ‘one who breaks bread with another’, based on the Latin ‘com’ – ‘together with’ and ‘panis’ – ‘bread’. This, I think, is brilliantly logical. In a way it means that a companion is a person with whom you share something you’ve toiled for – your bread, or to be more generic, your food. Its the most basic of the necessities that you share with someone, and therefore has the most value, which in turn means that you should really value the person whom you share it with. That person may be your partner (husband or wife), friend, colleague, neighbor (I know, that’s pushing it!).
The New Oxford American Dictionary too puts the meaning as:
“a person or animal with whom one spends a lot of time or with whom one travels”
which generally corroborates the original meaning of the word and applies a modern connotation to it. A companion now would also mean a compatriot, a comrade, a person with whom you share your most inner thoughts and experiences, a confidant, or as the Spanish would put it, an ‘amigo’.
How much of all this still holds true, is a matter of debate in today’s world of treacherous alliances, cut-throat competition and a race for ever expanding profits.
Case in the point: The word ‘company’ is naturally derived from ‘companion’. Considering its usage as meaning a firm, corporation, enterprise or consortium, there you are in the company of like-minded individuals, or at least should be. Various job descriptions e.g. ‘company secretary’ have in turn been derived from ‘company’. Its the contemporary usage of the word in some cases that amazes me. We take the word for granted without thinking about its depth.
The very fact that you are amidst like-minded people pursuing a common goal should mean attributes such as trust and loyalty are obvious. The spirit of teamwork and notions such as watching each other’s back and sharing information honestly should come naturally. Its not always the case though, because some of us treat the ‘company’ like a building made of stone and cement, where you only work, or command work from others. A place for personal gains, attempts to claim personal laurels, set selfish goals, convene water-cooler talks and gossip meetings, conduct rat-races, and eventually malign the origins of the word like hauling down the statue of a great old forgotten and misquoted leader by pulling in different directions. A by-product of ‘growing big’ and inter-departmental rivalries, you might say, but isn’t everyone (at least theoretically) supposed to collectively propel the ship of the ‘company’ forward?
Some food for thought. Wanna share?
Sometimes we hear a particular word or a phrase or certain song lyrics so many times during the day that we sub-concsiously start thinking about it. Its strangely funny when this happens.
Since yesterday morning I’ve must have heard the word ‘always’ a hundred times at least and in almost every perceivable place – during my lectures in college, at home while conversing with my parents, on the phone with friends/colleagues, on TV in movies and advertisements. I think that the word, being an adverb, must be quite frequently used in the English language especially where rhetoric is required. Last evening I thought of all the phrases (and cliches) I’ve heard over the years involving the word. Here’s the collection (in no specific order):
1. “There is always a smarter way.”
2. “Fortune always favors the brave.”
3. “There is always room for improvement.”
4. “Always look at the bright side of things.”
5. “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
6. “Truth always sounds tough.”
7. “The customer is always right.”
(There’s also a variation of the same – “The boss is always right.”)
8. “The first step is always the hardest.”
9. “Always think before you act.”
10. “The bread always falls buttered side down.”
(This last one is more in accordance with Murphy’s Law!)
Remember some more? Feel free to mention any such phrases (involving the word ‘always’) in the comments.