Talking about Into the Wild, Roger Ebert says, "Certain young men, of which I was one, lecture patient girl friends about how such a life of purity and denial makes perfect sense." That is just one instance of how boys grow out of being boys and turn into what can be safely defined as men. More matured, more subtle, more responsible, more conscious, less mad and having a sense of duty. That is how I define a man. Someone I never wanted to be. But sadly, I seem to be turning into one.
All my role models right from childhood have been men who refused to grow up. Who refused to act sane and never wanted to be a part of the society. Somehow I like only those people who don't care what everyone around them think about them. All those characteristics have been etched into me so deep that I see myself like that forever. Julius Caesar says, referring to Cassius, "Never trust a man who is thin, does not comb his hair, looks around suspiciously and does not sleep properly." Shakespeare beautifully portrays that men who do not have time for any social courtesies, nor for food and struggle even in their sleep are the ones who actually do something worthwhile. Even Chris Mccandless refused to get into the norm and went away in search of something more divine, more pure and more rewarding than repeating days. There is something about mad men. Men who are born for a purpose. Their restlessness. They realise early in life that their lives are meant to bring some change in the orthodox world and for the rest of their living moments, nothing else matters. Except that one thing. Everything else seems so trivial. John Nash, Ramanujan or Einstein walked in dreamlike states because all they had time for was that soul pursuit(pun intended).
I always saw myself like that. I think every teenager does. Like you are the protagonist of every movie, the nice guy thrashing the bad guys, bringing some change in the world and being remembered forever. It always happens. Probably growing up means having the ability to differentiate between the real and the celluloid. To accept that you are just another entity. Just another being. But is that growing up? And if that is growing up, I'd rather never grow up. I always considered myself a nerd. Mad, excited, brainy, wild and intuitive. In his beautiful book, Hackers and Painters, Paul Graham says, "Nerds cannot take being dumb. They'd rather be outcats all their lives, unpopular and scrawny and never have a girlfriend but looking down to themselves as stupids is something they can never digest." I like being defined like that. All that matters to me is what a man is worth, what he has it in him rather than how he looks like or what he wears. Maybe I'm conveniently saying this because in the last few years I've been hailed popular and intelligent. No, that isn't no immodesty or arrogance. Its just that I know why I do a few things. When I was a kid, my mum told me that your best judge are yourself. Till now, it has stayed true.
Because of the image of all those guys I admire, most of them being nerds, I've carried myself in those terms all along. Consciously or not, I've been a resident of Nerdville. Loose faded tees, shorts, slippers, long hair, unkempt beard, a book in hand, oblivious to the surroundings and the ability to talk about anything in the world. Infact, like people are fanatic about looking good, wearing branded clothes and costly watches, this has been my idea of looking good. Paradoxically, I dress up to look badly dressed. Maybe I was never a nerd. Never meant to be one. Just pretending to be one. That is why now I can see my true colours. I am making an effort to look good, be called sexy, be hailed as a genius. If I was really a nerd, I'd never have thought about all this.
But if there's something which might make me a nerd, it is my thirst for knowledge. Yes, I like looking like a nerd, being called one but really more than all that, I can't be heard calling myself dumb. If someone talks about anything I don't know, the first thing I do is come back home and learn everything about it. But slowly its fading away. The thirst for knowledge, that curiosity, that inquisition and that urge to learn things is slowly turning into complacency. But maybe this is a sign to set things right. To pursue only those things which matter. To learn. To know. And to feel.
Writing is a very rewarding process. If I didn't know any better, I'd compare it to Bungee Jumping. You want the prize, in this case, to remove the burden and that feel for clarity and lightness but the process of actually doing it is rather scary. You are scared of how to proceed. So all you can do is empty your mind of other things, believe that everything is going to be fine and just do it. Believe me, nothing ever feels as good as when you write your heart out and then take in that breathe of free air at the end of it.
I feel really good now. This time around I didn't know what I wanted to write. So after ages, I feel really unburdened. Getting back to being a nerd again. Nerd or not, my curiosity, my enthusiasm and that need to know are still there and I'm doing everything I've always wanted to do. Now, probably, I'll get back to my roots, think about the world less, yearn to know and to find out the best time complexity of all routing algorithms.
After having read this, Kishore just told me something, "Admitted that you feel free after writing it but unless you actually make a point to change, all this goes in vain. You'll remain the same and a few days later, will write again to free yourself. Some kind of a drug. One kind of an escape route." That's probably the best piece of advice I've ever heard. Thanks mama. I want to be something, I don't write about being that thing. Instead, I change to be that. I'm implementing it straight away.
Love all. And God Bless.