Who am I?

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I am not religious, but I don't mind calling myself spiritual. Religion, I believe, has, over the millennia, been used as a prop to perpetrate a lot of human suffering. Faith is what matters. I don't believe in the definition of God as a creator. According to me, my God resides within me. Some call it conscience, some call it the sub-conscious, some call it the soul. I don't mind calling it God. So by definition I am not an atheist or an agnostic, but by essence, I may as well be. My God does not reside in a temple, church, mosque or gurudwara. It is right here, within me.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Speech That Was Never Delivered: Corporate Futsal Tournament

I was supposed to deliver the following speech at Retina India Corporate Futsal Tournament organized entirely by us. Retina India is an NGO, and since some time we had been trying to think of something to organize at a managable scale which helps build Retina India's brand in Pune as well as develop corporate connections. The event was a success, and this is a speech which I had prepared, but I did not deliver it due to certain reasons. Now that the event is over, I would want to share with everyone what I had to say. 

"Over 60 years ago, the world witnessed something that changed the course of every nation. A country based on disparate ideas and cultures, with people who dressed different, ate different, spoke different and thought different came together to break away from the shackles of servitude and established a democratic and secular government. The people who lived at that time had an overdriving purpose, one that overshadowed all other personal wants and ambitions. The idea of attainment of freedom was brought out, discussed, disseminated and became an important part of everyone’s daily life. This was the reason why the freedom movement had such a huge impact – people used to live and breathe independence. There was a higher purpose. 

The India of today is very different. We have grown and have been able to lift many millions out of poverty, especially in the last two decades. We have the latest technology on our mobile, we have access to the best brands, we can boast of being the most competitive in the industry of tomorrow, we are considered to be a largely English-speaking nation by the Western world, and they say that our demographics are going to be our weapon and our saviour in the years to come. But there is a sad side to it all. 

We are becoming more and more individualistic. Everyone is busy in accumulating more wealth than thy neighbour. Materialism has seeped deep into our daily lives, and as we spend increasing amount of time in front of digital media and the internet, and read less and less, we notice that idealism is being laughed at, and having a strong value system is derided. Why do we not encourage the one who is winning rather than pulling him down, why do we try to put up a face that is not our real self, why is our dream job always never the one that we are actually into, why don’t we find satisfaction in what we do, why is most of our adult life spent chasing the unimportant things and always postponing the things that matter, why is it that when someone tells us that your neighbour has got a promotion, is being sent on-site, has won a lottery, or is very happily married, why the first tinge of emotion that we feel is that of envy, and the first thing we tend to do is give excuses for the success for that person, and very very seldom does it lead to a first tinge of happiness or pride. Why are we becoming so hollow today? I believe it is because we no longer have a higher purpose, unlike 60 years ago. We are lost in the crowd of meaninglessness, trying to grab at everything that comes our way. To find true happiness, there needs to be a greater meaning to life. 

When we volunteered for Retina India, we were asked what purpose does it serve, how would you gain from being a part of it, some even went so far as to ask: “Will you get a CV point for this?” The only reason I personally did it was because I always felt that itch. That itch to give something back to the society. That itch that comes from the guilt that I feel deep down when I see a beggar on the road, or lower class people trying to just make ends meet. I feel blessed, and I feel guilty. I feel this is my way to taking that first step towards doing something that really matters. It is my way of stepping out of the mundane and taking up something with a higher purpose. I hope some of this resonates with each one of you. Think about it. Thank you."

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