Samyak choudhary in My_life 5 minutes

Laments Of An Aging Childhood Dreamer

An extremely juvenille blogpost where I lament as old childhood dreams transform into a lifelong fantasy as I grow older.

“I have an idea to build synthetic trees to reduce global warming and oxygenate our degrading environment.”, says my brother (his tenth “new” idea to change the world this month).

When you are close to completing your graduation and have spent more than 3 years paying more attention on ‘HOW’ to do things, giving little thought to ‘WHAT’ to do and negligible thought to ‘WHY’, it can be a blessing (and simultaneously mind turbulating) to have a (~ 4-7 years) younger brother/sister akin to your old self - one who constantly reminds you of ‘WHAT’ you wished to do years ago that you have possibly lost sight of while laboriously working on the ‘HOW’ to do it.

(I consider myself fortunate to have a younger brother so alike my former self (though more mischievious and troublesome - our generation were certainly better as kids or atleast I was a better kid! :D ). While his ideas on world betterment, “new” inventions, and “revolutionary” enterprises are palpably ludicrous and one’s that can be dismissed with not so much as the effort of Googling and opening the first weblink, they act as a constant reminder of my old dreams and rejuventate the visionary in me.)

Packing my trunk to leave for home the upcoming vacations, my eyes fall on the text book of Artificial Intelligence. A sly smile comes across my face as I recall an old conversation with a school teacher.

my (encouraging) teacher: You are quite bright a student. What do you aspire to do in life?

me: I want to build a very intelligent A.I. operating system. One that can adapt according to its user and respond to the user’s thoughts. One that could be a friend, advisor, and personal assistant at the same time. One that can be integrated into our future smart home computing system, security system, our offices, cars and everywhere else we can be.

Humored by the simplicity of my thoughts, the teacher smiles and asks: That sounds marvelous. How do you plan to proceed further?

me (beaming smugly) : I plan on getting admission in good engineering college. My dad tells me IITs are the best in India. There I will study computer science, artificial intelligence, and whatever else will be required and then use the acquired knowledge to make my A.I. agent.

my teacher (I now wonder how she was managed to control her laughter) : That sounds like a plan. Good luck!.

Don’t laugh at me. I had watched Iron Man movie (I) few days back and the geek-cum-dreamer in me was supposed to be entranced by JARVIS.

Iron Man Augemted Reality & JARVIS

(That still looks cool, doesn’t it?)

The biggest irony of learning to solve problems is that often in the process we forget the problem itself.

The years between junior high school and end of college are years of a plethora of changes. Change of personality, change in perception, change in life goals, a complete change in ourselves. Most of these changes are essential to make a transition from innocent immature kids into independent adults. Others, simply take away the essence of being alive, making us feeling lost and empty from inside. The worse of all such changes? Loss of dreams.

As kids, we might dream of living and creating a fantasy, utopian world having wonders such as intelligent robots, flying cars, virtual reality games, space travel (maybe even time travel), teleportation, super human abilities (think x-men). A world free from diseases, global warming, pollution, and other environmental problems. A world free from greed, hunger, (personal/physical/political/social/cultural)boundaries, politics and religion - a place where everyone lives in peace and harmony. A united society where people work together towards making the world a better place and people are not caught up in fulfilling their cynical objectives.

But, with the advent of youth, the allurement of a hedonistic life accompanied with gross bank balances, private jets, and humangous mansions becomes overpowering and the yearning to fill in the void created by a lost childhood zest lets the enticement sneak in unopposed. (Oh and by-the-way the life couse marked solely by materialistic ambitions isn’t erroneous afterall it is backed by strong social proof (sarcasm intended).)

The voice of the dreamer inside us is further squelched with the added responsibilities as we progress further through the ardous journey that we call “life” and gets lost in the clamor of daily chores.

Eventually, mediocity and the feeling of “the world is too big and challenging for us to be someone or do something significant “ dawns in and our dreams turn into mediocre aspirations of good enough jobs and comfortable enough lives.

Formal education is imperative. However, our current education system is inadequate when it comes to helping people nurture a vision of their own. It teaches us how to convert our vision into a reality (It has taught me AI algorithms, data science, operating systems, etc) but the percentage of people left with dreams to build on completing formal education is close to nil.

Some of us, the “lost” dreamers, manage to not lose sight of the dreams they wished to build when young but alas, these are the same people who are uninfluenced by cruddy drivers such as grades, and job. Unable to relate the process (‘HOW’) to their vision (‘WHAT’), they often fall behind in our regimented system and fail to acquire the requisite skillset. (Advise to such co-dreamers : trust the process!)

Opposed to the visionaries, are the pragmatic people. Driven by short-term goals, fear and peer competition they often become experts in their domain but the lack of vision leaves them vying for limited resources over conflicting goals. The close competition eventually wears them out and being coerced into a lackadaisical life in a dead-end career becomes inevitable.

I can sense some scorching readers thinking “itni hi dikkt h to tu khud hi koi trika btade is samasya se bachne ka” {if you have so much problem why don’t you yourself come up with some solution}. (Note the ‘khud hi’ {yourself}).

Unfortunatel, like all problems I ponder about (and have either written or plan to write an idiosyncratic blogpost about), this requires a cultural shift. It is not a problem of a single individual or a small group of invdividuals can solve. It requires a change in our belief system, a change in our attitudes, a change in our everyday conversations and a change in our what we value in life.

Yeah, yeah all that sounds like something worthwhile but dude, everyone needs to earn a living, right? Yes, we need money to live a comfortable and promising life. However, we need to transform our relationship with money. We need to get away from our consumerist culture. Rather than viewing money as an endproduct or a way to achieve respectable societal status and to acquire ostentatious material possessions, we need to view money for what it is - a tool to lead a happy, comfortable, and fulfilling life that can be put to use to build our dreams.

(I will advice you to read the book “Your Money or Your Life” and the concepts of ‘Financial Intelligence’, ‘Financial Integrity’, and ‘Financial Independence’ might change your perception of money.)

My longing for that lost innocent childhood filled with endless dreams and possibilities has started to sweep in but I might better take some mercy now on my forbearing reader who didn’t press (Cntrl + w) while reading through the paragraphs of this rather juvenille post. I too should force myself out of this childhood nostalgia and focus on preparing for the upcoming internship afterall I do look forward to getting a PPO (Pre-Placement-Offer) out of it and accha high-paying job nhi hoga toh kaam kese chalega.

Peace out.

Suggested next read : What-How-and-the-Why.