04 November 2009

The Photo Gallery Test

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There is a vivid memory in my mind, of an incident that happened during the summer vacations of 2004. I was a 7th Grader enjoying his two months of bliss in India, along with a few of my cousins. After a particularly vigourous game of football, the three of us returned home, slightly mudied and thoroughly excited.

The first thing my Aunt said to her son was, "Look at you, all dirty like that! Dont you know it's not the time for you to be playing outside like this? Take a bath and start studying soon. Dont waste your time playing around like this..."

My cousin was in 6th Grade.

What really triggered this post, though, was a comment a friend of mine passed a few days ago. He was watching a few of his classmates enjoy themselves, with just about 15 minutes left for School to begin. With a thoroughly patronising look, he remarked, "What's the use of having so much fun now? If they would just stop enjoying now, and start studying instead..."

I could understand what he meant. After all, instead of enjoying a little bit of spare time, wouldnt it be better if we all made the best use of it?

That's where I stopped to think. What exactly is the best use of time?

And so I thought of the Photo Gallery Test. It's a simple process with a rather fancy name. And it goes something like this.

Imagine you fell asleep one night, and had a crystal clear dream. Remember that dreams are reflections of your thoughts and desires. In this particular dream, you're standing at the beginning of a corridor. From the looks of it, you're in a Museum. And on either side of you, the walls are covered with large, framed images from your life.

These picture frames are snapshots of your life. Snapshots that capture the best, most important, most memorable moments you've ever experienced. So here's the question. If you were to walk down the corridor, what do you think you'd see?

Perhaps you'd see a large frame to your right, showing a bunch of students standing outside a large classroom, with wide, mischievious grins on their faces. One of those students, is you. Remember that day in 8th Grade, when you spent a whole period outside class. You and your friends laughed about it until your stomach ached.

Keep walking and you'll come across another, sepia coloured picture. It was taken last year, just after your Board Exams got over. A couple of your friends managed to dump an entire bottle of water onto your head. Remember how you felt as your clothes got drenched in water?

The corridor will keep extending, and there will be countless other pictures looking out at you. Snapshots of days when you laughed until your eyes filled with tears. Snapshots of days when you yelled with joy.

Here's a proposition that might seem silly, or outright senseless to many of you. Every time you make choices in life, think about the Photo Gallery. Think about what kind of snapshots will hang from the walls, reminding you of what your life has been all about.

Of course, I know it's not a fool proof way of choosing a career, or even deciding how to perform academically in school. If your parents, teachers, tuition sirs, and neighbours havent reminded you already, life is a rat race. Competition is cut throat. We all need to score 90%. And if there are actually people who score 90%, well, they need to score even higher, just to make life more miserable for the rest.

But remember how it all started? It started as a simple system, designed to ensure we all found a way to grow up, take up a job, contribute to society, support a family....and here comes the part that's been practically forgotten...enjoy the pleasures of life.

That doesnt seem to make sense anymore nowadays, does it? No, instead the logic we follow is this: Toil day and night so that you'll top your class. And then you'll top your school. After that, you'll enter college and be a gold medalist. You'll be hired by the best company out there, so that you can work from morning till night, breaking your back to shore up your bank account. You'll climb the ladder, or atleast die trying. You'll leave behind wealth, land, a wonderful house, a sparkling Resume. And you'll have nothing to remember your life by.

Again, I do understand that we cant chase behind butterflies or dance in the rain the whole day.

But sometimes, I get the feeling that life is like a road trip. And many of us, perhaps all of us, get too busy polishing our car and collecting enough toll money....to actually look out the window and enjoy...

After all, that's what a road trip should be all about, right?

[Please do leave your comments, either agreeing or disagreeing with my viewpoint. Discussions can greatly help in such cases....]

P.S.: To Anonymous - I'll need a little more time to write that post on "The Purpose of Life". Until then, hope this will do...

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  1. I absolutely love this post...n obvi i agree with you on this...we are so lost in the hubub...that we oversee the minute things that could give us pleasure...but in the end...life's basiczlly about striking a balance..how well your scales balance is how well you live your life....btw..awesome post musthafa!

  2. heyy!!..
    a really touching 1!..keep it up..:D

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. hot buddy........loved it..... hope sum of our teachers 2 reads dis. ;)

  5. tru..n its hud be followed..we'll liv our lyf sumw...wats the fun if u get so much riches n die in 1 accident or ne other way..its better to njoy ur life n have no regrets while dying..

  6. so true..nyc post..nd ya finally i can post comments on ur blog from ma mob..keep em stories cumin!!

  7. You know Im throughly impressed!What youve written is what maybe not even a person much older than you would have written, Musthafa, you wriute really well!!Hats off:)
    I totally agree with you!

  8. amazing thot man.... i cant express my thoughts in just mere words ...... What you said is absolutely true We are just to caught up in the rat race of life to enjoy the simple pleasures of life ........ Hats of to u ...
    onli u cud be able express something like so beautifully......

  9. Its really heart touching. Thanks for these nice update.

  10. wonderful way to project your thoughts :D

    the foto gallery test is inded smething. it show how improtant those moments are, that make you happy and smile, for they are the milestones that make you remember your past life :D

    nice nice nice :D

  11. Hey Musthafa,

    I am waiting for the "purpose of life". This was a good post . But, what I am looking for is something like why we should live? Is it just because we are born into this world or something else?

    I know it is tough. Take your time. But, make sure the post makes up for time I have been waiting. :)

  12. Life is a rat race. I think I read that from "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert K. though in his book he isn't discussing the photo gallery of the best days of his life, but mainly about business and how to get rich.

    Back to the post, I agree with what you were saying. Indeed, people tend to forget the word fun, and replace it with the word, work.

    Here comes creativity, i think maybe we should do something not because it is practical but because we enjoy doing it. A photographer earning money and at the same time enjoying his profession could be the happiest person in the world. However we cannot blame people who chose practicality over fun, because it is indeed hard to keep up with the fast changing society when you know you have lots of things to prove, to accomplish.


  13. Why no more posts? even though it is holidays? is it because rejin is not here? do you write for him or something?

  14. @ Anonymous: Whoever you are buddy, get a life and piss off! :)
    Musthafa is a well established, brilliant writer and does not need to write for any single person.
    And who says I'm not here?

  15. Quite philosophical and a thought-provoking one for a 17 year old. Keep up the good work.
    Happy Blogging!!

  16. Whoa!.. You know one thing I hate about your blog? Whenever we get our own answer to something and are satisfied with it, you come along with a better solution! Not fair is it?
    Anyway awesome post and keep 'em comin!
    P.S. I hope all the content in the blog is not copyrighted. I really feel like using some of your quotes in my speeches...