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I have been called a lot of unflattering things in my life. One of the earlier ones of that series was that I was hard-hearted, which I countered by pointing out that I was perhaps harder on myself than anybody else. Thankfully, my accuser concurred. One of the recent epithets in the same vein is that I’m cold and calculated, and I use my head to think rather than my heart; I believe it is a fair assessment. Pagkatapos muli, using my head is the only way I know how to think (kung saan, oo naman, is exactly the sort of cynical comments that earned me the said assessment.)

Magpatuloy sa pagbabasa

Kandila na Burns Bright

Ang isang kaklase ng mina mula sa IIT ang pumasa ang layo ng ilang mga araw ang nakalipas. Kapag narinig ko ang kasindak-sindak balita, Nais kong magsulat ng isang bagay tungkol sa kanya. Ano ang dumating sa isip ay isang pares ng mga disjointed mga alaala, at naisip ko na gusto kong ibahagi ang mga ito dito. Para sa takot na nagiging sanhi ng higit pang mga sakit sa mga malapit sa kanya, Ako ay panatilihin ang lahat ng mga pagtukoy ng mga sanggunian sa isang lantad na minimum.

Ginamit namin na tumawag sa kanya PJ — isang acronym para sa isang mildly nakakainsulto na expression, na marahil ay nagkaroon ng pinagmulan nito sa aming akademikong inggit. PJ ay academically makinang, at nagtapos sa tuktok ng isang klase na puno ng halos pathologically mapagkumpitensya at maliwanag IITians. Ito intensity na dinala siya sa papasan sa mas superhuman ay bahagi ng aking unang memory.

Problema sa pamamagitan ng ito intensity, namin sa sandaling nabuo ang isang paglalaan i-apela upang mas mahusay na likas na katangian ng PJ. Hindi ko naaalalang na pinasimulan ito, o kahit sino ay doon sa delegasyon. Ngunit ito ay tiyak na pakiramdam ng tulad ng isang bagay na Lux o daga gagawin; o Kutty, marahil, kung magagawa naming makuha sa kanya upang gumawa ng anumang bagay sa lahat. Gayon pa man, Nilapitan kami PJ at hiniling na kunin siya madali. “Ano ang malaking deal, tao? Mabagal at matatag mananalo sa karera, kilala mo.” Tugon ni PJ ay isang kapansin-opener. “Oo naman,” sinabi niya, “ngunit mabilis at matatag ay mas mahusay!”

Ako ba na ito ng mabilis at galit na galit mong bilis ng kinang PJ ay dinala siya ng maraming mga well-Karapat accolades sa ibang pagkakataon sa isang panghabang buhay na marahil pinakamahusay na sinusukat sa mga tuntunin ng kalidad nito sa halip na dami, epekto sa halip na longevity. Ngunit PJ ay hindi kailanman isang all-work-at-walang-play na mga kapwa. Natatandaan ko isang beses kapag ang MardiGras batang babae ay dumating sa Mandak dining hall (“magpakaabala nang walang kapararakan”) kumain. Pag-aaral ang mga ito gamit na hapless kataimtiman na maaaring ganap na Pinahahalagahan lamang ng mga kapwa IITian, namin ang nagtalakay sa pag-unlad sa PJ. Sinabi niya, “Oo, gusto naming gulo sa kanila!”

IIT ang nangyari sa amin sa isang edad kapag pagkakaibigan ay dumating madali at ang mga bono palsipikado nagtutulog malakas. Gamit ang PJ nawala at ang mga koneksyon ng kaunti weaker, Pakiramdam ko ay isang bit ng unraveling. At ang mapanglaw salita na tumawag sa aking isip ipaalala sa akin — magtanong hindi para kung kanino ang kampanilya toll, ito toll para sa iyo.

PJ ay isang makinang na tao. Umaasa ako na ang kanyang kinang ay magiging pinagmumulan ng lakas at tapang sa mga malapit sa kanya. Alam mo kung ano ang kanilang sasabihin, kandila na Burns dalawang beses na mas maliwanag na Burns kalahati hangga't. Gamit ang isa sa aming mga pinakamaliwanag na kandila nagniningas out, kung ano sa tingin ko ay isang pakiramdam ng pagkakaroon ng ilang mga kadiliman pababang sa isang lugar malayo.

Larawan ni armin_vogel cc

Kamatayan ng isang Magulang

Dad
My father passed away early this morning. For the past three months, he was fighting a heart failure. But he really had little chance because many systems in his body had started failing. Siya ay 76.

I seek comfort in the fact that his memories live on. His love and care, and his patience with my silly, childhood questions will all live on, not merely in my memories, hopefully in my actions as well.

Perhaps even the expressions on his face will live on for longer than I think.

Dad and NeilDeath is as much a part of life as birth. Anything that has a beginning has an end. So why do we grieve?

We do because death stands a bit outside our worldly knowledge, beyond where our logic and rationality apply. So the philosophical knowledge of the naturalness of death does not always erase the pain.

But where does the pain come from? It is one of those questions with no certain answers, and I have only my guesses to offer. When we were little babies, our parents (or those who played the parents’ role) stood between us and our certain death. Our infant mind perhaps assimilated, before logic and and rationality, that our parents will always stand face-to-face with our own end — distant perhaps, but dead certain. With the removal of this protective force field, the infant in us probably dies. A parent’s death is perhaps the final end of our innocence.

Dad and NeilKnowing the origin of pain is little help in easing it. My trick to handle it is to look for patterns and symmetries where none exists — like any true physicist. Death is just birth played backwards. One is sad, the other is happy. Perfect symmetry. Birth and life are just coalescence of star dust into conscious beings; and death the necessary disintegration back into star dust. From dust to dust… Compared to the innumerable deaths (and births) that happen all around us in this world every single second, one death is really nothing. Patterns of many to one and back to countless many.

We are all little droplets of consciousness, so small that we are nothing. Pa, part of something so big that we are everything. Here is a pattern I was trying to find — materially made up of the same stuff that the universe is made of, we return to the dust we are. So too spiritually, mere droplets merge with an unknowable ocean.

Going still further, all consciousness, spirituality, star dust and everything — these are all mere illusory constructs that my mind, my brain (which are again nothing but illusions) creates for me. So is this grief and pain. The illusions will cease one day. Perhaps the universe and stars will cease to exist when this little droplet of knowledge merges with the anonymous ocean of everything. The pain and grief also will cease. In time.