Sunday, September 9, 2007


A hundred hues and shades coloured the sky and lit up my world. There were colours and shades that I could not name. The clouds that partly hid the sun had borrowed its brilliance. They had their own idea of decorating the sky. The sun was so ashamed and jealous of them that it just sank in its own place, lower and lower till it could be seen no more. The clouds were not worried. They were in fact overjoyed to have the sky to themselves. Who ever thought of comparing dark clouds and sorrow! The stars too strained to have their place in the sky, but they did not stand a chance. The clouds were gathering their kin together – it was party time.

I stood on the terrace and watched as the clouds got really excited and roared out hellos to friends, slapped each other’s backs in a boisterous way. So much enthusiasm and so much joy. It got louder and the atmosphere was electric. A lot like when a crowd gathers for a rock show. A few moments of silence – and then music. Big drops fell, first slowly and then fast. In a few seconds the entire land was soaked in this celebration. Celebration of life and the power of giving.

Feeble mortals scattered from their gossip-joints and ran to get away from the downpour. The few who couldn't squeeze into the shops and shelters around scurried like rodents down the street to get into other holes. Centuries of efforts to conquer the earth and establish his supremacy, centuries of taking, plundering and never giving back has only resulted in creating people with less and less power of imagination and appreciation and understanding. When will he understand that the clouds and the land and the sky are woven together. When will he understand that no matter what he does he can never win over anything. Powerless and feeble, he is, and will remain.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Love. Really.

Love. The most misunderstood and distorted emotions of all. Though it has inspired so many people into making brilliant pieces of art, music and poetry, it has also caused so much of sorrow and heartburn. It is not so much in the people who are receiving and giving this wonderful feeling as in the way this feeling is expressed and understood. It is the most basic of all emotions and so it comes from the depths of the heart or soul or mind or brain or whatever the organ. It comes from the energy with which a person lives. It is associated with that very force that keeps a person alive. And it lasts as long as the person lives. There is no such thing as less love or more love. There is no such thing as bad love and good love. There is no such thing as love that you give in return for something else. It is the purest form of energy that flows in the veins of every person. Love is stronger than anything in the world. Even stronger than the forces of life and death that are so mysterious and huge to us. Then why is it misunderstood.. because it is distorted and corrupted and misunderstood by only things that cloud the mind and disallow it from seeing reality in its true form. It isn't love that lets us see dear ones work miseries on themselves and then rush to them with words of kindness and sweetness, when it would have been a better thing to shield them and guard them from their miseries in the first place. The kind that offers nothing but sweet words and passive emotion is as untrue as these words themselves. It is not a handy device that we use to make a person aware that we are trying to "help" them. That love that is shown to gain the other person's attention or affection is no love at all. Nor is it that love that is shown with the hope that someday it will be returned in a bigger, better package. It is giving and never expecting anything in return. It is giving till the last ounce of strength is left in the body and the last sign of life in the heart. It is giving when everything that was owned is lost or spent. It is never asking for anything except true happiness for the other person. It is suffering with loved ones when they suffer and rejoicing when they rejoice. It is loving the thought that the mind is filled with love for this person. It is the most selfless as well as the most selfish emotion. Selfish because the pleasure of having someone to love is a completely personal happiness. Though love can be spread and given away, the pleasure of love is truly personal. It is something that the giver alone can experience and enjoy. Love that has to be continually expressed through words rather than deeds and gestures is no love at all. Words are feeble means that man has made to make up for his inability to express things. Love is beyond these feeble attempts at communication. Deeds are the only way love can be shared. It is only through giving that it can be spread. Giving, as in helping to nurture a better state of mind and a better life to look forward to. Never material. Love is an emotion that flows out with nothing and no one to stop it. Love that flows out in this uncontrolled way is misunderstood to be obsession and crudeness. It is even taken to be hatred. There is nothing as pure as this love that is inspired by the need to grow together and flower, to experience things together and protect each other from anything that may cause harm. And such emotion that helps this growth - that is love. Really.

Complex thoughts

He had been at this thing for more than a week. Nothing seemed to be working out. He had tried every trick in the book and more. His little contraption just did not want to move its powder-coated, laser-finished backside to his commands.
He looked numbly at his nails. They were too long. It had been so long since he had gone out of the facility. Homesickness was not very helpful either. Not that he enjoyed being at home. He at least felt like he belonged somewhere when he thought of it.
"Snap out of it. Get back to work." He obeyed that shrill voice. Obediently bent his head over the uncooperative board. OK. This connection was a tad too weak. Maybe a little more solder. Maybe one more of these dumb things could fit in here. Make this value larger. Fit the changes in the code. Muttering suggestions to himself, technical gibberish. Maybe quitting the whole thing and going back home would be a better idea. He cursed himself for believing that life here would be great and full of all that he had seemed to want 5 years back. Five years. Things had grown so much more complex.
He had wanted to be here, doing this very thing. He had pictured this very scene - of a very sticky problem that would let him dive deep into the exciting world of discovering and finding things. Things that would make him... famous? Or feel good about achievement? Or was it the money. He had wanted to be here all his life. But the reason that had held him then didn't seem so real and simple any more. Things had grown so much more complex.
Like that voice of his brain that kept nagging him into working. It had kept him churning out results and had kept making him perform beyond heights he had set for himself. The feeling of pride had slowly faded into what it was today - confusion...
Finally his contraption was listening to his commands. He felt a mere fraction of that feeling of achievement that he had felt while starting out. Then he had simply grazed the surface. Today he had touched great depths. Yet the feeling just did not excite him...
Walking home in the dead of the night he let his thoughts run. His brain had solved every problem that he put it to work at, all his life. But he had wanted that to work only with his inventions and his robots that had made him extremely famous and rich. He had never wanted his brain to work at all life's issues like they were mathematical, electronic or mechanical glitches. But his brain had gone all out. It ruled every aspect of his life. He had stopped enjoying life. He only worked out equations and cleared bugs. Analyzing like he was so used to. In the beginning, talking and expressing his emotions had been natural. Analysis had got him so deep into things that life got too complex. He was still churning out complex papers and analyses. But life had just stopped making sense.
Insight. His forays into human psychology books as a young man had told him that insight was the ability to see himself and analyze his behavior. Or something like that. Insight was his brain analyzing his own brain. He used to do that frequently. Sometime later one part of his brain kept questioning the functioning of the other part. Kept criticizing and putting him down. Kept nagging him after a while. Now it reigned completely. While he worked endlessly, his nagging brain would keep goading him into making his work perfect. More perfect than ever. Always a little more than before.
But this had taken him away from himself and life. He longed to go back home to his country to meet his parents. Heck. He wanted to go out to meet his wife and children who lived in the house so close by. But he could not. He had to finish the day's work. He always had to.
He turned back to the facility to work on perfecting the contraption. It had to be done. The analyses were getting worse. Maybe the thing had not been working so well...


My name is Richard Sheffield. I worked at __ Technology Research Center till two years back. It was here that I came to know of Ben Ruffley. He was a young man of just 33 then. He was the most brilliant and most famous of all the people who worked in the facility. I remember thinking that he was the kind of person that would fit the stereotypical-scientist description. Unkempt looks, terrible at making light conversation, absent-minded, always preoccupied, talked to himself aloud, always mild-mannered.
I never worked with him or close to him. I was just a student with a part time job of writing about scientists and their jobs. But I had a friend who worked with him. It is through this friend that I got these pages. Let me make this clear. These pages were not stolen from anywhere. He had found them kept with some of his own papers. He had not known what to make of these sheets and had given it to me because I had shown interest. The complex thoughts were interesting. It looked like an effort of writing some fiction to me. After the happenings of these few days, however, I realized that these papers are very important means to getting to understand some things about Ben Ruffley. Today as I watch the news on TV and re-read these sheets of paper that I have kept well preserved, I am shocked. Can what I am thinking really be true?
Everyone who knows him would agree that he overworked. He almost lived in his lab. I wonder if he ever spent any time with his children at all. He kept going deeper into his research and all the gadgets that he had made were soon available all around the world, they were all widely successful. I believe he earned a great sum of money for all his work, but the man did not seem to slow down and enjoy life. He just kept working. He never even stopped to have a small happy moment once, during all those celebrations that the scientists in the facility held for him. There was nothing to life except work for him it seemed.
It never occurred to anybody around him that he was suffering any strain because of this constant work in his lab. Or rather, that he had been working constantly because of the strain in his mind. People just assumed that he was happiest doing his job. No one knew that while he was working this way he had a part of him that wanted to enjoy family and friends. That he was forcing himself to work like this had never occurred to anyone. Since he had quit all contact with other people, except for brief discussions about work, no one knew his state of mind. Who would have suspected that such a brilliant mind had been diseased.
I believe this is what had happened. He had started his career with the aim of making his thinking and working disciplined. He kept checking himself and controlling himself from taking breaks and wandering away in thought. This had been the cause for his perfect work. People just marveled at the finesse and cleverness of his inventions. But sometime later that part that kept checking his working and pushing him into making things better went out of control. He had realized that there was something wrong which is why he has written out these “diary entries”. I am sure he had written about himself but the third person narration of his own life had become a way with him, I believe. This I say because though there were many things that he had crossed out and changed in an effort to make the writing sound more accurate to what he was feeling, the pronouns never slipped into "I" or "me". In the 30 or so sheets that are with me, nowhere does he write in first person. The first few entries are coherent. The later entries are very jumbled and contain more crossed out sentences than complete ones. But the narrative style never changed. This style was just like his way of working. He had strived to make the writing perfect. This is an indication that his brain had begun slipping into obsession over perfection. This journal entry that I have put up for you to see describes his state of mind when I had been working in the facility. In the two years that followed what went on in that brilliant and diseased brain is not known.
Ruffley had been on the verge of making an extremely important invention. All his papers suggest that his work, if completed would have changed the way scientists and technologists thought of and worked with artificial intelligence. I am not well informed about these things but it is said that it would have been groundbreaking if completed. It would have brought laurels and riches to him and he would have been hailed as the greatest inventor that mankind had known since Phoebe Nelson.
He had walked out of the lab that Friday in the dead of the night. People at the facility had found it extremely strange that he had not turned up for work two whole days after he went missing. Not finding him at his residence they launched a statewide search for him. Ben Ruffley remains missing till today.
I wish I could get the rest of the journal so that I can contribute to unraveling the mysteries of what happened to Ben Ruffley. I feel that bringing these sheets of paper to light could have helped in finding the scientist’s ailment early on and could have somehow prevented this sudden fate that has befallen him. But as you would understand, I had no inkling that these sheets were the scientist’s innermost thoughts and troubles. I hope this troubled mind finds its way back home. The world really needs him.