People who have inspired me when I left home

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I remember my karate teacher asking me in 9th Grade, that who I got inspired from, in life. I remember mumbling something about good qualities from everyone and then mumbling something about Hitler. That in retrospect seems very ordinary, ill-informed and weird? I often thought whether I even get inspired from anyone and having babbled such a stupid pretentionist answer. However later in life I garnered influences from the most unlikeliest of places. It was Gandalf and Frodo’s journey that inspired me or Sidney Sheldon’s exotic locales and hot-shot protagonists. It was the Famous Five before F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Hardy Boys before True Detective. How I devoured them. It was the wonderment from stolen astronomy books and history from the coffee table books my dad got.

I grew older, my inspiration came from the people I met and (s)talked to. In chronological order →

P

She was an English honors graduate and we became pen pals of sorts on Facebook. I was in my second year engineering whereas she had graduated and progressed to journalism school. I loved my English teachers a lot and they gave me a perspective in life which the mathematics and sciences could never. Donning a similar role P helped me assuage my love for books, reading and writing. I do not remember how exactly we started corresponding but we often wrote to each other. In one of the messages she sent me the following which I still read for inspiration. My English still sucks and I haven't read half the things she said.

I can't sleep at night. Something is wrong with me.
As for economics, understand the basics first. And there are loads of perspectives to that as well. But get the basics clear. Smith, Malthus, Keynes. Read Paul Samuelson. But that’s the conventional, mainstream understanding.
For the alternative reading. Read Joan Robinson, John Eaton — for a Marxist approach. Moshe Adler.
Read The Economist. NYT. Guardian. Democracy Now. And not just for economic news. They are brilliant.
Everything is available online, as you know.
For understanding Indian economic issues, read Macroscan. And Economic and Political Weekly (EPW). Serious stuff, lemme tell you. And again the alternative, leftist understanding (what I personally subscribe to.)
As for understanding other issues/news/views, etc.
Read Tehelka, Open, Frontline. For the Indian context.
For international issues. Read Truth Out. Slate. Al Jazeera. Der Spiegal. Democracy Now. All f’cking brilliant. And, of course, Guardian, NYT. Must reads.
Oh, and read this blessing of a site called aldaily.com. Arts and Letters daily. News, stories, articles, features, ideas etc. from across the world. Another must.
For finance news, of course, Mint is the best bet right now. Very understandable. WSJ. etc.
And use StumbleUpon, if you’re not on it already. It’s pretty awesome.
As for Marx and the abstruse philosophical terms, a little later.
P.S. Yes, as for newspapers, start reading The Hindu, Indian Express. Though no harm knowing different points of view. The more the better.
And I shall download the album soon. Some problem on the wifi, so could not right now.
P.P.S. Do you use Grooveshark? Best place to listen to anything in the world, though you can’t download. Oh, and I love Bandcamp. Lets you download directly by some really cool, contemporary bands. Check out No Through Road, esp this album called Lo-fi Sandwich. I totally love low fidelity. And Sufjan Stevens. And loads of other cool alternative bands and artists. Explore.
Aaand, there is this really cool site called 8tracks.com. Check out their playlists/mixes on different themes. Pretty good stuff. Also check out stereomood.com
Do you listen to trip-hop, electronica, trance and other experimental music? If you’re interested, there’s some pretty amazing stuff to be explored there as well. Let me know.
Read Absurdism. Nihilism. And, of course, Existentialism. Sartre. But don’t necessarily follow it, even though you may relate to it.
Then graduate to Postmodernism. Even though you may not understand it. Then dismiss it.
Futile. Such is life, my love.
Then read Economics, and Finance. And explain it to me if you get it.
What are your thoughts on Socialism, Communism and Capitalism? And Marx is important, though not necessarily Marxism. Has been distorted.
I am sorry. I have lost it.
Then read poetry. Love poetry depresses me. Words faze me.
Read Eclectica. Go to eclectica.org. Read their archives. And poetry.
Read this http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/mar/20/annie-finch-workshop-love-poems
And if you like it, I’ll give you a list of my favourite poets so far. Must read. You’ll love them.
And read the newspapers, of course. The Hindu, Indian Express. Al Jazeera English. Guardian, NYT, The Economist. New Yorker.
Macroscan. Democracy now. Slate. etc.
Open magazine.
Read. Read. Understand.
And read Derrida. And, Foucault, of course.
Haha. Life?
I am bored. Meaning?
There is no such thing.

P knows who she is. Hello P, if you are reading this post.

U

I also met U in second year of college, he was one year senior to me. It was the only time I talked to him and we never talked ever since then (edit: we have now). I was running the college newspaper and had to interview someone to talk about the non-existent music scene which was supposedly dying. That surely did not take time as you may gather and talks quickly turned to his influences in general, musical influences. I will unabashedly state that I had a Britney Spears phase in school which quickly turned to the metal + hard rock + melodic death metal phase when college began. U, on the other hand, introduced me to the 60s, the glorious 60s. He spoke for an hour, after which I was convinced I had to be back at my hostel room and listen to Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane. Jimi stopped being noise to me and Dylan’s lyrics seemed poetry.

He was a vocal advocate of marijuana use and asked me read http://marijuana-uses.com/mr-x/ , which has Carl Sagan describing his experiences with the herb. He talked about US pressure and how the Rajiv Gandhi government bucked under pressure by inculcating Marijuana in the hard drugs act (NDPS act) of the 1985.

He talked about advent of the modern recording equipment and the sound engineer responsible for it, the advent of the electric guitar and the improvement in sound and used the word “crystal” to describe it. Crystal sound eh? He gave a new perspective to a sound I never understood and a culture I never know existed.

S

I dated her. She taught me patience. She taught me resilience. She called me naive. She said I did not understand anything. She loved me. She used words. She used words I did not understand. She was right. She got angry. She taught me. She made me get up early in the morning. She made me sleep late at night. She made me cry. She made me laugh. She asked me not to take her food.

She was felix felicis.

She had to be away. But.

A

Two women, with same initials convinced me to go out and travel. One of them knew me, the other did not, but it doesn’t matter. Both the women really documented their travel experiences quid vividly with pictures and words. They inspired me to run amok, run wild and run free.

R

He knows I am writing this for him. Much in life he has taught me - making me a la Sal Paradise for him being Dean Moriarty. I went on the solo backpacking trip he was supposed to go on. And I imbibe his pursuit of pursuing personal projects with as much fervour as he would. He opened a whole new way of thinking and doing things. Weekends should not become an outlet of mindless drinking and debauchery and they should be organized — debauchery and mindless spending of money should be planned. We would know what the other person was talking about because well, we both read Quora and Brain Pickings. While I was slaving in a corporate job, he was trying 10 things at a time. Maybe he did things I secretly wanted to do, maybe the grass is always greener on the other side. But he inspired me, in ways, in ideas, in thoughts. And I am thankful to him.

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