Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde — a review

What happens when the ‘animal’, the ‘beast within man’, is let loose, and lust and pleasure become the sole guiding principle of life? Ruled by instincts, driven by pleasure, selfish, egotistic, giving free play to the passions of lust and anger, man is reduced to the state of an animal. R L Stevenson, better known for his novel The Treasure Island, dwells on the two well known sides of man — the good and the evil — in the story, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The good here is represented by a life of reason and self-restraint, and the naked, animal-like free pursuit of lust and pleasure is the evil. Yet the story packs in it a good deal of science fiction and mystery as well. Dr Jekyll, aware of the dual nature of man — his reason versus his instincts – discovers a chemical compound that can transform the features of human body, and also temper...
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Happiness is a side effect

Happiness appears to be the most sought after commodity other than money, and the contest between the two is nearly settled by the saying, ‘money can’t buy happiness,’ although being happy too can’t get you money by itself. That everyone wants to be happy is a universally accepted fact. Why would anyone want to be sad, or long for suffering? Does this mean we are some kind of pleasure-driven, biologically programmed machines seeking happiness all the time? No one appears to have ever felt ‘hungry’ for happiness, felt an ‘urge’ to be happy, or to have suffered when deprived of its pleasurable aspects. One may desire more money, more pleasure, more success, or more power, but never has anyone reported to want more of happiness after once being happy, or to have suffered for want of it. Nor did religion ever spoke of happiness as a virtue, laying stress instead on denial of pleasure. How then does happiness enter into the scheme...
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Living as individuals

Modernity and being educated is all about being an individual, knowing and seeing oneself for what one truly is, rather than identifying with larger groups, linguistic and ethnic identitites. The modern world however runs with a different understanding, proving me wrong all the time. The first thing people want to know, whether they are employers, colleagues, friends or neighbours, is which part of the country one comes from. India is linguistically divided, with over a dozen major language groups who now have their own separate states and governments. The question itself appears innocuous on its face. Anyone meeting a stranger or a foreigner would ask where they came from. What remains unsaid is the context in which a person actually gets defined in terms of his or her community. It is a context in which even community-specific nicknames are used to label others. Every individual, in this scheme of things, belongs to some community or the other. That is true. Every individual identifies...
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Nishabd Movie Review

Nishabd means speechless. The movie thrashes the issue of too-old-to-love-a-young-girl. It’s a non-issue, for we don’t really hear about this taking place around us. Yet there are elements in the story that deserve attention. – The way the old, nagging wife reacts when she hears about the young girl’s parents being divorced. It places her in a context – her carefree, un-natural sounding laughter and the don’t-give-a-damn attitude. – While the old man’s motives towards the girl are not clearly depicted — it could be love or lust, it sounds more a case of infatuation. – The girl is later on described as mad by her boyfriend. With the girl coming from a broken family, it is thus not a story of a ‘normal, typical girl’ falling for an old man. – The old man has to retract under pressure from his family. He wilts under societal pressure. – Confronted with his earlier remark on living life on one’s own terms, he confesses to being...
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Living an active life — connect to the present

Sometimes life becomes drab and dull. One feels like a passive, helpless observer, who can only react and struggle through each day as it passes us by. Moments of contentment become a chimera, and the very breath of life itself that kept one active and fresh in childhood gets stifled. There are remedies available of course. If reading self help and motivation books, doing yoga and engaging in creative / recreational activities doesn’t help, try this one exercise — connect yourself and feel the life around you as it passes by. Connect to the movement of nature around you, and make yourself rejoice them as if they were yours. They are indeed yours, for we were given not just a body and mind but also the natural world to live in. The time that flows around you is your time as much as it is anyone else’s. It is a part of your life. For once, let go of the aims, goals,...
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Living the city nightlife

Jim had decided to tour Manchester alone. He liked it that way — walking his way through the streets, mapping out the major routes and getting to know the city at eye levels. He was on a short trip to England, and was enjoying it thoroughly. The weather was just what suited him, neither too hot nor cold. The air was free, and the atmosphere relaxed. After taking a free bus ride from the Victoria station, Jim got down at Piccadilly and began walking toward the remains of the ancient Roman fort. It was Julius Caesar who had first spotted England and liked its fertile land, and had conquered it for the Romans to settle in. Making his way through tram tracks and majestic old buildings, Jim finally reached the fort and took a quick survey of the place. Some youngsters, boys and girls, hung around in deserted nooks and corners. Walking back, Jim missed a chance to visit the science...
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Quotes on freedom and individualism

1. Liberty is the highest political end. — Lord Acton 2. Solitary trees grow strong. — Winston Churchill3. I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul. — W E Henly 4. He, that is a master of himself and his own life, has a right to the means of preserving it. — Locke5. No man can settle another’s life for him. It is the test of the nature and courage of each that he shall decide it for himself. — R L Stevenson 6. The man of virtuous soul, commands not, not obeys. — P B Shelley 7. Bondage with ease, or strenuous liberty? — Milton 8. Greece – a country that left its people “unfettered discretion to live as they pleased.” — An Athenian general.9. Respected even of immortal gods is he who comes a fugitive. — Odyssey10. Nothing is harder for a man than restless roaming…— Eumeaues in Odyssey11….afterwards a man finds pleasue in his pains,...
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A Conversation on Living in the Present

by Remez Sasson Nothing is worth more than this day. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is. —Alan Watts Living in the present means being aware and conscious of what you are doing, feeling and thinking at the present moment. It means shifting your attention to the present moment and dealing with it effectively, instead of focusing on the past or future. The past has gone away and you cannot change it, and the future is the outcome of the present, of the way tou think feel and act now. True living occurs in the present moment, the only moment that exists. Below you will find a conversation between a teacher and a pupil about living in the present. This is an excerpt from the book ‘Peace of Mind in Daily Life’. Teacher: Living in the present moment helps you to avoid...
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