The 5km Race

Sky slightly overcast, traffic routed through alternate highways, citizens terribly eager (40,000+ of them), me quite nervous but ready: the day had come. 

Giant banners and balloons loomed before the legendary 5km race path of the city, which once activated, stopped all other activity in the city. Every child, woman, and man came out of their houses on their houses on the day of the race, paid heavily just to participate (in my case my professor paid for our group :D) in a community race that was beyond anything I had ever imagined. 

It was thrilling when the pistol was shot, and I could hear thousands of feet, young and old, stamping on the ground, in an unsaid harmony, towards the steep hill, and my own choked breath was soon lost in the passionate crowd. I asked myself once again as I finished the 3km mark, "Why I was doing it? Why I was torturing myself?" - the same question I had asked myself 3 weeks ago, when I first began to train for the final day - the day when I broke down at mere 1km and had considered that 5km was impossible for me. But there was something in me that kept me going on, kept me motivated enough to keep training myself for this day, to get the best score. To save those few seconds in my total time. To win. 

And often I had quarreled to myself, why I'm running? Why not stop here now, lay down by the beach, and let it all go...But no, I had to run. I had taken it as a challenge. An impossible challenge. A fantasy. And then I had visions of people who came and told me, "You can't do this, Tanya. It's too hard for you." And maybe that is precisely why I had to do it. What is life without an impossible dream? 

And I did finish the run in the end. I was running 5km every day since past 1 week, steadily improving my runtime by a couple of seconds every day. On the final day, my run time was in the top 25% of 10,000 people who ran with me on the track. Although I killed myself in the process, legs are quite useless now, I was sick in the bed for 2 days, I guess it was worth. 

Do you like to push yourself very hard? Or is it just me?

Current Book: "Painless Writing" by Jeffrey Strauser (Some light stuff)
Current Music: "Brown Rang" by Honey Singh (;p)

Ayn Rand: An Ideal Remembered

I close friend of mine recently gifted me a documentary on Ayn Rand, and I decided to watch it this hot afternoon. As I got myself ready in a plush chair while the DVD churned in the laptop with considerable noise, I tried to remember why in the past 2 years I had almost forgotten everything about Rand and her writing?

At the time I had read Rand (Fountainhead & Atlas Shrugged), I was quite in love with it. My eyes were not keen enough to notice the wooden prose and straightforward style then, but my own intellect was alighted with passion. Rand, to me, was and is a great philosopher and story teller - her strong sense of characterization and portrayal of human reason & emotion is soul piercing. She is definitely not a literary genius as the ones that I’ve been reading in the past year – but that being said, she had a great influence on me as a person. But also, I wouldn't like to say that I am molded by her philosophy, because that's not the truth. The reason I like her so much is that she was one of the first and perhaps very few persons whom I have met, who happen to think quite exactly as I do. She fought for the same things that I've strived for. The importance of individual. 

I remember, reading through parts of Fountainhead and Atlas, I had almost cried. Because in those moments, I was suddenly not alone. I had a feeling that there was someone else in the world, who felt the same, who felt quite exactly the same. That one can’t be servile to other. That one has a right to one’s own happiness. And now watching her documentary brought all those passionate memories back to me. That Ayn Rand phase of my life. How did I forget all about it? 

It was also pleasantly surprising to know that in childhood Rand was quite anti-social, and did not have friends. It helps me to know that I have not been the only one living life in solace. And her ideas of Capitalism and selfish reason have never failed to rouse me. It's not surprising to see that her novels are on top list of modern library's readers’ choice (#1 and #2). For some reason, I've hopped on to pursuing the board's list on the left lately. But I have always wanted to find a guy like Roark; I never saw him so far, and perhaps will never be able to. I doubt if such a person exists. The world of Ayn Rand and her great men are now left behind in my memory. But why?

Oh yes, now I remember why I had forgotten all about Ayn Rand in those past years. Because you don't often are conscious of the ideals you inherently follow. You just believe. Because you don't count every breath you take. You just breathe. 

Current Book: "Mrs. Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf (Read Woolf and go to bed. Nothing more could be blissful.)
Current Music: "Titanium" by David Guetta ft. Sia (I listen to this when I'm feeling low)

Curiosity Rover Lands on Mars: An Inspiring Accomplishment

The most beautiful picture of the mission 
The past 24 hours have been quite unreal for me with all the thrill about the near impossible landing of the NASA's newest, 1 ton rover on the surface of Mars. I've been avidly following the built up of this excitement since the past 1 month, thanks to the amazing public outreach and killer videos by the JPL team at Caltech.

I can remember clearly, a dozen hours ago when I was watching the live stream from NASA TV, as the world entered the 7 minutes of terror. The look on the faces of those scientists packed in a single room, trying to accomplish the greatest achievements of mankind in space exploration, thrilled me beyond measure. And when, the announcement was made,

"Parachute deployed,"

Everyone in the room in California, USA clapped hard, and I, sitting far away in Europe, alone in my own room, clapped too. And when the final announcement of the safe touchdown on Mars was made, everyone in the room just went crazy with joy and tears, and so did I. Those final minutes of livecast from the EDL team were a better movie than the TDKR and HP7.

Overall, globally, I feel every common man, who may having nothing to do with science or engineering, was filled with awe on the news of such an event. But of course, there's also a section of society which merely discards these successes as "waste of time", "trivial exploits", "better spend $2.5billion on something else". It saddens me to know the extent of ignorance that still prevails in the 21st century. But then, there will always be these kind of people. There were a large group of people who were cynic about the invention of electricity. Then I'm sure there were people who must have been irreverent of the first satellite launch in the space. Little they would have known the importance of science, while their younger cynical generation idles their time on their TV sets, listening to weather forecasts.

But nevertheless, my primary point is that so inspiring can be the feats of others sometimes, that they inspire you to do more. Dare mighty things, is the phrase that is stuck in my head. And I think it's truly fortunate to be alive in the 21st century.

How beautiful life becomes once you are able to appreciate the beauty of it. When you can look at the stars and see the patterns and constellations. When you look at a flower, you can see not only the colors but the intricate machinery behind its bloom. And then you don't need money to have happiness.

Current Book: "Dubliners" by James Joyce
Current Music: "Imagine The Fire" by Hanz Zimmer (best thing on the music planet out there, still)

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