"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

It was his first day at the new job as a teacher. The entire morning, as he got up and got ready, he cherished every moment of that joyous feeling of having achieved his dream. The dream he had fought so hard, and made so many sacrifices for. If he had walked the beaten path of lucrative careers he would be earning well and living a posh life, but his heart had prodded him otherwise. He had taken to his passion for knowledge, to serve knowledge, and decided to become a teacher.
"Every man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." - John Donne
"Once human beings - we, the Homo sapiens - developed language and created a system of sharing and, hence, cultivating knowledge about 70 millennia ago, we became an invincible species," said Professor Nath as she looked around the class expecting some amused faces. "We are the dominant and ruling species of this world today solely because of the way we process and utilize knowledge."
By broaching the topic, Nath hoped to impress upon her students the importance of education system and the need for students to develop an interest in learning and knowing, because that is how, she believed, our species could hope to stay at the top of the pyramid of life - as the pinnacle of all creation.
Notwithstanding the sobriety of the class, Nath continued, "Every ecosystem of the ancient world was teeming with a diversity of species, especially the ultra-large fauna, for millions of years. There were the mammoths, diprotodons, giant rodents, and so many animals weighing hundreds of kilograms. These large terrifying creatures had lived all their lives without any fear of predators, until we stepped into their world." And a sense of pride came of Nath, akin to a conqueror.
Her chest swelled with pride as she fantasized the hairy Sapiens of 16,000 years ago, crossing the Arctic glaciers and setting foot into the American heartland, wielding their dexterous hunting skills and decimating one monstrous species after another.
"In barely two thousand years of us entering America, we had settled the entire continent from north to south, ridding it of all its gigantic beasts." she surveyed the looks on her students' faces, "But no! don't think of us as monsters. We were just a frail hairy species, destined to be giant killers. We were the Davids, slaying the Goliaths of the ancient world, and making the world a peaceful and safe place."
The bell rang but before she dismissed the class, Nath reminded her students, "Tomorrow as we discuss about the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, you will see how humans have taken control of this world and, like a true leader, cogently arranged it to serve everyone's benefit."
Class was dismissed. Nath packed her bag and took the flight of steps down to the parking lot. On the way she met Professor Khan who was her usual chat companion.
"So what's the plan for the evening?" inquired Khan.
"Oh don't remind me. Today is a messy day," said Nath, "the whole evening would be spent in laying those cockroach pills all around the house."
"But you did that a few months back, isn't it?" asked Khan, "the roaches didn't die kya?"
"Oh those bloody irritating creatures," replied Nath in frustration, "they spread so fast, and infest everything in the house. I wish they became extinct yaar. They have ruined my peace of mind."

She started her bike and sped away.
"That's how it mostly is, Amit," said professor Vinod in a consolatory tone, "only a few very lucky ones get to research in the area of their interest. The rest of us just have to make do with wherever we get scholarship."
"But pure mechanics?" rued professor Amit, "who works in that field anymore? Just because nobody else took that up, they are assigning it to me. It's a dead field Vinod. I don't find any excitement in working in it. There are so many happening subjects out there, and I deserve to get one of those fields yaar."
"Arey understand na yaar. This year they have released funds only in that subject Amit. Our dean is a kind man. You should trust that he is not being prejudicial," said Vinod.
"Maybe I will just let it go and try next year. I can't digest that dry subject sir. It is just not palatable. There is a limit to how tasteless the department can be," quipped Amit.
"I hope you don't do that. Why don't you use your creativity and try to turn that dry subject into something interesting?" said Vinod with a wry smile, "Okay leave that. C'mon sit down. Let's enjoy our lunch now and worry about your doctoral research over tea in the evening. Okay?"
Amit agreed and they opened their lunch boxes and began to eat. Vinod let out a groan as soon as he saw the lemon rice that his wife had packed for him. "Ugh!" he reacted, "who eats this food? Tastes like junk from a restaurant's garbage bin."
"It's home cooked food Vinod," said Amit, "and bhabhi cooks so hygienically. Sometimes taste and hygiene don't go together."
"Sorry man," said Vinod, disgusted, "I cannot digest this. I have seen the food she cooks for my in-laws. It's like, me, the head of the family, gets the leftovers."
"Hey c'mon man," Amit tried to defend, "bhabhi will never do something like that." 
"No, I am not going to eat this man. There is a limit to how tasteless a food can be. I will throw it in the bin and will go eat in the canteen. Do you want to join me or not?" asked Vinod
Amit, melancholic over his own bad luck, was in no mood to join. He gestured Vinod to go ahead, while commenting, "why don't you just fast today? It will serve two goals - like a punishment for wasting good food as well as a health exercise for reducing that tummy of yours!" And Amit smiled wryly.
"No way I will fast. I have a right to tasty food man," replied an upset Vinod, "when there are alternatives and I can afford it, I deserve to enjoy my right yaar." And Vinod stormed towards the canteen.
So you say that in a marriage the couple is meant to be bonded for seven lives. But then why do I see all marriages happening in this life itself? Where are those marriages that are carried over from the past lives?

Many of the marriages you see are just a formality. Several of those bonds are indeed carried over from previous lives of the couples. They were destined to marry the moment they were born. That is why we say (some) marriages are made in heaven. Got it?

Oh I see! So then some heavenly force must be working to make sure that a couple, once married, are reborn as male and female human beings for the next seven lives, na?

Why do you say that?

Because all the marriages I see around are between a man and woman isn't it?


But then what happens to that rebirth law you spoke of, where a person's next life is decided by their acts in present life? Can a married couple be reborn as humans again irrespective of whatever acts they commit? Does the continuity of marriage bond of the couple take precedence over karma-punarjanma cycle of the individuals?

Hey wait! Karma-punarjanma cycle can't be avoided. Maybe that is why we see some of those village marriages happening with inanimate objects, like between a human and a banana plant, or a frog, or a stone or something like that!

Yeah right!

Displacement: an ego defence mechanism in the Freudian system where an agent takes his/her anxiety out on a less threatening target. Ironically, the human unconscious is not intelligent enough to foresee the cyclic interconnectedness of human life and, hence, the failure inherent in the concept of displacement.
Midsummer Sunday afternoons, when the wife's out, are an abode of peace. After a hectic week, I couldn't appreciate it more that she decided to meet her friends and leave me alone at home. I needed this unwinding - a repose by the balcony on a calm afternoon after a sumptuous meal. I wasn't particularly sleepy so decided to pamper my poetic sense by indulging into the intricacies of the moment.