Saturday, March 15, 2008

Simply subconscious

It's an awry feeling to get up at around 8 in the morning after about twenty snoozes an hour; the war torn feeling just lingers on and you know exactly what you are going to do for the next twenty to thirty minutes to get ready for work, and at the back of your head, you actually don't have any idea as to what you're doing. Ironical, but every human being getting up to go to work will know what exactly I'm talking about. Every morning is like a deja vu and the repeatability of daily life leaves you asking a lot more questions instead of getting the answers as time goes on.

What is it about the subconscious aspect of life? Many times, I don't even realize that I am driving my car from home to office or vice-versa. I have spoken to a lot of people about this, and I get a response, that it is the case of taking certain things for granted. It is just about how you prioritize certain things in life. You know the route by-heart, that you end up following the car ahead of you. When the car in front of you stops, you just stop, and when it moves, you move. Many days, when I reach office, I realize I don't even know what I did the last ten minutes? It is not frightening, because you know at the back of your head, you have to follow the rules. The subconscious mind takes over, taking you through the twists and turns of the pathway, bringing you to a halt when required to, allowing you to accelerate when you have to, and finally at the destination, you don't even realize that you have driven. The best part about the whole thing is, I follow MSS verse by verse as she renders the Sanskrit slokas adding so much vitality to the morning routine.

After a point, I realized that this is not the case with just the morning routine. Many a time, when going along with a group, you have mapped the starting point and the destination in your mind. Even when one of the other two drive along, and reach home after about twenty minutes of gibberish (because that's how much junk we talk) drive, Sameer or Chetan would let out the usual statement, "Guys, do you even realize that we have driven for the last twenty minutes and reached home." Not one of us would have spoken about the route, nor even cared to find out whether we are heading in the right direction or not. But, we would still not have exhausted ourselves with the trash talk.

It is strange how we adapt ourselves through different situations. The mind knows when to question and when not. At every stage, we are stuck to a particular routine, that we just end up going through the motions. You know how exactly you should not deviate from the routine. Moreover, it just seems that you are not ready for the change. When life is going along without any problems, why induce a change? I do try to change my routine on the way back from work. I stop by at the library, browse through the collection of latest books and DVDs, pick up something for the evening and return home. Sometimes, I also go to the Barnes and Noble store, and the vibrant atmosphere in the bookstore just makes your evening. I just get amazed at the number of people reading a wide range of books. That's one of the things I got to observe about the people here. They just pick a book and read in the bus or train, even if it means only for a few minutes. But going to the bookstore is a scary proposition, because coming back empty handed is the toughest job in life. The last time I went to a Borders book store, I ended up buying The Godfather and The complete works of William Shakespeare. Even though the book reading rate has gone down considerably these days (believe it or not, I took almost a month and a half to finish the Godfather; it is an insult to such a wonderful book), it is still a pleasure to spend time at a bookstore and forget the daily vagaries of life. The prospect of handling a new book in a lovely bookstore fills you with an unexplainable bliss.

Now, this is called as going astray. But, when you introduce a topic of books in a blog post, the end result is inevitable. You are forced to divert from the topic! Fortunately, this shows I was not subconscious when I was writing the post. Now, beat that!


  1. Well done, Praveen! I agree with you that the subconscious mind taking over is one of the most fascinating things to ponder about...Similarly, I vouch for 'instinct' - for e.g. you know when someone is staring at you, even though you can't see them..
    And, likewise with the books..there was a time I could read in peace without getting distracted every few minutes..sadly, that time is in the past now!

  2. Too right, everyone has this sense of doing automatically things that we do everyday - are we programmed, or have we got everything planned to a T and mechanically do one task after the other?

    But this business of going home - even animals have it - the homing instinct. Often on the roads near villages, we have seen the cartman asleep, with his whip dangling between his fingers, while the cows go jangling their way home, slowly but surely. They know just where to go.

  3. Very well put, Praveen!Most of us will be staring at nothing or nothingness when we wait for something.I have observed this phenomenon at traffic junctions anywhere in any city: the driver, tongawalla, a child on mother's lap sitting behind a scooter.. all will be staring at a void, a temporary suspension of action & thought but staring at nothing in particular. when the traffic light turns green, as if in a cue ,we pick up the thread of life again and start living! This has fascinated me but I can't explain it. May be you can!

  4. Sowmya,
    Yeah, I think over a period of time, we get used to the usuals so much, that we somehow start neglecting the routine, knowing for sure that things are going to be normal. I have experienced the "instincts", but not necessarily with staring. There are many things that I end up doing purely based on instincts. Sometimes, it is just unexplainable. As for books, whether you are in a position to read books or not, you still want to spend time thinking about buying a book!!!!

    Mrs. Raji Muthukrishnan,
    Mam, it is a pleasure to see your comment, and it felt really nice to see your blog. Nice to know that you have taken up blogging! You put up a nice comment illustrating your point. I think it is prevalent among animals too when they stop expecting something to deviate from the normal. Inherently, we are programmed to a fixed set of expectations, those which just cannot change!

    Mr. ER Ramachandran,
    Sir, I just love the way you have posted the comment explaining what happens at the traffic lights. You have just hit the nail on the head. It is really fascinating to see life come to a standstill for those few seconds, and then see how people move on with life, as though there was nothing happening around you a few seconds back. Truly fascinating!

  5. good post as always!!

  6. deep a post for me..:)..hehehe...nice 1 though...

  7. Well, I read and re-read this post many times thinking whether I can comment or not. And here I am still thinking the same !! ;)

    Very true and I agree with you about subconscious mind taking over. Actually this fact has subconsciously there that we are subconscious minds.
    Right from getting up from the bed it is routine w/o any change. Even washing our hands before/after eating. Our minds are trained to do so.

  8. Cuckoo,
    What's up? Long time no news from you at all. Why did you have to think so much? :-)

    I actually realized that you moved out from your old website only a couple of days back. I visited your new place, but I couldn't get to the Musings page. Any problems with your site?

  9. Probably we feel its subconscious because the activity being performed over here is a simple routine.For instance if we were doing a specialized skill and repeating it again and again then probably after the (n+1)th time we would say that it was the subconscious at work over here too.

  10. Abhishek,
    Yup, you are right! Getting confined to a routine can kill your life :-)

  11. Hey, even I absolutely loved Barnes and Nobles book store. If I was reading a series and knew the new book would be out, I would go to Barnes and Nobles for a good read! Ahh...I really do love that store...even better than malls! :)

  12. Read chinmaya nanda's summary on bhagvad gita or listen to his audio "man of perfection."