Monday, September 02, 2013

Zen Pencils

In the recent days, I have become a big fan of Zen Pencils. This is basically a comic which takes up quotes, speeches, songs, poems as its themes and gives a wonderful interpretation in the modern day context.

This week's comic is particularly close to heart because it has taken up Bill Watterson's commencement address at Kenyon College and has converted the speech into a beautiful, poignant comic with Calvin and Hobbes evoked very subtly in all the boxes. For a person who can quote Calvin and Hobbes verbatim, it is a carnal sin when people attempt to create a modern day version. It sullies the collective wisdom of a five year old and his tiger and worse it makes Calvin to grow up. However, I was completely blown away by Zen Pencil's interpretation which while quoting Watterson, takes us through his life hinting Calvin all along but never saying so.

It is beautiful. Do check it out here. Do look out for the Dinosaur & the author's daughter holding up a gun. I definitely know the sheepish look.

There were two pieces so profound that it worth adding them here.

Finding what you like is definitely not easy but is definitely allowed. It just reminds me of a day this February when I went to buy milk and returned home devastated that I had been buying the same milk at the same super market every weekend and nothing in my life was changing the way it should be. Just to figure out what I really wanted to do took me so much time and to get there, and to "will" things to happen was a brutal, masochistic process. Whenever I sit in some awesome class chuckling at what the witty professor just said to get his point across, I tell myself that it was worth it.

When people ask me why I didn't start my PhD right after college, I often wonder what I can tell them.  How do I explain that these things cannot be planned. I cannot really explain why I like doing certain things in a certain way leveraging what I can do best instead of trying to be good at something I don't like but people expect me to be. I cannot explain how important it is for me to be excited about what I do and even now, I feel it is okay to go back and forth until I get it right.

Sometimes I don't even know who or what we are running up against. When I see some of my classmates from middle or high school on Facebook, I wonder why we all squabbled over who got the first rank or won a stupid Math quiz. Life averages us out eventually. Our definitions of happiness varies so much that it is stupid to make us all stick to arbitrary timelines and measure us all with the same success metric. After a point, the value of 12th standard marks, CTC, GRE/GMAT score diminishes to insignificance. At this point, I see people envying each other only on the quality of life apparent on their social media feed- the fun things that they get to do after work, the biking trips, exotic vacations and so forth (given the assumption that most people consider all work to be boring as everyone codes for someone else) - which is rather sad.

Ok, time to get back to work. Hope you enjoyed the comic as much as I did!



Based on this post. You have changed a lot.

Uttara Ananthakrishnan said...

:-) For good, I hope

Shyam Kumar said...

I loved reading this Uttara.

"Life averages us out eventually. Our definitions of happiness varies so much that it is stupid to make us all stick to arbitrary timelines and measure us all with the same success metric"
I loved how you phrased this. Ill stop before i risk sounding like a fanboy.
My only grouse is that it was too short and ended abruptly. I was looking forward to reading the next paragraph when it read "Okay its time to get to work".

Uttara Ananthakrishnan said...

Haha, I really had to get back to work. :-)

But Thanks!