I have a friend. We used to hang out in the streets a lot around those days. And a very typical quote from him when we used to hang out was, “ I know what you are doing, and I know what you are thinking.” I would reply back, “What do you think I am thinking?”And he would say, “I know you are checking out the girls in the street. You pretend to us that you’re not looking there, but you are.” And he was sure of my ghastly deed. Always.

A beautiful capture of Dhaka Tea stalls by Sakib Chaklader. Thank you!

He always thought whenever I looked at the streets, I was checking out women. Maybe he had good intentions, maybe he wanted to correct me. But one brother once said, “You can only see in people what’s inside of you”.

Truth be told, Yes of course, I did. Sometimes. Is there any guy who doesn’t sometimes? Don’t we belong to the mammal species or what?

Blind monks examining an elephant, an ukiyo-e print by Hanabusa Itchō (1652–1724).

Do you remember the Elephant and the Blind Men parable?

The story tells a deep philosophy hidden behind a simple story. My friend reminds me of the story of the blind men, who only adheres to their own opinions.

What’s the Story?

Some blind men comes together to become aware of a strange new animal called Elephant and they are not aware of it’s shape and form. So, they said, “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. the first person touches the trunk with his hand and said, “This being is like a thick snake”. One another comes in-front and touches the ear and it seems like a fan to him. There was one another who places the hand upon his leg, and said the elephant is pillar, like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon it’s side said, “elephant is a wall!” There was one another, and he felt it’s tail and described it was a rope. What did the last one say? He said the elephant is hard, smooth and like a spear. You can guess where he touched!

If you are still reading this, I hope you are not blind and fixed to one side, so wait till I finish my story.

I did not just check out women. I checked out guys as well. I checked out older people, young kids, babies everything there were in my existence. What they wore, how they were moving, what they were talking, where they were going. I was trying to see all.

Curiosity is something that I have since when I was a child. And I am sure you all reading this too. But to what extent do you use your curiosity? That matters a lot. My curiosity still persists. But the problem is, nobody told me or threw at me opinionated fireballs when I was a child. But now as an adult, I had to hear this constantly from my friend.

There was a time I told him, I try to see everything that’s within my horizon of the eye. That was another sad story.That was too misinterpreted. I was a laughing stock. And me? Failing to comprehend what was going on around me.

So, did I or did I not check out women? Yes, honest truth, sometimes I did. But when I felt like it. I never looked at a woman to check her out sexually when I had a girlfriend and committed to a relationship. I had my girlfriend to check out. Why waste time checking out others? But yeah, when I was single, sometimes I did.

When my thoughts of sex trumped my curiosity.

What am I talking about?

Recently I have started following a mental model. ( I have been creating a lot of mental models lately, tell me if you would want to know more) which is,

If you move your body, you can’t move your mind, if you move your mind you can’t move your body.

I have been trying that model for sometime and it has been working wonders. But when I am outside I am moving my body, I am supposed to look at the trees, the houses, the shops, you know the things that are not moving.

But again, I felt I was missing out something.

I missed people. I missed looking at them and trying to learn about them.

I am a social scientist. And over the years I have been developing myself academically to become a official one. But unofficially, I was always interested about human behavior. I was interested about body languages, clothing colors, how people talk, what they do, emotional intelligence and so on and on. You get the idea. You get the idea better if you are from social sciences. But it takes some time to come to a realization.

And now I have finally achieved freedom. Freedom from what?

Freedom from the guilt that my friend all the time made me feel. Because after he would accuse me, I would always think, “was I actually checking out?” Because there’s a very thin line between observing someone and checking out someone. In a blink of an eye your thoughts can rotate. I am sure you have your own funny experiences as well.

Now I have finally developed another mental model. And it’s been soooo liberating.

Stop thinking about food and sex and you will do wonders.

There’s a huge discussion and philosophy behind that mental model. If you have studied philosophy and psychology you would kinda get what I am saying. That is not something I will not focus right now. But if you still need further explanation we can always talk about it. I am not sure about the wonders part, but it is something to keep me going. A motivational carrot.

But is it working?

It’a working freaking awesome. Yes, you make your mistakes and adjust here and there like when you drive your car or your bicycle. But I believe I am going there.I don’t have to fear looking at women anymore. Because I am not thinking about them from a sexual point of view. I am thinking them from a human point of view. Because I have stopped thinking about food and sex. Sometimes I have minimalist thought about sex, but yes, that thought is reserved. I have stopped thinking about food, because I am eating once a day. I think only of what to eat at the end of the day. How do I cook? Google, my friend.

And it has been a liberating experience of my life.

I thank you my friend for putting me to this test. And I hope you will be proud of me reading this.

This article is dedicated to my friend SSR!

Thank you too Anika Anjum for inspiring me to write today! Means a lot!

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Touhid Kamal

Touhid Kamal

Reading, writing, listening and speaking all about human behavior. Reach me at kamaltouhid@gmail.com