I love sci-fi movies. I have sat through movies like 2001-Space Odyssey, ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars without batting my eyelids even once for the fear that I might miss some action on the screen in that split second. I am one of those who strongly believe in extra terrestrial intelligence. I contemplate a lot on life in far off stars and what they will be like. I do find these sci-fi movies mentally very stimulating. Scientists have conceded long back on the possibility of the existence of planetary systems like our own solar system. They also concede that there are strong possibilities that there may be many other habitable planets, like our Earth, in the Universe supporting life. When movies like ET show the aliens visiting us from distant heavenly bodies, I feel overawed that while the humans merely keep sending unmanned spacecrafts to planets only within our solar system, these aliens could travel millions of light years to visit us occasionally. Looking at these movies, if you think that we are very generous in accepting that creatures from the space are far more intelligent than us to be able to travel millions of light years to take a look at what is life like on Planet Earth, stop and consider this. While we are only too willing to acknowledge that aliens from the space are super intelligent, we always show them in the most grotesque physical forms as in ET. We also show them as no match for our skills as we drive them back to their places or even destroy them laugh, stock and barrel! We see every alien getting outwitted by even the most dim-witted of the humans! These fantasies only confirm my belief that the humans are the most opinionated of all the living beings in the universe. The human race can be broadly divided into two categories, one that is highly opinionated and the other that is very finicky about others’ opinion in everything they do. The opinionated are the ones that keep insisting that a rabbit has only three legs. Even if you show them a normal rabbit with four legs, they will call it a genetic freak! They fit into Stephen Colbert’s definition ‘I'm not a fan of facts. You see, the facts can change, but my opinion will never change, no matter what the facts are.’! If a list of world’s most futile things can be made, reasoning with an opinionated person would easily rank the first. Opinionated people are short of imagination. Their minds are too narrow to be able to see others’ point of view. The rigidity with which they hold on to their opinions clouds their thought process and makes them quite unpopular. We come across so many of them in our day to day life and we find dealing with them as the most exasperating experience. The mind of an opinionated person is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you pour on it, the more it contracts! In dealing with them, we must understand that our purpose of being here is not to convert them but to enjoy ourselves! The other category is even more pitiable. People who always keep worrying about what others will think must remember the words of Carlos Slim Helu-“When you live for others' opinions, you are dead. I don't want to live thinking about how I'll be remembered.” It is a great irony of fate that most of us let our decisions be governed by what the invisible ‘others’ will say. In fact, this situation is rampant in our country where we give a lot more weight to the opinion of the public in arriving at decisions regarding our personal lives. When we have a daughter who remains unmarried despite advancing in age, we worry sick about what others will think rather than how our own daughter feels about it. In fixing her alliance, we are more driven by our anxiety about public opinion than the welfare of our children. Middle class people are more prone to suffer this complex than the affluent or the economically weaker sections. When I appended the text “To live respected and die regretted” to my signature a week back, I was just curious if anyone might ask “Respected and regretted by whom?” That is precisely the point that I am trying to make here!