Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Daily Dose of Adventure


Why shell out money to experience ‘adventure’ in a wonderland when autorickshaws and buses can give you the ultimate theme park experience every day?
The roller coaster autorickshaw ride or the daily adventure — call it what you will.
A horde of vehicles flashed past. I made as if to run. Just then, a bus came from nowhere and blundered ahead, foiling my efforts. After about a minute of dilly-dallying, which appeared to me like hours, I dashed across the road, as if my life depended on it. Without stopping at the security entrance, I urged my legs to run faster. And even faster. And then finally! The moment I had been waiting for, finally arrived. I flashed a card at a device glowing red and beeping assent, making me feel as if I had just secured my entry into the FBI headquarters. Phew! But it was not 935 Pennsylvania Avenue. Welcome to a regular day of a regular week at work!
My friends often ask me, “Why don’t you take a cab or something?” My usual response is: “There are hardly any people coming from my end. Anyway, let’s see how long it lasts.”
Yes, I too am a proponent of the chalta hai movement. As long as it works, as far as it goes. Always pushing the envelope, always testing the limits. “You could bring a car, you know,” someone suggested. And spend an hour and a half staring at the ball of fire, turning red, green or orange, with my hands stuck to the steering wheel, switching between radio channels trying to locate one devoid of garrulous cranks trying to mobilise support for elections or selling products? Thank you, I’m fine. My friends fail to see my reasons for opting for public transport.
A nine-hour desk job involving sitting in front of the computer screen, letting the monitor radiation bore into my nearly empty head, is not exactly exciting. On the other hand, a bumpy roller coaster ride in a shared auto while eavesdropping on the conversations of the innocuous and unsuspecting passengers, who assume that no one would be interested in their lives (perhaps no one would, except crackpots like me) is the kind of thing that fires me up for the day. Although the clich├ęd corny old songs that mark the ambience of the vehicle warrant the use of cotton earplugs, they sort of provide a comic contrast to the severe and focussed attitude of the passengers, making me giggle into my shirt, providing much-needed jocular relief.
So, why wait for the weekend to shell out a precious bunch of notes to experience ‘adventure’ in a wonderland when there are ready-made amusement parks along the roads, what with speed breakers, potholes and construction sites; with autorickshaws and buses doubling up as roller coasters to give you the ultimate theme park experience every day?
Are you the daring and plucky sort? Well, that is even better since there are no safety precautions or security latches on these improvised swings. Come to think of it, the daily sprint before boarding the bus to the dash after alighting from it to the race between me and the steady competitor of time, to the punching machine of my office, actually ensures that I get a decent amount of exercise and helps keep me in shape.
Add to that the pleasure of anonymity it offers. No questions asked except ‘where to?’; no answers needed except a currency note with a photograph of the Mahatma printed on it. No uncomfortable conversations or vexing gossip, no exchange of plastic smiles or inane worldly goings-on. Just plain staring into space, dozing off or wondering about the lofty but useless ideals like the origin of man and the stars and the world…
For a potential flaneur, I can’t envisage a better start to the day. Especially for a woman, who has practically no chance of perambulation in the rape-stained society today, this method of flanerie is a blessing in disguise.
Can the sombre confined cab climate with a poker-faced driver and stuck-up crotchety cab-fellows match the vibrant, unpredictable motley of people, events and the atmosphere of the bus or autorickshaw? Add to that the exorbitant amount of monthly charges coupled with extra sops to be paid to the driver for change of timings or weekend travel, besides the walking out of a certain passenger or the clash of timings with some other, and the pros for public transport keep mounting. Did I forget to mention the recent sexual assault in a hired cab? But let us not grade cab service by a one-off mishap, because in that strain, one could cite the Nirbhaya episode that happened in a bus.
My family might not approve of my idea of adventure but in the face of drab desk life, paucity of time and limited opportunities for women to wander, this appears to be my best shot.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Ten Commandments

‘Let there be light!’ And the world is created as per my will. My improvised holy book has these ten commandments ready for the newly created world. Behold my letter to the humankind! Here are my Ten Commandments...
Thou shalt :
1. try and keep trying.
It is important to go the extra mile. You know the saying that I give a bird its food but do not throw it into its nest. Keep it in mind. I didn't spend 6 days and 6 nights, fashioning gazillion types of cells, organs and limbs for you to let them decay to disrepair. Enjoy them and use them.
2. know thyself.
The self is the fount of all wisdom and joy. When you discover the secret of the self, learn to love, understand and forgive yourself, a much deeper level of understanding develops in you, that enables you to learn and understand the others around you. The secret of the universe lies in your soul.    
3. be more tolerant.
What's different is not wrong. Even cannibalism has its roots and logic somewhere. Do not freak out. Darwin was not called the father of evolution for nothing. Adaptation and tolerance go a long way in sustenance.
4. Accept.
Accept what happens to you and do not live in hallucinations hoping for things to change as per your wishes. I have created you; I know about you and the world more than you do. Trust me and accept the situations I bestow on you. Don’t haggle, fight and complain every time.   
5. Accept again.
This point needs drilling because it is hard for people to accept themselves, which in turn makes it hard for them to accept others. It is okay to not be perfect, it is okay to sin once in a while (only once in a while!), it is okay to fail. Learn to accept the facts of life. Learn to accept failures. And everyone makes mistakes (I did too when I created man. Then I corrected it by creating his alter ego. And no, I am not a feminist. That was a joke. And yes I can joke. What else do you think the earth was? The above line was a joke as well -_- I might need to brush up on these earthly skills )
6. not envy or hate or give in to any negative emotions.
Two negatives have never made a positive, except in math and math has never helped you get over a break up, has it? Avoid negative feelings like kids avoid green vegetables. Despair has never taken you anywhere and never will.
7. not be violent.
Slap! How does that feel? That stings right? Remember this corollary ‘don't do to others that you don't want others to do to you’? The reason why I prohibit violence.
8. be kind.
It is a commandment yes, not a choice. Violence is not just physical, it is also metaphysical and psychological. Violence is forbidden on all the planes of existence. If you defect to my foe Satan's army, beware! I am gonna do nothing, yes, nothing to save you from your own destruction.
9. question and use the ingenious contraption I gifted you.
I didn't waste 6 days in vain to create my best creation so far-the brain. Don't insult me and my efforts by filling my holy machine with crap. Use it and make the world a better place to live.
10. love.
The good old mantra for everlasting happiness. Whatever you say or do, this mantra will hold true always. It is a mojo of the most ancient and the most powerful talismans. It is the bedrock of all the universe, it is the glue that holds the world together, it is the orbit that keeps the entities of the universe in motion, it is the source of all my power, the secret ingredient of my creation. It is the only language I understand, the only way to reach me.
The true transformation, the true change is effected inside. The rest merely follow.
Behold mortals! Here is the world remade!

I am participating in the #TheWorldRemade activity at BlogAdda in association with India Today #Conclave15
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The World Remade...or Unmade?

Whispers from a forgotten yesterday breeze through my present day as I read the title of the latest BlogAdda challenge- World remade. I remember how they used to get me all confused, those baffling and yet the most FAed (Frequently Asked) questions in extempore or essays- what would you do if you were the PM for a day? If I was Shahrukh Khan for a day...if I was invisible for a day...if I got hold of Aladdin's magic lamp for a day and so on and so forth. This 'Act God for a day' simulacrum of those oft-asked questions amused me. Like the ambitious project of the ruling party at the Centre-Make in India, I found this Playing God game another attempt at controlling and monitoring mankind and carrying out passive activism via this trite yet ambitious thought experiment. Shape the world in your ideals, create your idyll, your own utopia. What would you do? Make sure the religious fanatics and extremists do not commit manslaughter in the name of the Creator (in your name you mean!) ? Ensure the women lead lives of dignity? Feed the hungry, clothe the poor, help the downtrodden and reward the do-gooders? I would love a world of optimum balance, a world where people are not afraid to voice their beliefs, a world where the concept of violence does not exist, where equality is marred only by a distinction based on merit, a world where 'no man lives for the sake of another man', a world where 'the mind is without fear and the head is held high'...
But I wonder can there be a world where such idealities exist, where such a perfect balance be maintained? A world where there is no misery and no pain? A utopia? A paradise?
It struck me that the root of all imbalance lies in the capacity of deceit in the mind. The complexities of the human brain and the unpredictability of it all creates the foundation for every kind of joy and cheer, crime and punishment that ever existed. What if I as a Creator dissolve the barriers between all the minds? Such that there is no way to mask one's feelings? No way to show that you are happy when you are bleeding inside? No way to betray someone because the intent is plain to the other? Yes, I am talking of telepathic conversations. What if every entity from the tiniest atom/quark to the largest planets and the most advanced species have the same medium of communication-the same language? What if all the entities are unified at a certain level with a common language to their rescue? In that case, the lamb wouldn't let the lion feast on it and the earth wouldn't let us humans till it and thence, wars would result. Fierce and unabated, unparalleled and unprecedented wars that would have no winner, for life itself exists only because some entities feed on some other entities. Life manages to exist only because it exists in this manner. It just wouldn't exist in any other way. The battles, the wars, the ideal clashes, the terrors and the beauty, all of them exist because the world has been made the way it has been made. If the world is remade, it just wouldn't exist. The world remade is either this or none!

I am participating in the #TheWorldRemade activity at BlogAdda in association with India Today #Conclave15
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