Monday, January 19, 2009


The title is a word that boils down to "something worth remarking over"... yet the actual impact of the word when used appropriately seems much more impressive than just something you would remark on.

And that's exactly why THAT is the word that came to mind this morning to me. I don't know how many times I have written about it, and how many more times I have thought of it... and yet the sheer dynamics of the Mumbai Local Trains do not cease to marvel me. It seems to just rightly capture the essence of almost all the physical laws (sometimes even at sub-atomic levels) and psychological conundrums that I know. But more than suggesting a metaphor to these sciences, it is the triumph of the "adjustibility" of the human mind that sweeps me off... even after being a seasoned traveler of 6 years now.

Today when I reached the platform I could immediately imagine the chaos that would reign once the train parked. And when the already-overloaded train came, I tell you, no one can imagine all those people to possibly fit in. It just seemed so implausible. But I knew better. Armed with experience and knowledge that no matter how full the jar is, you can almost always fit in "some more", I entered with the human gush. I was almost tempted to draft a free-body diagram of myself - there were way too many forces acting on me, and my body simply reacted to the resultant force. And somehow, the train lurched ahead with renewed vigor. And then stations came, and more chaos reigned, and still more and still more... and at one important junction I heard a scary bang of noises caused by stamping of feet. For the first time I got really scared coz for the first time I visually saw a highly exaggerated version of those forces. I saw women bend about and move in such a strange fashion and being hit randomly at random places and some section of the train being vacated and then being instantly filled with people, just like water reshapes itself in case of void in a container... all this coupled with that loud banging noise. A low shriek escaped my mouth.

I guess I hadn't Indianized enough yet. Or perhaps I will always be mesmerized by these things. But what truly was the icing was a woman, amidst all this, told her train-companion "I have been standing on just one foot for half an hour now." and then continued her conversation... and that conversation was so normal, so away from all the noise and crowd, almost equivalent to a conversation I would have with a friend over choco-vloc in Cafe Coffee Day.

How much can people get immunized?

One school of thought professes that the fact that we readily accept bullsh*^ without complaining is the reason we are given bullsh*&. We need to stop accepting such (inhuman?) conditions of travel (work, whatever else that we accept) if we want to bring about a change.

But somehow I don't buy that. I'd like to think that if we make the most of what we are and what we are given, and don't expect things to improve or hope to live in the make-believe world of a better lifestyle, we are much better off and perhaps much happier for it.
And somehow that belief was concretized when one day I saw an urchin girl at the Bandra signal smile jubilantly when I bought her roses. THAT'S ALL SHE WANTED! And that's a great thing. Instead of pitying her, I started envying her. It was so simple for her to feel a sense of achievement and happiness. And that's not because she has low standard of aims. That's probably one of the highest things she can aim of given her 'world' ie her social system. She knows not of the powers of the information revolution or of the gastronomic delights of the choco-vloc of CCD.

What all of us want is to socially or monetarily or in whatever way, reach the top in our 'world'. The vaster your world, and greater the number of people that reside in it, greater is the competition... and hence lesser the chance that you would reach the 'top'.

The idea is live in a small cocoon and live to die a happy man! ;-)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

I have noticed it to be common for people to get more excited about planning for an event than during that event. And this holds especially true for occasions that are touted as ideal days for unchecked revelry and crazy bashes.

New Year's Eve has invariably been less exciting than I expect it to be for almost all the 24 years of my life, save the eves which I spent with myself at home (they were deeply fulfilling).

But this year was different. The location, the atmosphere, the people, the weather, my friends... the vibes.

There is something to be said about an age when you truly understand your friends. You may not approve of their ways or in fact, even dissent them. But you are at peace with them. They do not bother you. And you don't bother to prove to them that you are cool. They know that... or it does not matter anyway.

You don't have to hold the glass in a particular way, or have your hair done. You don't have to care about overdressing or get embarrassed about those 'funny' jokes that got no one to laugh.
And most of all, you don't care about how you dance. You twirl and toss and walk around zig zag... you got no new moves... you do ghaati dance on English numbers and couple dance on bhangras... you do whatever the hell you want... and see that sense of liberty in the eyes of your friends as well..

Ah! The joy that comes with liberated dancing... the right Bollywood tracks - that perfect concoction of lyrics and gyrating music... and the perfect concoction of a Screwdriver... and the perfect blend of people around you.

Four hours of non-stop revelry gets you in shape for the New Year... you embrace it with the love and acceptance you generally don't allow yourself to feel :-)