Sunday, November 08, 2009

The much-needed kick

A stormy night... the perfect backdrop for a story to begin.
She looked out and had a slightly sinking feeling. There was no way she could go out. She looked around helplessly, trying to evaluate all the methodologies for escape. None seemed viable.

She was stuck. It was one of those things that are difficult to digest, but nonetheless, have the signs for a potential adventure. She sat on a chair. Around her were others who felt just as helpless. Not much could be done except make light talk and stare at those talking on phone to the 'outside world'.

It was quite a scene in the office building on 26/07 - the day Mumbai got flooded.. the primary reason being that no-one (no BMC, weather dept, Bejan Daruwala) could forecast that there would be such rains. And not being able to forecast before the showers is still somewhat acceptable. But what about the forecasts after the torrential rains start pouring? 'Probably 2 more hours', 'is it only in this area of Mumbai?', 'how many inches do you think this is?'.
No one in the office had a clue. All communication channels were severed.
The building being a fancy glass-cladded building, it was ensured that there could be no leakage of the conditioned air.. which in turn implied that there were hardly any windows.

So, stuck on the 14th floor with several other employees in darkness at mid-night, with the cell-phone serving no more than a paper-weight, and sweating and smelling within the suffocating shut-window area, I sat happily.
After the initial sense of confusion and turbulence, comes the stage of excitement for the ensuing adventure.

What is it about adventure? What was it that I felt that night that I have treasured since then? Why do I wish that at least once in my lifetime I get to see the oxygen mask drop on me in an airplane (if not get to use the life-jacket)?

Contrary to what the media has to say, I believe that we live in an inherently safe society. We have come a long way in dispensing off the thrills of the dangers faced by our ancestors. And this lack of thrill in an 'aam aadmi's' life makes his/her life a wee-bit incomplete. And that's what gets us excited when we read 'sensational' news. We take vicarian pleasures in our fellow 'aam aadmis'' more thrilling lives. We get rather excited when we hear tales from the eye-witnesses of crimes, catastrophes, scandals.

There is a certain amount of thrill that is desirable. We would certainly not like it to cost us our health or peace of mind. However, an uneventful life pushes one to take extreme steps to feel the thrill.

The movie "The Game" is a wonderful story based on similar grounds.

I wonder what it would feel like to be caught in war, in a revolution, to be part of a military organization, to hold a fire-arm, or have one placed on the forehead?
How would one react? It seems that one cannot know oneself completely until one is exposed to a variety of situations. It is tempting to envy those whose lives are at greater risks, of course, with the greater 'rewards' of adrenaline-pumpings.

In any case, the night stay at the office on 26/07 was brilliant, with random people chatting animatedly about random topics under candlelight. Not all storms are bad.