Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jai Hind! (55-er)

"Maverick" she was!
Society laughed at her hair styles, dress code and make up.

With great difficulty, her mother found a respectable man who was ready to marry her.

The day they met, before he could speak, she asked him, "You have a government job?"


"Do you take bribes?"


She was outta there!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Welcome to the City!

Silk Board Junction in Bengaluru is well known for its heavy traffic jams. Even after a flyover has been built connecting directly to the Electronic city, the traffic isn't any less at the Junction and at times one finds oneself stuck at the signal for as long as 15 minutes during rush hours.

Sneha's route was typically J.P Nagar to Marathahalli where she worked and back to J.P Nagar where she stayed. For 2 years she had traveled by buses and now had bought herself a bike, which was not for use to go to office everyday but mainly to avoid getting into arguments with auto drivers on weekends, who are well known for screwing up the meters to charge more fare, which in turn leads to a lot of stress, and inconvenience to the commuters. But why would the Government care to look into the matter? Heck! They don't even care about the flyover constructions on the outer ring road taking forever and causing so much inconvenience to the commuters everyday!

Even after paying the highest road tax in India, this is what we get! Pollution, traffic jams, construction work everywhere on the road, poorly built service roads, no proper traffic / danger/ construction signs where construction work is happening. The other day Sneha almost drove into a big pit at the end of the road, which was not barricaded or covered with any warning signs. Sneha felt she had been given a 2nd chance at life after not lending into the pit, thanks to her super quick brakes! Roads are bad but the automobile industry is doing a great job considering all the odds.

This week was a tough one. There were deadlines to meet and Sneha was getting her bike to office every day. No...not because of the deadlines but because once you get used to a vehicle, its difficult to want to go standing all the way in an over crowded bus. You tend to like the dust and the pollution over the sweat around you.

She thought she would try to enjoy the bike rides, sing a song while riding or think about what work needs to be done, or reflect on where life is going etc etc. But no....The crazy traffic doesn't let you do anything other than think which is the sleekest way to get ahead of the cars, trucks and other bikes standing in front of you and you try so hard for over 20 minutes , with all your driving skills and confidence only to find you are bloody running a rat race. The woman you supposedly crossed over 10 minutes back is now riding with you. Fuck! You got nowhere!

What's worse?

Riding in this traffic only to find you are really getting nowhere, or working in that lame IT office environment day in and day out , and get nowhere and feel nothing by the end of weeks and months and years??

Tough choice!

Everyday Sneha went around these same topics in her head while riding and she was starting to get irritated!
"Oh come on! There has to be more to a city than the salary you get paid at the end of the month!"
Now a days she couldn't find a reason for her living in a city.
She looked at the life of her friends back home. Happily settled with a family, and a job. The job might not be paying them as much as hers paid her. It might not have growth opportunities as her job had. But, you also don't get unnecessarily stressed with traffic and pollution! Half of your life spent in commuting! Does it make any sense at all?

"Excuse me?"
Sneha's thought process was disturbed by someone standing with a bike besides her.
He was a boy with a blue checked shirt. That's all she noticed of him in the first look. The blue checks. She loved his shirt.
"Don't think I'm a stalker, but I've seen you around many times. Maybe our time of commuting is the same. You work in Vrindavan Tech Park right?"
"I work there too."
"Oh!Which company?"

Just then the signal turned green or in other words, it said," Get Set Go" ,and all the vehicles rushed as if there was a million dollar prize for them at the end of the road.

Sneha took her own sweet time to navigate her way. Every now and then she could see the blue checked shirt riding somewhere around her. Sometimes he would be completely out of sight, and she would ride a bit faster, try to locate him, and when he came back into sight, there was a relief of some sort.
Blue checked shirt preferred the service roads to the jammed main roads while Sneha usually stuck to the main road.....whichever roads they took, almost every time they ended up being somewhere around each other, but never next to each other. Whenever they were stuck in a traffic, they looked at each other and smiled, but were too far away to talk to each other.

In the next 30 minutes, blue checks was lost somewhere and Sneha could not locate him at all.

She reached her Tech Park and parked her bike in her company parking lot.
As she walked from the parking lot to her desk, she though, "This day feels different!"
Funny as it may sound, a few sentences exchanged with a stranger had brought a whole new perspective about the way she perceived life in this city.
Suddenly she was looking forward to ride back home in the expectation that she would see him again, and maybe ask his name??
Why? Had she liked him?
No...not really. she wasn't so foolish to fall in love at 1st sight.
Then why was her world painted in red today?
She couldn't tell.
She couldn't tell  why!

The deadlines were over, and so was the week. She made it a point to start from home at the same time every day, but for the next 2 weeks, she did not see him anywhere on the road. She knew his bike number. But he was nowhere in sight.
Had he lied that he was a regular commuter?
Did something happen to him?
Is he alive?
Was he a dream?
Am I sane??

That was the only question that haunted her in week 3. "Am I sane?"

"Miss Sen!"
She was startled out of her reverie as her colleague called out to her.

"Yes Varun?"
"Where are you lost?"
 She turned to look at her laptop and realized why Varun asked such a question. She had been looking at the screen saver, god knows for how long!
She tapped the mouse to get back to her work.

Varun came closer to her cubicle.
"So Sneha.......what is it?"
"What is what Varun?", She kept her eyes fixed on her monitor. While he kept his eyes fixed on her.
"Who's he?"
"Who's who?"
"The guy you have been thinking about for quite a long time now??"
"I don't think about any guy Varun."
"Okay then....the girl you have been thinking about for quite a long time now?" He joked, she picked up a spare magazine and threw at him.
"No thank you."

Varun nagged her a bit more and then left her alone knowing that she wouldn't budge. She had started feeling helplessly foolish about this whole scenario. She had been in a few relationships before, she wasn't the "Never been kissed" types, and she knew better than those romantic fairy tale stuff that young girls love all the time. But still, she couldn't do anything to keep her heart from searching for the one.

The next day, she decided she would not take the bike to office. What with her eyes scanning each and every bike number, she felt as if she was on some mission impossible! She walked to her usual bus stop and got into the familiar bus. There was no place to sit, as always. But now she preferred the sweat smell to her ride through the polluted rugged roads as if she was a secret spy, a CIA agent. She had started making a fool out of herself on that episode now. All she remembered was his bike number and the checked shirt. She couldn't even remember how he looked. She had even gone to the extent of googling 'who wears blue checked shirt' and found no logical answer to the question. Unknowingly she started smiling and later chuckling, a few ladies and men standing besides her turned to look at her. But she couldn't stop. The whole episode was so damn funny. She started laughing now, uncontrollably, tears rolling down her cheeks....people around her thought she was insane. She tried to explain through her laughs and tears, "Gosh...I can't stop god! This is so funny! I....... ( laughs, chuckles, tears, laugh ) God...I've.....( laughs, chuckles), can't believe myself!" A few young girls besides her started laughing as well. For whole 5 minutes she laughed as if she had been granted the right to laugh for the first time in her life. So she made a quick decision to get down from the bus and return home because she totally doubted her mental status. The conductor let her get down, and everyone looked at her with amazement. When the bus passed by, she settled down and stopped laughing. Took 2 deep breaths. She kept standing at the side of the Outer Ring Road, in the middle of nowhere. She looked down at her feet  and kept looking there.
She looked up.
"I heard you laughing in the bus."
" Great! And you thought I was mad."
"No...just that it was the most amazing laughter I've ever heard."
"Thanks..but I feel like such a fool!", She looked away.

He gave her some time and then asked,
" Is there any coffee shop at all around here?", she was quick to answer and looked around.
" We'll have to walk a little to get there. Mind it?"

He looked descent. Specs with a black geeky frame, curly hair, fair skin tone , a bit plump but a reassuring face and a cute smile.
"I'm Sneha ." She extended her hand.
"I'm Jaydeep."

They walked to the coffee shop and sat there 4 whole hours talking. Talking about anything and everything.

And so she realized once again why she loved the city so much.

In cities, you meet people, you make friends, some go on to be life long friends, some just for a few minutes. But it is the city where anything and everything is possible. It's the city which offers you the world of your dreams.

Nobody cares whether you laugh or you cry.
Or that you are in love or you have fallen out of it.
They don't care.

And that's nice in a way, because you aren't judged 24x7 on your every word spoken and every step taken. You can go whichever way you like. You can go wrong- knowingly, unknowingly, foolishly....whatever.
No silly rules and traditions bind you. No-one sees you holding hands with some random guy and report it back home.You can act foolish and that wouldn't be held against you for the rest of your life.

You see this isn't a post about a love story.
It's a post about the life in a city the way I see it.
The anonymity, the mystery, the opportunity, the adventure, the's just too much goodness against issues like pollution, noise and crowd.

A. I would rather have my lungs full of smoke and dust then have it full of unsaid hidden desires.
B. I would rather have  all the noise outside on the road then have unwanted people crowd my brain with advice,suggestion,taunts, and comments!
C. And finally I would rather be lost in an anonymous crowd then be crowded by people I hardly care for!

This - A, B and C is the real pollution, noise and crowd that I would always guard myself against!

I love the city- Whether it's Bengaluru, Mumbai or Pune!
I just totally love it here!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...