Journey called life

Life in a Slow Lane

Life is like a long road journey, driving in a comfortable 04-wheeler. If you drive at a leisurely pace , there are more chances of enjoying the drive and reaching the destination safely, in a relaxed state of mind. If you drive like a race driver, then ideally your journey should be of shorter distance or for a shorter period of time. If it is not, then either you do not believe in enjoying the drive or simply you are a robot with an active heart and few bottles of liquid blood circulating inside your veins.

Here, I am exclusively talking about people who love driving and believe in driving for pleasure or commuting to work. Commercial drivers are a different species altogether and they have to consider a lot of factors which affect their driving habits. Size of vehicle is a big factor on road and mistakes also carry bigger repercussions based on the mass of vehicle.

Another category of drivers who occupy roads use 02-wheelers of various dimensions and it is the largest category of drivers (especially in low and middle-income countries of the world ) which includes almost every section of a society. Bike aficionados also form a major chunk of this segment who mostly drive for fun and adventure.

Cyclists are the lowest strata of road users in most countries except some richer western countries where Cycle tracks occupy the pride of place among city planners. Cycles are used by both poor and rich persons for obviously different reasons. Rich people use it for recreational purpose and poor people use it for sustaining life as it is the most economical means of commuting for a large number of people on earth. Pollution-less status of Cycles have helped in advancing it’s usage among environmentally -conscious people who can afford to shun public transport for shorter distances.

It is an established fact that all the above-mentioned category of drivers come on the road due to some reasons or why else they will use a transport ?

So, if everyone is a conscious human being and driving for a defined purpose on the road, why do road accidents happen ?

Reasons are manifold but negligence may top the list. I will bypass the safety and other reasons for the simple fact that if an accident has happened , negligence may have played some part in any of the factor related with vehicle, road, people or circumstances.

Speed can also be listed as one of the reasons in majority of cases. Few million people die around the world every year and majority of them are males.

Why do more males die in road accidents ?

Not that males are bad drivers or bad users of road. May be, females are better drivers, but debating driving skills won’t do any good in this case.

For the simple fact that in majority of nation, more males remain on the road at any time of the day.

Moreover, in road accidents, more people die in low and middle-income countries as compared to richer countries. Reasons are obvious – better and safe vehicles, better road infrastructure and defined space for everyone on the road, better implementation of rules/regulations, better emergency response system, etc. are some of the factors.

However, nowadays , self-driving cars have joined the fun on roads. But, vehicle without drivers is a concept which many people are unable to digest for the simple reason that if accidents happen on the road then there is no chance of road-rage or the resultant melee associated with road accidents.Chaos of road accident is too tempting for human beings and that’s why accidents keep happening regularly. Ironically, when a self-driving car killed a person for the first time ever in Arizona in 2018, human error was determined to be the root cause.

What an irony ?

If a human is to be blamed for an accident by a self-driving car then what is the purpose of autonomous cars ?

So, do not believe in technology as far as driving skills are concerned.

Driving is an in-built ability which some people possess intrinsically and some learn it religiously. Speed is the most vital factor in controlling a moving object. If you are moving at a slower pace then chances of survival in road accidents increases exponentially. No matter how much safety devices are invented, if you can’t control your instincts on the road than you are doomed.

One of the largest segment of online games consists of Racing and Speed games and Z-generation kids love it on the screen. But there is difference in virtual reality and black tarmac in real life.Hopefully, when these kids grow up, better sense will prevail.

I have been a fan of Fast and Furious series but was shaken by the death of actor Paul Walker in 2013 who seemed to be a perfect driver in every sense of the term.

Running in fast lane may have it’s thrill but life in slow lane looks cosy and comfortable.

I love Cycling due to this reason only as it keeps you grounded in every sense. It is also healthy to use it regularly and many fitness enthusiasts swear by the benefits of this ancient medium of transport.

But, that topic deserves another blog. May be some other day.

The Curse of Laziness

This line seems apt. But, I can tell you that contrary to widely-held view about bad effects of laziness, the truth is sometimes damn opposite. But, many religions prohibit the act of laziness. Nevertheless, for truly inspired people, laziness is an skill cultivated meticulously over an extended period of time.

This thought came to my mind sometimes during the year 2019 while watching the video of a JCB excavator digging roads in some part of India. This video has garnered nearly 05 million views on YouTube and was trending on Indian social media at that time.

The content of video are not noteworthy –

” Few hundred people are watching the act of digging by a JCB excavator on a road near an ugly drain from all sides,even from windows and rooftops.”

Who are these people ?

What is the fun in watching the JCB at work ?

Not a lazy man’s job

Before, I deal with the question, I must answer google-inspired itching in everyone’s mind.

JCB is not an Oxonian word – it simply means Joseph Cyrill Bamford and it is a Britain-based company dealing with construction, agriculture and demolition equipments. But, in India, it has literally become synonymous with a giant fork-like robotic hand digging trenches.

So, when you dig deeper into the spectacle of digging trenches, you come to the conclusion that either people have no work or are just curious and feel happy about the sublime art of digging.

But, what about those 05 million viewers who watched it on their smartphones/Computers ?

They all can’t be termed jobless ? It wasn’t a blockbuster movie ? So, why ?

No documentary or movie about digging trenches is available on Netflix and I don’t think that anything on this topic can be ever made in a movie ?

So, the question remains ……………… why ?

Before answering the question, I will take a detour and little bit digression from this topic.

I will tell you a short story about 03 friends.

July being the peak season of mangoes, 03 friends were sleeping on ground beneath a big mango tree in an orchard. Weather was sultry but cool breeze was blowing and sun was playing hide and seek with clouds. No signs of rain in the sky…..

Suddenly , a ripe mango fell down on the stomach of the person sleeping in the middle. It’s pungent smell and juicy aroma woke everyone up, but no one took the initiative of picking up the mango. They requested each other to pick up mango, peel it and give it to them for eating. But, the question remained that who should do the dirty work of waking up and feeding mango to everyone. So, finding no answer, they went back to sleep.

After some time, a dog came and started the process of urinating on 1st person. He woke up and requested others to shoo away the evil dog. No one took the initiative and dog went about his work with methodical precision.

Dogs have an old habit of repeating themselves and marking their territory. So, this urinating procession continued till all 03 were drenched completely.

But, now they were happy that no one among them will spread the word about their loss of dignity as everyone was in the same boat.

So, this was the curse of laziness.

Now, coming back to JCB issue, I think that those people watching the machine at work are lazy people. They enjoy the the hard work being done by someone else. It is the classic example of laziness when you have the capability to do the work but you won’t do it.

It is like the black clouds which raises hope among people of bountiful rain but goes away with the strong and manipulative wind.

These black clouds as lazy clouds.

What is the purpose of a cloud which doesn’t bring rains ?

Laziness on the horizon

But, all is not bad with the laziness, people also work hard to enjoy the fruit of laziness. Considering that manual or physical work is normally performed by a minuscule section of people in rich societies, many people can be classified as lazy if we compare them to poorer section of societies.

Laziness also has a biological reason. Sometimes, hookworms are termed as the “germ of laziness”.

Tell me, if you are sitting on a cushy chair/sofa and reading this article and suddenly you feel thirsty and find that water source is a little bit away.

What will you do ?

Will you seek someone’s help or make an effort by yourself to quench thirst ?

Think hard and decide for yourself !

So, laziness is included in everyone’s routine.

A lazy person can become a fighting-fit horse depending upon the circumstances.

However, being lazy is not everyone’s cup of tea. If some people can afford to be lazy than it means that either they have resources to enjoy life or in simple words they are just idiots.

That’s it for today.

A short story of 02 tall friends

Daksh & Vatsa were good friends during their college days.

Daksh was a tall person measuring nearly 06 feets on his both legs. During his school days in a dusty village in a remote corner of Bihar , he was the tallest boy. He was proud of the fact that being tall is the sure sign of being handsome and this was a positive trait of his multi-faceted personality.

But, his happiness lasted less than 24 hours in the beginning of his college life. Though, it had persisted for a pretty long time during his adolescent school days. He saw a lanky and incredibly tall boy on the very first day in the University. Daksh was riding a borrowed bicycle and he offered to carry Vatsa as pillion rider because both of them were heading towards the University premises. But, their first talk wasn’t about bicycle or their destination in the University campus.

Joy of life

The first question, Daksh asked him was a little bit stupid but equally relevant.

Daksh – Are you really tall ? You look like taller than me ? Or , is it your shoes, which are making you taller ?

Vatsa – Yes, I am tall but why are you asking this question.

Daksha – Never mind. What’s your height ?

Vatsa – May be around 06 feet 04 inches , but I’m not sure.

So, this was the first interaction between 02 tall boys in the summer of the year 1999. It was a stupid and awkward conversation for both of them. But, it was also the beginning of a long -lasting friendship.

But, why is Daksh recalling this long-forgotten conversation in the year 2019. It’s just a coincidence that they forgot to celebrate their 20th friendship anniversary. But, who cares about anniversaries now when only robotic minds of Facebook remind you about friendversary. Actually, when people were writing important dates in lives of their friends/relatives in a diary, that was a golden period for relationships. But, this was way before the invention and intrusion of technology in our lives. Now, everyone tries to be a fake rock star in their display pictures on innumerable social media profiles.

Few days back, Daksh and Vatsa met at an apartment in Bengaluru after a pretty long time. Vatsa was now living in a 2500 Square feet home in a tony neighbourhood near Electronics City. It has been a great journey for him. He joined private sector and has been enjoying life in the fast lane. From living in nearly 1300 acre campus in University to a 2500 Square feet nest in the southern metropolis. But, life is good. He boasts of a beautiful wife , a smart kid, a Royal Enfield Classic -350 & and a red-coloured hatchback in the basement garage.

Daksh’s journey has also been more or less same but in a different direction. He joined elephantine-institution called Indian bureaucracy and has been living a life of secluded bliss in a remote corner of Bihar. His personal life also boasts of a beautiful wife , a smart kid and even smarter dog and a white-coloured Sedan in front garage.

So, when they met for the first time in 2019 after a gap of nearly 10 years, they hugged each other and asked about life. Both of them still looked tall and may have grown a little bit vertically as well as horizontally. It seemed odd that here was a friend whose relationship was even older among themselves when compared with their respective wives. Who knows , may be it was even stronger bonding between them as wives can be termed as friends with benefits. But, in the friendship of Daksh and Vatsa, no such quid pro quo was involved. It is funny that how the journey of lives takes you to unknown places. Daksh had no idea that stupid and awkward looking-Vatsa will climb the stairs of life flawlessly and build a castle for himself.

Tall building for taller men and women

There was one apparent difference in their body language and speeches. They didn’t abuse each other and behaved in a civilized manner in front of their wives and kids. It’s true father-like responsibility not to use foul language in front of beautiful ladies and google-powered kids. They know every word you say so Daksh and Vatsa behaved in God-like and formal manner.

One interesting photograph on the walls of his home caught the eye of Daksh. Vatsa looked like a carbon-copy of Pablo Escobar and he complemented him for being a drug lord. So, this boy now can even become an actor. Though, he was always a handsome dude and Daksh believed that Vatsa was destined for foreign shores.

His apartment looked ultra-modern and chic. It had all the advanced amenities to keep you occupied for next few years and modular kitchen was a virtual library of all kinds of food available to the mankind. It had a small garden on balcony to filter toxic air and was designed to dispatch 100% pure oxygen towards his living space. Balcony also gave a wonderful vista of luxurious villas of neo-millionaires of Bengaluru who lived in Jungles across the road.

It is a funny thing that when you have earned millions in concrete jungles of cities, you wish for actual jungle full of trees, birds, bees and wild animals.

So, if you wish to live in jungles then why live in cities in first place to earn millions ?

But the answer lies in Netflix. When you start binge-watching Netflix on an android-powered Sony TV, it means you have arrived in life and have earned a decent bank balance to afford luxuries of life. So, you want pure jungle but with modern amenities of 5G- life. Smart home in wild jungles is a great concept and people are willing to sell their soul for living in such apartments situated amidst green spaces and lakes.

But, answer is simple .

Why spend millions to live in a matchbox-shaped apartment when you can afford acres of land and build a farmhouse in a small village at the fraction of cost of the tiny apartment in a state-of-the-art complex. Modern apartment complexes in Bengaluru are islands of prosperity in midst of abject poverty of indigenous neighbourhoods.

Grass lawn for drinking morning coffee

Most apartment complexes use an app called My Gate to keep away unwanted visitors. So, you can never be surprised by the entry of an acquaintance at the odd hours. Normally, lady of the house keeps the app in her phone and vets the entry of every visitor like a James Bond-esque precision. So, if husband wishes to take some liberties in inviting bosom buddies, she has the power to reject the entry at the tap of a smartphone. So many extra-marital relationships have been nipped in the bud through this simple yet effective wife-approval technology.

I doubt that this app must have been made by a suspicious wife to keep a tab upon her husband’s love interests.

But, wives are forgetting the appearance of maids in their lives. They work like magic to sort out your lives but if……….

Daksh and Vatsa both believed in group studies and have read many juicy stories about maids during their college days.

But coming back to life of Vatsa in an apartment.

Every modern builder boast of premium apartment complexes having Clubs, sports arena, parks, children’s playing area, theatres, swimming pools, libraries, stores and secured campus.

What an irony ? Isn’t these facilities part and parcel of a citizen’s life in normal urban or rural area in all countries of the world. If local municipalities or Panchayats can’t provide common public spaces then for what purpose they have been created for ?

It seems that cities have outsourced these mundane and basic tasks to rich builders who encash the basic human yearning for safe life and have created many islands for people with loads of money.

Poor people anyway don’t need parks or Basketball courts as it won’t feed them.

People think of sports only when they digest their food and have used commodes in a satisfactorily way.

So,Daksh and Vatsa talked for more than 06 hours and tried to relive old times. Their wives talked a lot and kids played Chess and a host of other games. Few joint families of hens were slaughtered to feed 07 people on the teak wood dining table. They laughed and made merry and new sort of bonding emerged between their spouses and kids.

Thereafter, they promised to meet again and be in touch. Finally, the sun started going down in west and they hugged each other and pleasantries were exchanged. Gifts and chocolates were offered and accepted.

So, this was a short and happy story about tall friends.

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