Monday, April 25, 2016

Dysfunctional Tetrapods

Mumbai! A city where dreams cost you, but space still costs you more. There's no one denying the fact that the cost isn't justified. It never is justified, anywhere you go. Things always are out of reach, and the flame lives hence, thriving on an urge to achieve the unachievable and afford the unaffordable.

The sea watched over me, when I was alone. The sea taught me to push my problems under the sand carpet, and sit near the shore, watching the worries get washed away by the tidal waves, quivering with the crabs and unsettled by the sun. The sand touched me like a lover in hints of love and possessiveness, holding me, pulling me with every tide, inside, deep inside. The sun dried my wetted feet and left beautifully glistening sand on my bare skin, teaching me that time makes beautiful everything wetted by tears. The sky had birds hovering overhead, gliding like planes, at altitudes close enough to jump and reach to. It left me with the biggest lesson; that you may climb up high, hovering above everyone, but you can still be within reach, a phone call away, a touch away when you meet, a voice away when you whisper.

Photo Credit: Arundhati Chatterjee

At the sea after long, I walked its length, letting the rain wet me with stories. I was disturbed by a couple who requested me to capture a photograph of theirs, while they decided how to hug. I captured them through the camera looking at me, as expectant as a child receiving a prize from the principal, and I coiled up on my favourite tetrapod. It was my spot. I gulped down hot tea, while water from the last wave trickled down my legs.

Tetrapods. They never arrest what flows against their mind. When was the last time we completely followed our mind? There's always a moment when we give up, we adjust, we compromise, just for the sake of compromise. I wished to write into a book, of pages and hardbound. But the phone sufficed, or so I convinced myself. We, the unrelentingly relenting, dysfunctional tetrapods.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Information Overload

On route to Delhi in Duronto Express, I was awake at 5.30am without an alarm. I've always marveled at this, how our bodies know about our timetables subconsciously.

I was seated next to this man and his 6-7 year old son. Sleepy that I was, I had dozed off for an hour, only to regain consciousness when the train halted.

The father-son duo got down to grab a snack while I munched on the peanut butter sandwich that I had packed the previous night. They walked back to the seat with a not-so-healthy happy meal and the child mumbled 'Is it Tirana, Dad?' His father nodded in denial and the child continued scrolling through his iPhone.

Obese, with more fat than features visible, the child was a living example of all that's going wrong in today's world. They continued some quizzing, talking about facts and figures that he checked from the screen that sat blinding him. It made me thank my parents in a whisper. As a child, I was always active, playing cricket throughout my childhood days. There were books that my father would buy on a regular basis, to stimulate the brain, making sure I knew the world through stories. Mom was always a working woman who juggled home, parenting us and cooking us healthy food and never ever relied upon fried and unhealthy fast food to fill our stomachs. Her hard work had paid off and I could only sigh at the child's predicament.

There was still a good one hour to reach my destination and the child turned to me for answers. I was so lost in memories of my healthy and happy childhood that I had missed his question. I looked at him inquisitively and he repeated the question for me. 'Do you know where Mt. Elbrus is?'

I failed to understand how it mattered to him or me. I smiled and told him I didn't know the answer. The kid spat out the answer and the father looked on proudly.

This was exactly what was wrong with the generation I realized. Utilizing time and energies over mugging up information instead of gaining real experiences, learning about nature by playing in sand, getting swollen knees and knowing more about the universe through enriching books with lucid language; these kids were missing a big deal. What about acquiring skills and pursuing hobbies and growing as an individual with talents and determination! All this kid had access to was information. And information can only take you so far.

I wanted to ask the kid, 'Have you seen a sunrise from across the sea shore? Have you experienced the sheer joy that music gives you? How do you spend time with your friends, and give me answers other than gaming and watching movies on the couch in the living room snacking on popcorn!'

Such information overload and yet they get bored. Sigh.