August 16, 2008

Pot Holed

If someone ever told me that life’s all about the journey and not the destination…I’d tell them to experience a Gurgaon traffic jam. The other day I got stuck in a jam for over 5 hours and guess what I didn’t even leave Gurgaon!

In an area of less than 6 sq. kms I was subjected to sheer mental torture for over 5 hours. Imagine getting stuck in a car and bumper-to-bumper traffic at 4pm. It was like everyone was out there to create their own rush hour. I tried thinking the whys and the hows of this chaos. The thing about jams is not to think of the above for they will end up giving you heartburn. I mean you can’ just get out and leave your car. This is life and not some REM

So the next best thing was to give up thinking about the important issues and question the ones that could be controlled. I ended up thinking about less mundane issues such as my entire existence. It’s an uphill task to come up with something reasonable about your life in a bloody traffic jam. Suddenly the two merge like some artistic vanishing point. You start thinking of your life as a badly managed city road. You will be moving but you won’t go anywhere. There will be a clear plan but nothing will ever come out of it. The people that time and memory threatened to wipe away abruptly turn the tables on you. You end up thinking of the many masters your many lives adhered to.

Humanity comes to rescue me. A hassled lady in the car next to me asks me to locate a mall for her. I tell her that it’s just a few meters ahead. She won’t believe me for she has been hearing the same thing for the past three hours now. I assure her that we might be moving albeit slowly but the mall will be static. She was supposed to meet her daughter; I am told to call her and inform her. I do. For the next forty minutes I join the dots between them. To make things more interesting the mother races ahead. I lose her. The daughter is convinced that I’m somewhere else. I wish. Finally the math does itself in my brain, I tell the daughter to look out for her mother’s car for she should be passing any moment now. Three minutes later I get a call to thank me for all my help.

Back to waterlogged streets and snarling traffic. It was night by now. An entire day of my life was wasted in a traffic jam. And for what reason? There was no real reason for the jam. There never is. The scary part is that this could end up being the bane of modern existence. The more this country is poised to shine, the more you and I are going to get reasons to think about life. This nation might be tiger who is waiting to fire away but no one’s lighting its tail yet.

You want to know why?

Well thanks to the roads we just might not make it in time. We are busy creating a new India but no one seems to notice that the current one is in shambles. While people like me think of life in a jam, the poor tiger is on the verge of extinction. This is what happens when the road less traveled is the road ahead!

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