Friday, February 13, 2009

Just another Traffic Signal

The January chill was stinging me, biting and clawing through my cloths but I was oblivious to it… as I was of the endless irritating cavalcade of Cars, Bus, Autos, and 2 Wheelers running outside on the ever congested Bangalore road.

I was numb … I was in pain I did not knew existed for a long time, living alone for years and being the eldest of 3 siblings I had learned early in life to deal with the feeling of home sickness drowning it in the objectivity of real world where emotions are nothing but hurdles to our ever growing “middle class” ambitions….My heart was still there back at my Brother’s residence…..Which I had left around 40 minutes back and with it I had left behind my “Bundle of Joy” my niece of 2 years …..I wanted to go back …..I wanted to be with her ,play with her and wanted to hear her speak in that childish demeanor , …..But I had to go back….back to Mumbai…back to endless client meetings, those numerous presentations and back to chasing my “middle class” dreams.

Suddenly the endless honking of traffic brought me back from my thought….I woke up at the signal. We had reached Richmond Circle. The traffic usually stops there for a few minutes. It is the longest signal during the journey back from City to New Bangalore Airport.

The Cab Driver stopped the engine and started having his tobacco . I was watching him in fascination with nothing else to do, he meticulously arranged that small portion in the palm of his hand rubbed it with his index finger and with precise perfection it vanished in his mouth. He nodded with satisfaction and increased the volume of the music

With droopy eyes I looked through the window to the mêlée outside ,The view was like a clone of numerous traffic signals scattered across metros….. Looking around for something to catch my fancy I saw a little boy, a ragamuffin with his sister. The elder one was standing near the huge heap of rubbish and taking out plastic bottles from the rubbish heap.
A Pan Shop nearby had numerous posters of Film stars mostly females displayed across the façade……I lit up my own Cigarette and as if on cue my eyes wandered to the “statutory warning” sign displayed on one of the billboard on the shop. The sign was too much of a screamer ….Puff…Puff….finally with expert precision I stubbed the cigarette on the sole of my shoe and with an equally expert precision it flew out of my window on the rubbish bin whille I was thinking it was time to give up my vice.

A fruit vendor was busy selling freshly cut fruit, dicing pineapples and placing it on top of Water Melon chunks, Nearby urchins were busy begging alms from the cars around the signal……..A young couple riding a scooter with a kid in front made me remember traveling with my family in our second hand “Bajaj Super” …….

Knock….Knock….someone knocked on my Cab’s door …It was one of those urchins….I fished out a ten rupee note and gave it to him feeling a wee bit more philanthropic than normal.

I saw world in a microcosm. A world which was not in search of anything, happy in whatever was coming their way. Those urchins were not cribbing, complaining about the pollution, the noise, or anything because they were busy in hard realities of life. Tired, tattered and sun toned but happier because they found reasons to be, unlike the more affluent “middle class” who find reasons and logics for happiness. It was a state for them but for us it is a thing to decipher.

The Signal turned to green too soon and my Cab left picking up speed with each changing gear …Leaving behind the City and the mêlée outside a speck itched in the backyards of memory………to Mumbai…to endless client meetings, to chasing those “middle class” dreams…..till I could find another place another time and another “Traffic Signal”

“Happy Journey”