Posted in Stories, Uncategorized

Uber Story

Image source: Secret- the daily teachings.

In my sleepy home town, we hardly had any public transport. Since it’s a small town, we would take either the car, or walk, or cycle wherever we want to go. There were no autos, buses or taxis to take us around. But, there was always my father, mother, or some friendly neighbor to pick or drop me. We never actually felt the need for a public transport. For me, public transports were the inter state buses, trains, and aeroplanes. Something which people take to go outside their town or cities, which I was yet to explore.My perception changed when I moved to Delhi for my higher studies. I started taking the shared autos, buses, and metro; and fell in love with it. I was blown away by the broad and beautiful roads, unceasing traffic, and advanced infrastructure. I loved how almost half of the city’s population appear and disappear with the metros. It took time for me to get accustom with the public transport system, and once I did, my legs would mindlessly take me wherever I want to go. In Mumbai, I fell in love with the local trains. One could travel for miles and miles on them for as less as 8 rupees. I loved taking the late night’s local, when the train breaks the darkness with its familiar sound as it crosses station after station.
Things have changed a lot in the last few years, and with it the transport system changed too. Now we have Uber and Ola where we can book a cab with just a few touch on our phone screen, and within minutes a cab arrives to pick you up at your doorstep. Now, I don’t have to be dependent on anyone to pick or drop me. I can book my own cab, and get going. Such luxury, or should I say ‘independence’?

However, cabs aren’t as cheap as the metro or the local. So, to avoid burning a hole in my pocket I book shared cabs. They are economical, convenient, and offers you interesting stories and experiences. I have had my share of both good and bad experiences of shared cabs. Sometimes, I meet nice and charming people, who exchanges a smile, a formal ‘hello’ or mutual feeling about the weather, and then retire to their self without violating the social norms of public space until we both reach our respective destinations.

Most of the times, I sit as an observer and open my mouth just to ask the driver to put on the radio if others don’t have an issue with it. After that, I watch what my co-passengers do, how the driver drives. Or I look out of the window, enjoy the music and pretend I am going on a long drive. I solely devote my cab rides to myself, to tend to my thoughts and to replenish my exhausted energy. So, I find it extremely uncomfortable when fussy and cranky people get on the cab, and expect the driver to fly the car. They never seem to have time in their hand, and every little thing upsets them. It is very hilarious to see them complain about the traffic to some non-existing audience, and fight with the driver every second of the ride. Most of the time they forget that it’s the ride they have bought and not the driver. The most dreaded thing is when they pull out their phone to narrate their bad day in a melodramatic way. I look at them and wonder why do they have such fucks to give to every little thing that comes their way?
Most of you may debate about the pros and cons of shared ride. But luckily for me, most of the time it had been a good experience. (Except the time when my driver was shouting on the phone threatening his wife that he would collide the car with the next truck he sees.) I always book a share cab when I know I have buffer time, and not when I am heading to an important meeting. I know I cannot save both ‘time’ and ‘money’. So, to get one, I happily compromise on the other.
And, I am amazed at the perks that I get from shared rides. Apart from leaning to be patient, considerate and accepting, I also come across new places. Once I get to go inside the beautiful residential area of Defence personnels in Delhi. The beautiful organized colony reminded me of my little home town. Another time, I got go inside the CISF training institute. Yet another peaceful area in Delhi. Again, the day before yesterday, while on a shared ride, I discovered the beautiful and vast IARI campus. India’s best Agricultural Research Institute! Who would’ve thought that there is such a grand campus on the Delhi’s busiest Pusa road? Well, not me. While my co-passenger was fussing that she is getting late because of the long route the driver took, I was gushing over the fact that I discovered a new place (things like this rarely happen after 9 odd years in the same city). I was awed as the car passed by the green and clean campus, thinking how lovely it would be to live in a place like this. I made a mental note to visit it on a lovely day someday. Sadly, my co-passenger didn’t share my enthusiasm and pouted the entire way until she was dropped.
This made me realize that we always get what we keep looking for. As Dale Carnegie so wisely put:
“Two men looked out from prison bars,
One saw the mud, the other saw stars.”

Posted in Poetry, Uncategorized

Freedom

Every year, unfailingly, on 15th of August,
we retell the tales of our freedom struggle.
71 years ago, on this day,
newspapers carried headlines in bold,
_’Independence Dawn’_

_’The battle won’_
and
and

_’Sovereign India born’_.

But ask about freedom of religion to the 17 year old, whose life was subjected to his religious preferences. The mob did not even see it as an offence. The 17 year old, who wasn’t even given a chance to say his last goodbye. With whose dead body, the hope of a secular India died.

Ask about freedom of speech, to those whose souls burn with guilt every night, for not fighting against violence and injustices. Who let their voices get suppressed, for they have a family waiting to be fed.

Ask about freedom of profession to the Muslim father who soiled his whole day to feed his child! Only to find in the evening that his home was burnt down alive. Because in front of his residence, a malnourished cow had died.

Who is to guarantee freedom, when our law and order is itself corrupt? When culprits roam around unarrested and victims get ostracized?When justice is delayed and sometimes denied?

They say children are the pillars of our nation. Ask them if they can achieve freedom when they grow up. When they are robbed off their childhood and are deprived of education. When they roam around begging on the street, without even a sandal on their tiny feet.
Even after 71 years, why it is still a distant dream? Why don’t for these issues the so called ‘nationalistic enthusiasts’ scream?

Posted in Opinions, Uncategorized

How are we raising our kids?


How are we raising our kids? Last Saturday, when I went to a pub to catch up with an old friend, this question pricked my mind. I know, pub is not a right place to think about parenting, but I did. And I will tell you why.The place was a huge 4 storey building, with different seating spaces on each of the floor. We went to the top most one. The entire place was empty except a few tables. Most of the people were college students; the laughter, the happy shrieks, and the argument on whose turn it is to try the hookah next, were unmistakably very ‘college-goers’ type. As we settled in, I realized that we’re meeting after a long a time and how much we have to catch up on. “It was going to be a happy evening”, I thought, as my friend started scanning the menu.

As the evening rolled in, two young parents entered the pub. They had 3 children, most probably of the age group 9, 6 and 2. The father was carrying a cake and others were trotting behind him, while he was trying to find a suitable table to sit. Soon after, a huge group, maybe their extended family, joined them. There were two other kids in that group. While my friend was updating about his life, I was thinking to myself, “Who brings such young kids to a place like this?”. By the time our food came, more young parents came in with their kids.

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