Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Road, The Walk and The Life

It has been a long time since I have started walking to my office. Initially, I used to take auto everyday, but now I just want to walk. It's a little more than 2.5 kms from my house.
Everyday I start from my gate, filled with confidence and silence, the music of life set to the winning rhythm again, stepping into those porshe BTM main road and lanes, looking around people who stand in the cross roads of BTM searching for an auto. Most of them are girls, so no doubt I take that path.
And I walk further. It is all straight from my home, no turns no curves. I encounter the same signal everyday, the crossing where I spend 2 mins of my time everyday before I find myself on the other side. Those two mins shake my heart with all the fears of being crushed down by a truck or being hit to pieces by a speeding bus, I frightenly look around to find young men/women all hurrying up for their day's work. I pray silently "God, give them the wisdom to safely cross this road. Forgive them for all their mistakes/sins for no one deserves to die on the road". And then I cross the road. I start walking along side a lifeless park. The park is full of stones, no grass, nothing. And besides the park, lies the barren, which has all the life. Little boys playing cricket, men basking in the sun talking the daily issues.."AAh...what's wrong here?". Obvioulsy, I have not been able to gather the answer.
I walk futher, straight and faster. I approach what is called "Tavrekere Main Road." Well, it is certainly not a road, but yes it deserves the adjective "Main"; but still I would prefer calling it a "road". I have never experienced such a narrow lane in my life before coming to Bangalore. Half of the road encroached by illegal parkings and shops, all kinds of shops. Inspite of it being narrow and crowded, ond can find trucks, double decker busses, huge cranes and mighty road rollers. Not one of them cares for the road and it's life. I realized over these days, it is much more difficult to walk than to drive on this road. Driving through this road, is such a waste of time. But for me there is not shorter option.
I almost remember everything now present on this road. I still have a km to walk. I can now notice little boys and girls playing on the roadside, all those games that I have played at their age. I had a public park for my games, but for these children, I guess, the Tavrekere main is their park. Behind the shops, I an see houses. As I walk, I can see more of the dirt and filth that this road encompasses all through it. The houses, some of them beautifully designed and some really shaggy and ragged ones. "Ok, so Tavereker Main houses the rich too, not just the poor..But what kind of wiseness is it to build a beautiful bunglow on a dirty road side. Isn't it like building an IIT in Kanpur??". A mind that started with confidence and silence, with just one thought of reaching the office, was now generating hundreds of them. The music of life started fathoming into the deeper notes, the sadder ones. And then I find a poultry shop, just on the road side, and then another poultry shop , then another.. "Omg, this is a row of poultry shops. It smells and feels death." And then you find roadside hotels besides those poultry shops where people were breaking their fast. They were almost eating on the road, standing and eating with thalis in hand. My mind went silent. I did not want to breathe at all. My legs worked faster. I placed my white handkerchief on my nose. But those children, they were still playing there, around those poultry shops. "Is there no one around, to ask them not to play here. What if they carry all those flues...". And those little "Taare Zameen par", they kept on watching me passing by. I could see their faces, all of them staring at me as if asking me to make a promise, a promise for a better playground than Tavrekere Main, a little more respect and care, something that every human being, especially these "Taare Zameen par" deserve. "Aren't you looking at the wrong face kiddo...".
Finally I cross that stretch and I feel life again. I want to breathe more and more. I have no place to walk on the road, for it's full of autos, trucks, busses, animals, all of them stacked in a jam, the jam of life, created by them and observed by them. I can only look for corners and edges, space small enough to land my feet. Surprisingly, I always get this space. This has been so miraculous and mysterious about Tavrekere main. No matter how much you push in, it can absorb it all.
Everyday when I walk all the way on this road, I am sure I risk my life for there have been ample instances where I closely escaped accidents.. But then this is true for every individual who is walking on this road, for every life blossoming besides the Tavrekere Main Road.
Passing all these hurdles/challenges that tavrekere main poses on me and my mind, I enter my office gate. My office has an upward slope from the zeroth floor to the first floor and at the end of this slope, there is an elevated platform. Almost, every employee takes the lift from the zeroth floor itself, but I always walk that slope. Slowly and confidently I walk up, with the feeling of having won yet another war, I reach the elevated platform. The music of life once again surges up to a winning rythm. I can see the tavrekere main from the platform . I puff my heart with guts, and looked down upon the tavrekere main for one last time before I start my day. I feel confident again to overcome all my problems and challenges that this day has in store for me. With a smile, I look back and enter Oracle.