The Afternoon

I spent this Sunday exploring Bangalore with H. Even after staying here for more than 2 years, I haven't explored any of the major attractions of the techno capital. Neither have I seen cubbon park situated a humble kms distance from my office, nor bannergatta national park, amongst the malls only forum and oasis hold a little charm for me. Oasis for its walking distance from my house and forum for being within my modest driving radius

It's not that I am an anti mall person or a bore, I am actually faraway from it, but only the dark places in this die-pre-midnight city ever held any charm for me. So I know about the underground but I am lately realizing that the world ive been living in, a world of music, passions, kind strangers, panipuri wallahs who narrate their folk tales over a badi goldflake , late night omlette stalls, high heeled babes drooling over their less than alive boyish friends, waiting impatiently for the egg–dosa, after the humpy thumpy aura of gatorettes and vodkas, the lonely rider watching all of us from a comfortable distance , as if he is not a part of this chaos: all seems like a distraction from the ground reality that bared itself on this beautiful Sunday afternoon with H.

We started our afternoon exploring the possibility of buying a second hand Iphone in the grey areas of majestic market, the Bangalore equivalent of palika bazaar. The only place I have seen in this new city, unscathed by multinational propaganda. I have seen cinema halls here. Sometimes, I wonder where have these gems disappeared. Even in my hometown Kanpur, multiplexes, selling an overweight ego, sprawl the once familiar marketplaces. All I can feel walking in a FAME is Michael Jackson. Without makeup a bald homosapien faraway from the screams and moans of the ecstasic junta.

Sir 15 k ka lena hai to bolo? 15.5 mein fully loaded (with a wink) doongaa.
Market mein jaogey to 30 ka milega yeh piece.

This was the lowest price and H narrated the story of how his ambala pal re-bought his stolen phone in these dark alleys. I wondered if this was short of a miracle. The guy must've really loved his phone.
We left the grey market cursing everyone from government to MNCs, the media, packaging India as an emerging economy a land of billion hopes and burgeoning upper middle class. The prospect of holding apple's masterpiece without owning it was quite a shock.
We gathered ourselves and left for Garuda mall. An intense shopping session was followed by a peaceful milk shake, we were content with a strange peace that mall offered. After discussing about the importance of hobbies for a single working guy , our topics diverted from the meaning of life and how we should stop mixing one dame's voice with other's face and a third's body to make an erogenous cocktail, to something more discernable.
I told him about my friend A, who had just finished a uttranchal trip. The importance was given not the journey but to the fact that he did it with his friends and the entire trip was perfectly managed and successful. The prospect of taking this dive with all your working friends seemed astounding.
H said with a heavy heart : "Yaar aise dost to bahut mushkil se milte hain."
He corrected himself later, possibly becoming conscious of an old friend's presence and said "yaar dost to hotey hain lekin , time kiske paas hota hai. Sab apne life mein busy ho jate hain."
This was a heavy statement. I hadn't thought about this in a long time. If we look at it from a mid-twenties-supposedly-mature perspective, it's obvious. But if you try to remember it from the eyes of a college student, the whole world turns upside down. It becomes hard to digest the grim reality even though you know that this is how it has been since ages. Even though you know, you are amongst millions now and millions who have already left this stage, millions who have already chosen the back seat on this Life trip. Sometimes it leads to a feeling of low self worth when you are face2face with yourself. when you realize that there are some, not much older than you who are juggling both planets! You can't expect 20s to carry on forever What about responsibilities? What about your place in this world?

Somehow, it's really difficult for me to answer these questions. There is way too much noise. I am of conviction that the only way to prolong creativity is to prolong youth. Youth is an expression of freedom. We can't curtail the bite of age but we can surely feel free. Feel open to changes, open to shake a new hand, open to make a mistake, open to listen to a different point of view. Though, the corporate has its advantages but some of them are at the expense of our wings.

The basics are and will always be the same. We are born to explore and explode; it's the way we've been made. It's exactly the kind of attitude that has brought us from caves to raves. But now, all of this is changing. The fact that we are in constant touch with most of our relatives and friends silently encourages self-judgement. If we judge ourselves by our own yardstick, it's perfect, but we measure ourselves against the failures and achievements of the members in our friendlist. This gives rise to an inexplicable ache you feel sometimes even after a day of satisfactory work. It's the sudden realization which dawns upon you when you discuss vagabonding with old friends. What must really be understood is that we are the reasons for most of our problems. What's breaking everytime is us. It is our untested notions over confidence in our smartness, achievements that make us a self-addict. The only solution is to try to see all angles and then make a jump.
We weren't expecting any answers this afternoon so as always, we made plans for an encounter with Nature, raw, unkempt, fresh; if such a place exists nearby & called it a day.
But the thought of experiencing A's travel log still lingers on.





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