Monday, October 25, 2010

Bangalore – 2 – a Sanguine Johnny Bravo and Ethnic Chic by My Side

From the aircraft I gaze into the slowly clearing dawn. There are clouds everywhere when the plane lifts off. But still I can see the rivers and streams snaking down below forming quaint swoops and abrupt almost-circles as if by God's design. There are fields green with paddy or wheat, whatever. There are the settlements of red tiles, the temple, the clump of trees, the still existing trees resplendent in the post-monsoon green. The sky is a brilliant blue as I am flying above the clouds. The far-away horizon is erased by the cloudy haze. I think of the workday commute I would have begun on another day and flinch. There isn't space here but it's peaceful and calm, there there's heat, sweat and impatience. How different it is to be high in the clouds. For the time being I am racing like a "rocket man" in the sky.

The earth is very, very beautiful from above. I have said this before and I am saying it again. It's a beautiful world and do you see how we are destroying it? This year's rains were the worst ever. Most of the country was in floods: Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. We need to do something, but what? I then think of the slow process in which man evolved from primates into what we are now and how destructiveness and competition is built into us. We don't consider how it would affect the other. No, we just don't. Though we are past that age of being animals we still are. In spite of having very powerful mediums of improvement, we fritter away our time in watching meaningless reality shows, contests and pre-fixed sports on television. We don't read. We think reading is for fools. Our media is corrupt and money minded. Most of our media is owned by politicians who use it as a way of getting back at their enemies, whom they have wittingly or otherwise deceived on their way up. The leaders whom we have trusted and chosen to rule over us are ruled by gangsters and crime lords who are breakers of the law our lawmakers have created. I read somewhere:

"Man will not be better and sympathetic but smarter and just as bigoted."

Well, something to that effect. I don't care to remember the exact words. These are the thoughts going through my mind as I sit beside an elegantly-turned-out woman who is adjusting the many items of traditional dress she is wearing. I wonder if I should make conversation. I do.

"Are you from Bombay?"

"Yes."

"Which part?"

She names one of the posh-est parts of South Bombay. I say I work there. She doesn't respond. End of conversation. Sigh! I can't figure the woman-man equation very well. Really, I don't. I don't know if I come out as bigoted myself. The man on the other seat, wearing a tie just smiles benignly looking into his newspaper, stretching his wide lips above a lantern-shaped jaw. He doesn't make conversation with her or me. He doesn't see the need to. We all sit like zombies in our seats and are fearful of causing a flutter or appearing as crude. Everyone is one their nicest behaviour. About the male co-passenger: he looks like an older version of the cartoon character Johnny Bravo. Gah, almost!

More anon. Have patience.

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