Having moved to private mode of travel in the city, I had lost touch with the capacity of meeting some strange new people while commuting. This was earlier so common in buses or in trains. Yes, there is a metro but everyone is PLUGGED into their devices… who wants to even talk to you. No one!
But a car… Hmmm… thats different. It is an intimate space. Once one gets in, you cant avoid the person sitting with you. There is a basic hello atleast and then it’s where you want tot ask the conversation. I had some interesting experiences and everytime I have carpool and had a companion, I have chatted and come out feeling good about meeting complete strangers in a city where we surround ourselves with familiarity.
#myfirstcarpool: There were two guys in the car. My driver was completely shocked that I did a carpool. Ask me if I knew I would be sharing the cab at least 3 times.
#munirka: Picked an middle aged gentleman. He was going to CP. We chatted about how we were happy about carpooling and hope no incidents happen else it would be a hard clamp down on a good initiative.
#Shahpurjat: Met a woman working for the music event company. They organzie ‘magnetic field’ festival. It was an interesting conversation
#thebestone: Met an entrepreneur in the education space. After sideline conversations, realised he was partner in the same education set up as friend of mine. We surprised him with landing up at their office. We met in Uber!
#andmore… I can write about more stories but then this will be too long. So some to follow …later! Right now, I need to book my carpool ride back from Gurgaon.
My niece T, who is studying anthropology, said ”We are all culturally biased. However liberal we may think we are , there are things about other cultures which will shock us and disgust us.” Got me thinking. I considered myself fairly liberal but she is right. I don’t think I can understand cannibalization, one with consent. Consent cannibalization would not raise moral dilemmas and chaos about human rights in me but just the thought one human eating another human makes me squirm. To communities and tries where this is practiced , it would be perfectly fine.
This started a series of thoughts in me. What is culturally acceptable and what is shocking.
- Is it what the majority of the population across the globe believe for that time period which is acceptable and is the norm.
- Is the what some of the ‘leadership countries believe which is the norm.
- Behavior and activities which do not harm individuals and are not forced such as gentile mutilations, is that culturally acceptable. But then how does we culturally justify war, chemical warfare, corruption and more.
There is no answer… no right wrongs…Just differences and only differences. And I guess the differences are meant to be .. to stay, probe us, make us think and react – positively or negatively. That’s the only piece we have control over.
I was reading Asura , a semi fictional or completely fictional book talking about ramayana and the sequence of events from the perspective of Ravana. As part of the process, I realized I was also questioning the stories we have grown up on. The larger than life image, the righteous Rama was getting questioned in my head as I read. The clear line distinguishing the Devas as the good and the Asura’s being the evil was getting blurred.
I saw myself moving in the direction of them being two different races and each living by their moral code of conduct. And the fact there was good and bad and ugly in both. They say it is the victorious who writes history and it is distorted to benefit them. Is that what happened? And it got glorified and the grey of the Devas got dissolved.
The book did two things for me:
It made me realize that literature is so powerful. What you read can change the way you think so suddenly.. It helps you form who you are. I guess that’s why we emphasis that we should read and travel. It opens your mind. At the same time, a dark thought came to me. That if one book is making me question… what would some of the hate books on various religions would be doing to the minds of people. A lot of people would be only exposed limited information and books and my god! I am scared to think how that mind functions and how bitter can be. No wonder there is so much chaos and mess in the world. Word is the most powerful weapon.
The second thing which kept going on in my head why the hell can’t we expect the grey in someone who we put on a pedestal. All of us have the good, the bad and the ugly. All are gods do. They have used unethical means to establish their rule in so many stories. Mahabharata talks about it. Why when we make people our mentors and look at public figures, not accept the grey in them and appreciate them for the good and skill they have. Why do we beat them down for the grey. Are we so hungry to get rid of the grey. Do we want to build a righteous image of someone for our own faith in mankind. Is that what happened to Rama. Why are we so harsh on the grey.
WE ARE ALL GREY! DIFFERENT SHADES !
The Internet has converted all.
I recently visited my in-laws on their 50th wedding anniversary. They live in a small town ‘M’ in UP. While we were driving to the function being hosted for them, my mom-in-law (70+ in age) and her brother were talking about some of their very close relatives living in the US and how they wanted to wish them and we were feeling bad about not being able to make it for the function. Suddenly MIL goes ” It’s ok. Will talk to them on SKPYE tomorrow. Will get to see them also.” WOW… I mean WOW….Got my mind going and as I started to look around, I realized that a lot of people esp. the ” older generation” as we call them… are on FB, SKYPE , GTALK and what not.. These are people for who computers and internet is an “alien from lolo land”. They have embraced it with open arms and a wide grin. THey feel cool, connected and best of can can access the people who matter a t a few clicks . They are in sync with the IT generation. Imagine the grandchildren saying I have a date with my grand mom on SKYPE today.
My dad is a fairly advanced internet user and embraced it a very long time back but my mom, she uses SKYPE to talk to her daughters and plays computer games on the machine in the evenings.
My Mausi wanted to learn how to use the internet so she could upload profile for her daughters on shaadi.com.
My other Mausi wanted to share her pictures in jeans (she had worn them for the first time) with the rest so got them posted on FB.
There are endless examples and stories of our and younger generation, who are scared about their parents and relatives landing up on FB and snooping around in their activities.
The point is – Lo and Behold ! The senior generation has arrived……. ON the NET and there is no stopping them.