Of Swiping !

I found this at the office cafeteria. A modern day affair. Where you ‘swipe’ a ‘card’ over a machine, which automatically debits your account. Voila. Your hips richer with fat. And your money in the bank, stands lower. Than where it already was.

And as the lunch was settling into the comfortable recesses of the alimentary canal, that message rankled my mind. That message that called me to check my account before swiping. I chuckled. And thought of how life and times have evolved.

Think about it.

A few years back ‘a mouse’ was something that scurried around carrying plague. Not something that you would cradle in your hand helping you navigate a screen. A ‘screen’ was something that you adorned a window with.

And a window was something that had to be opened to let in some fresh air, and something that would never ‘hang’. And lets not talk of Gates.

‘Monitors’ were people in school, who looked over you. Not something that came in 14 or 17 inches ( or more. Or less ) that you peered into ! Back then, none of my class monitors were ever ‘flat’! Of course, ‘Printers’ were people who ran a business and a laptop was something to with your leg.

A ‘virus’ was something that infected people. Not machines. And when you meant ‘anti-virus’, you thought of a doctor! Not downloadable software! Those were the times when you could ‘enter’ without hitting any ‘key’. And keys themselves were made of metal.

Of course, ‘backspace’ was about space in the rear of the bus. Geeks were a spelling error, when you wanted to write ‘Greeks’ ! And ‘spellchecker’ at best brought back memories of the dictation test that you flopped in Ms.De Monte’s class.

Do you remember Yahoo? It was a jungle cry. And the closest people came to uttering ‘google’ was when they were either saying ‘gooey’ or ‘ogle’ !

Back then, plastic was looked down upon. Used only in the making of mugs, toys and such peripherals. And by no stretch of imagination, was it a stand-in for money. Money in itself was standing in. For gold that that governments kept! Gold Standard !

And we live in the best of times and in the worst of times. A time when money has moved from the gold standard to plastic. And ‘swiping’ is very much an acceptable mode of payment. ( or should I be saying ‘way of life’) !!

Life indeed has evolved. Don’t you think ?

Road Series : Madness !

I have a few habits. Hey stop. I am going to spare you from the gory ones. But this one, is quite innocuous : taking a quick walk in the vicinity of the office building post lunch.

As is with other oddities, comments / remarks / jokes / nudges etc etc, have come my way. Ranging from ‘do you want to buy up the building’ to ‘its bad for health’ to ‘you must be plain nuts’.

Well, everyday afternoon the sun tests my ability to withstand the heat. And i try and test the sun to beat me down. In under 10 minutes, the sun overwhelms me. In no time, beads of sweat form on the forehead, the shirt is drenched, the skin burns.

When all of the the above happens, i know that it is time to turn around. I feel like a local college champion, overwhelmed by the likes of a Roger Federer , just by his showing up! In no time, I rush back to the cool climes of controlled temperature of the office.

Today too, that’s the scene. The sun is at the top his bent. The March madness rules. I walk. In some time, beads of sweat are beginning to form on the forehead. Very soon, the skin sends a SOS beep to the brain, warning of the threshold level heat being crossed. The legs involuntarily turn around to head back.

And just then, the eye spots them.

Four boys. Sitting under the open sun. Not a tree or shade in sight. On the edge of the road. Two of them on a stool. Two on what appears to be brick, propped up by a broken down computer monitor. An inverted vessel holds a carrom board. And there is a game that is on.

I stare in disbelief. I look up to check if it is the same sun.

I watch for about 3 minutes. I don’t have to pinch myself. The sun does it for me. I lose today’s battle with the sun. Too. Soon, I head back to office.

I keep turning around to look if boys and their carrom game are done. The carrom game is on, till the last, the eye can see. The Sun doesn’t seem to be winning this battle.

That image of those four boys in mid day sun stays in my mind. In some time, i head to a meeting. And make my grand pronouncement : “You win some. You lose some. Even if you are the sun !”.

Others in the room look at each other. They smile a weak understanding smile. They know me by now. They know March. They know the Sun. And i guess, they think they have an understanding of the first signs of madness.

Ofcouse, I know too : Give me a carrom board. Three other blokes. An inverted run down monitor. And one huge brick. And ofcourse, the sun !