Road to moksha !

The cycle of birth, death and migration of the soul is so commonly understood here! So much so, that kids in the neighbourhood speak about it.

( Overheard in the apartment lift, just as the lift is making its way to the higher floors.

Young boy, around seven / eight years. Wearing a big red T-shirt with ‘Tommy’ inscribed on it, clutching a ‘Granola’ bar. Accompanied by a middle aged man who hauls numerous plastic bags, apparently from weekend grocery shopping. Along with his paunch. Wife is missing from action today).

Boy : Dad if the lift doesnt stop at the 14th floor, will it take you above…? To heaven..?

Dad : ( Slightly embarassed )..hmm mmm

Boy : Thats great. Then you can be reborn as Aamir Khan !

Horror filled dad suddenly tries hard spotting cobwebs in the corner of a spotless lift !

So, that is that. Proof that everybody knows the story of a birth, death and rebirth.

My hypotheses is that children learn it from the way in which our roads are born, dug up, turned over and left to rot for some time. Until some time later, a brand new layer on top the existing layer is …i mean, given birth to !

Isnt that a perfect example of the cycle of birth, death and rebirth !

The alacrity with which roads are laid, and almost immediately, dug up for some maintenance work, sometimes is such a laugh riot, that it is not funny ! At other times, you wonder, why the tax payer should end up paying for such Sisyphean tasks that perhaps would put Sisyphus himself to shame !

So, for the tar on the road, i am sure, there is yearning to get Moksha. To be free from the cycle of the birth, death and rebirth ! So much like you and me ! But moksha isnt coming in a hurry. To you, or me.

Or for that matter, to the tar on the road !

Awake ?!?

Yesterday, i was watching NDTV. 76% of Mumbaikars thought Mumbai is for everyone !! But that also meant 25 % felt otherwise or did not feel so! I felt pained. A deep & distinct pain.

Many years ago we had a prayer in school. A poem by Rabindranath Tagore. Everyday morning we use to sing it. It didnt make much sense back then.

“Where the mind is without fear and the head held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action;
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”

Now it does. Big time.

Here we are, talking about the world becoming a small place. About how borders between countries are getting irrelevant.

It seems to me our minds are becoming even smaller and that the barbed wires in some of our minds are becoming sharper. When will we awake ?

1st Come 1st Served !

Many years ago, I used to frequent many rural districts from Madurai. I used to dread those moments. The journey used to be extremely enjoyable, with some of the most picturesque landscapes of the rural hinterland that were on offer for the eyes to see.

It was not the picturesque that I used to dread. It was the grotesque act of clamouring on to a bus to find a seat. Even as the ‘mofussil’ buses used to pull into the bus stands, there used to be a swarm of a population that used to run and cling to whatever protrusions from the bus.

And then a ‘representative article’ used to be thrown in at a seat, to stake ownership to a seat. Handkercheifs. Towels. Shirts. Bags. Sons. Daughters. Tiffin carriers. All used to perch on to a seat. ‘First-come-first-served’ basis. That was and is, a ubiquitous and well understood law!

After all, we are a land were tokenism and ‘representative ruling’ dates back to Lord Ram’s days. ( Lord Ram is said to have ruled the land through his slippers. I mean, his kid brother got the slippers of Lord Ram as representative of the lord himself, and ruled in the name of Lord Ram, dutifully venerating the slippers, while his lordship himself was away in the jungle). You get the drift…!

Coming back to the buses and seats, you needed to be extremely agile or have a few kerchiefs ( or kids or shirts or bags or any other spare token) that you are prepared to lose in the quest for that seat !

After I moved from Madurai, I quite forgot about the whole experience, until I travelled Air Deccan for the first time. I was perplexed to see travelers of all hue running to the aircraft with suitcases of all sizes. Only to realize later on, that the air line offered ‘free seating’ and you could sit anywhere you choose…!

The power of the handkerchief was on full display as people who ran in had kerchiefs on multiple seats, ‘reserving’ the seats for uncles / aunts / fathers / mothers / brothers who were ‘coming’

Well, the tradition continues. Only the bandwidth has increased. No. I am not making this up. Read on. This is absolute true story !

Spectrum allocation in India’s multi-billion telecom industry was not decided by logic, financial powers, public scrutiny or whatever.

It was decided by, hold your breath, the speed at which suited booted executives from various companies could run from the 2nd floor of Sanchar Bhavan (after collecting the letter of Intent) to the ground floor of the same building to deposit the appropriate license fee. (The full story is here )

First-come-first-served basis!!!!!!

So for all those telecom executives who are obese couch potatoes or fit hunks with 6 pack and bad sprain in the leg or haven’t sprinted in twenty years or just any member of public who remotely resembles this ilk, the telecom spectrum race is not for you. God bless you !

I am tempted to lean on the previous post and say, ‘We are like this only’! Imagine a day in time when we live only by this grand principle of 1st come 1st served. Imagine Manmohan Singh running from the part office to Rashtrapathi Bhavan to stake claim to be the PM. And the scores of other ‘runners’ that we would have. Maybe Manmohan will send in his handkerchief ! My imagination runs riot. But I will stop this post here.

It is but a coincidence that this post as all other posts in this blog will accept comments on a first-come-first-served basis only. After all its about bandwidth !!