Monday, September 29, 2008

... and one more blog post

Of late I have noticed few things about my blogging habits -

I often pick up my laptop, beginning to type a blog post or anything ... I start and then I decide to discontinue as I don't manage to gather sufficient motivation or inspiration or just even sufficient energy to overcome my laziness to complete that post.

Often I have ideas in mind but by the time I sit in front of my lappy, the idea fizzles out or gets relegated to a low priority corner, and that idea never gets materialized.

When my lappy goes kaput, as it did today and as it did on my birthday eve some 40 days ago and I somehow got it repaired at some local hardware shacks at Sikar and Jhunjhunu, I crib about being denied opportunities to log on to blogosphere.

In general, I somehow or the other let many a thoughts die a silent death within the confines of that volatile thing safely enconsed within the confines of my cranium. Maybe, some motivation is needed ... Somebody, please bring some carrots!!!

Well, this post is just out of desperation. A desperation to meet my target I have set for myself - minimum three blog posts a month and my September records show only 2 posts till now. So this is a kind of last minute post to meet my targets.

Damn! This sales thing is getting into my head!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

An Area of Darkness ? - Part 2

This time just a few random images.

And yes ... It gets much darker than this !!!

A typical scene inside a dilapidated Roadways bus running on a mixture of OK and horrible roads

20-25 people in/on the jeeps are not uncommon in this part of the world.

A scene inside a city, creating a big stink on account of old and damaged goods, ready to b picked by a rag picker

Getting into a bus is a fight, getting a seat a privilege!

Another overcrowded bus


Saturday, September 06, 2008

An area of darkness ?

The title of this post finds its origins in a novel with simlar name written by VS Naipaul. Set in India, some 40 years ago or so, this is a kind of travelogue of author's brief stay in India where he found it to be full of superstitions, ignorance and darkness!

Many decades and many MNCs and malls later, few parts of India seemed to have chucked off that tag, but there are many places that haven't and continue to remain shrouded in ignorance. Move few hours away from a city, travel in a second class train compartment or a dilapidated state transport bus and you get to see the dark underbelly of India Shining. As one of the characters in the movie Rang De Basanti says "Yahan zinda rehne ki jung mein logo ki zindagiyan nikal jaati hai". So true it seems!

My day today was spent being kind of lost in similar thoughts.

To start with, I when I boarded the ST bus, a woman was wailing. She may be in her 20s or something, but she was crying in some peculiar musical tone. At the same time she blocked the passage in the bus for 2-3 minutes as a result of which I was stranded at the gate, while she probably was bidding tearful adieu to (probably) her family members, but I still don't know the reasons of her wailing.

Many of the women travelling in the buses have their face fully covered with a purdah, and anyone even in early twenties (and in many cases, even a shade younger) usually had one or two small small kids accompanying her. In fact at few places I had been warned that in case you offered a seat to some lady in a bus, it would be her husband who would take that seat and that lady would be seated on the floor (in case seat is not available), although this was peculiar only to Barmer district and havent checked the veracity of it, but I think it is true!

Today, as I got seated in my bus, an old man sat beside me. He asked me to read out what was written on his ticket. He was actually checking the total amount in the ticket to Rohtak (Harayana), and then inquired whether the remaining Rs 28 he had with him was sufficient for him to reach Delhi from Rohtak. I was not sure, though I suggested him to catch a train from Rohtak, as the amount he had with him might just be enough for him to reach Old Delhi.

Meanwhile, the bus conductor asked me for my pen as his was not working. He returned it when my place came, but the whole thing was as if he was doing a favour by returning it to me, and also while taking it from me. Not please or thank you or equivalent words were involved. At the same time, there was some old looking middle aged man who was smoking a bidi one after another (As it is case with most of the buses. Few times I have stopped them, but after few times, I became indifferent altogether). At the same time there were people who were actually arguing about the fare the conductor must charge for them and asking for bulk discounts!

As I planned to step out from my bus, I accidentally stepped on toes of a middle aged lady, who shoved me, and started shouting at me - "Dekh ke nahi chal sakta" and all. I retaliated by accusing her of blocking the passage and asking whether I should look forward or below. Soon, realizing the futility of arguing I stepped out, turning a deaf ear to her.

On my return journey, a young guy of around 20 sat beside me, and was curiously looking at what I was reading (I was reading a copy of Today's newspaper). Probably, he was trying to figure out what was written in english, or maybe it was just an aspiration for him to read english.

That guy got down at next stop, and another guy, this time a kid of around 10 or 12 sat beside me, who also curiously looked on as I scribbled something on that piece of paper (which were incidentally the points fo this post).

In fact, few days ago while I was traveling in a bus, it was raining cats and dogs that evening. This was accompanied by lightning, which scared the hell out of people. I was busy with my cell phone accessing my e-mails. Meanwhile, the conductor who was sitting in a nearby seat asked me to switch off the cell phone as it might catch lightning and may result in me getting 'current'. I dismissed his suggestion. Few minutes later he told this to me one again. This was followed by same request from another passenger of that relatively empty bus. I just told them that it wasn't an issue and what they were telling was not true. I wanted to add that I was an engineer and knew at least this much, but I didn't. (In fact I wanted to tell him that he should be scared of electricity ... he was a conductor!)

These were few of the many bits and pieces incidents that somehow made me realize that all that hoopla over India being a superpower or India Shining is just the surface. There was a lot more chunk below, most of them not that glittering or shining and engulfed in darkness, whose only aim in life remains survival.