Almost three weeks here and I am still trying to find my feet. Not just the loneliness but lot of confusion has also occupied my mind.
When people sound so excited in congratulating me, I wonder if there is really something worth feeling happy. What is so good about being exiled for whatever reason?
I wonder when Lord Rama was on his way to Lanka, if mermaids in Indian Ocean congratulated some of the monkeys in Rama’s army, “Dude, you are going onsite. Fantastic. Well done” or “Oh that’s great, Lanka. Ashoke Vaatika, Golden buildings and Ravana’s palace. Go see some places” or “Wow, you are going to kill that monster Kumbhakaran who’s snoring doesn’t let us sleep. Enjoy”.
I am not sure the currency exchange rate between India and Lanka back then but given the richness we have been told about Lanka, Lankan currency may well have been performing better than Indian currency. Hanuman’s Lanka Dahan act might have dented the exchange rate hence monkeys may well have been a bit worried about the returns.
But then, they were driven by someone else’s needs and I am not sure about their remunerations as well.
Leaving Kiskindha Parvat wouldn’t have been easy for sure.
The congratulatory messages confuse me.
If that’s not enough, the ways of developed world surely confuses me.
Among all those who are smitten by this side of the coin, I have seen one commonality – they are awed by the so called comfort and ease of life here. Somehow, this is one of the things that makes me uncomfortable in this part of the world. Life just seems to be too easy or maybe I am too addicted to be struggles of daily life or maybe I don’t like too much of discipline enforced upon me – I am not sure what exactly the reason is.
People can’t stop talking about the roads – both quality and quantity. They also talk about how enjoyable driving is. Oh yes I agree to that. But what I couldn’t digest was the speed limits – if I get to drive onto a road which is near perfect, I know I won’t be seeing buffalos crossing it, people wouldn’t be driving on the wrong side, no old man would suddenly appear from nowhere and ask me to come to halt from full speed while he crosses the road, the road wouldn’t disappear all of a sudden, how do I restrict myself to a speed limit of 100kph. If so much has been spent on building such roads and they have been kept like roads should be, why can’t I drive at a higher speed? For those who want to drive at a lower speed, there is always an option of coming to India and driving. That’s what we do here – on places you shouldn’t be driving fast, you pray to get some space to drive. On roads where nobody stops you from driving fast, people coming from opposite direction ensure you are kept in check because more often than not, they come towards you and in your lane.
People are courteous. Strangers asking for your wellbeing while you are shivering in cold is normal. It does feel good. That’s one way of making friends with strangers – must in an alien land. But how? The moment very same stranger gets inside his house, there is no way to interact. Being a developed country, they boast of their automated systems – no human dependence or very little if needed. You swipe your card and get inside your building, swipe again and get inside your tower, swipe your card and lift takes you to your floor. In case you want to go to some other floor, you need to call someone from that floor to take you to that floor. But that someone wouldn’t have access to that other floor. So all that both of you can do is to go to the ground floor, luckily ground is a place still accessible to everyone, and go to whichever of the two floors you want to go. Confusing, isn’t it? What’s not so confusing is that there is no “jump a few stairs and have a cup of tea at your neighbors' place” kind of thing.
I was told that summers were about to arrive on this land even before I landed here. Maybe the definition of summers is different here because ever since I have landed here, temperatures have been in sub fifteen range most of the times. It has been cloudy mostly with intermittent showers. But what really kills is the wind – sends the chill down to spine. One not only needs warm cloths, he/she also needs something to get protection from the wind. Women are no different. Sometimes I feel pity for them – they need to take care of heavy makeup, long hair and stop their long hair from spoiling the makeup. If that’s not enough, they need to take care of their jackets and scarfs.
Not that I am complaining but most surprising part of female dressing I find here is the lower body covering which is often missing. Lower body is often left uncovered. In fact, it is left uncovered in most cases. Now imagine a female shivering in cold, covering her top body in multiple layers of clothing and roaming around in high heels and mini/micro mini skirt. I see hundreds of them every day. As I say, it is not that I am complaining but I do find it strange. Are female legs made of temperature agnostic material? Or their top clothing has electronic instruments inside which throws down some kind of hot air to keep them warm.
I really don’t get this. For me, it is simple. If you feel cold, you cover yourself. Exposure is only for higher temperatures. How come same temperature can provide allowances for different coverings of body? Ah, one more point of confusion.
Maybe I am born this way. Maybe it was my upbringing. Or maybe it can be called a cultural difference. But I am lost in this ocean of confusions. There are many more but in next episode.
Till then, enjoy.