I often get caught in instalments of traffic jams. I pass through relatively free areas but there are pockets in between work and home that I’m stuck in for ages. I don’t often mind, I have my music to keep going. And when I’ve had enough of that, there are funny bumper stickers to read. Sometimes there are art installations that just magically appear around random street corners.
Last evening, while in one of these Bangalore traffic stops, I heard an auto-guy saying “What do we need money for?” in perfect English. Taking it as a sign that I was meant to listen, I turned off my music and peered into what turned out to be very eloquently spoken wisdom. I got a glimpse into my very own TED Talks on the street.
A very well spoken auto guy was giving life advice to his passenger –
“We go through all our lives hoarding and hoarding and hoarding. What for? You see that dog across the street? He has 6 children. To take care of them, he needs Rs. 3000 per child and this is just for the first litter. That’s a total of Rs. 18000 a month. He doesn’t earn that much and yet he is able to nurture them, take care of them, feed them and keep them safe. So why are we, as a species, such greedy creatures? Isn’t spending time with your family more important than cooking up ways to evade income tax? Isn’t doing something you feel passionately about more important than your market value? Happiness is more important than hoarding cash we don’t even use. Buying the latest phone is more important than creating memories with the people we love. When life throws problems at us, we sell out. We are afraid to take any leaps. Forget adventure, use your common sense they say. If common sense meant I should follow societies idea of what success means, then I wouldn’t be sitting here, driving an auto, travelling through Bangalore with a smile on my face. Sometimes I wonder how we screwed up our priorities so bad and how we continue to be blind and just go on living life following the same routines that we followed last year”
It amazes me how you can learn more in the 2 minutes you’re stuck in a jam than you could do in your 3 year degree course!
I always seem to have convenient excuses for not writing. So before I get on to it, let me list the great things that have happened to me over the past month.
1. I got a new phone – the elusive MI3.
An Indian company, Flipkart, bought up limited stock and then created around it some of sort of virtual Black Friday sort of scheme where the phones would only be on sale on Tuesdays, at 2pm and if you didn’t register and didn’t click ‘buy’ at the opportune moment, all the phones would be sold out in 2.5 seconds. A colleague of mine was one of the lucky guys who bought the phone. When we were all out for a team dinner, I jokingly said that the next time the sale was on, he should buy me one. Next thing I know, I’m the proud owner of the fanciest phone that has graced my inner circle. What do I do first? I get on Instagram (something I vowed I would never do!). But now I have a WordPress app as well so I can do small posts when they come to me. Too ambitious?
2. I got a huge pay hike!
Explains why I could afford that phone in the first place! This also means I have to grow up and deal with the dreaded income tax department.
3. The boy is moving HERE!
He said I should allow him to experience my culture and my city the way I immersed myself in his. Don’t tell him I said this but something about that was so romantic, I couldn’t say no. Every other decision we make after this, we will do together and that is what truly excites me. Apart from the obvious societal annoyances of – “how can you live together pre marriage” and “oh he’s a white boy, let me charge him a billion rupees for something that costs 10”, of course!
Now on to the big news of how I got hit by a drunk driver on my way back from work. I ride a moped and this jackass took a U-turn on a huge road without any indication that he was about to turn. I saw him coming from the corner of my eye and so I swerved to avoid him therefore surviving and un-survivable accident. But my bike was completely totalled.
I think what annoyed me most about it was that I had to pick myself up. Then the guy walks up to me, steals my keys and threatens to hit me. He didn’t expect that I knew the language and would lash out back at him. He threatened to take me to the cops (pointing in the opposite direction of where the station was). I told him my station was in the other direction and that we should go immediately. He changed the topic and said I was on the phone while riding. He smelt like cheap liquor.
There were a tonne of auto drivers on the road who snatched the keys back from him and told me to drive away as fast as I could. I didn’t want to leave but in that state, I did. The minute I got home, I told my parents and brother (who were at home for once). We wrote down our complaint, drove to the station, filed an FIR. It was the eve of our Independence Day and despite it being busy, the cops were really helpful.
Anyway, long story short they caught the car (the driver is absconding) and they have paid in part to fix my bike. I will spare you photos of my injury but everything is okay now and my bike runs smoothly and looks better than it has ever looked before.
In other news, the Ganesha (Elephant God) festival has been going on in full swing. Loads of statues lighting up the whole place, happy people dancing – festival season in India is always such a treat. I went to a friends house and while standing on his 5th floor balcony, saw a Ganesha Statue rising in the dark as if to bless his devotees. It was a surreal experience.
And if you haven’t made plans to visit Bangalore yet, here’s a good reason – it looks SO pretty in the rain!
Lex, my cool brother in law has written quite an intro to this post so I will let him have the floor! “Anyway, the story behind this is that, when we visited Belfast, we took that coach tour that ended at the giant’s causeway, and on the way there the driver told one of the old stories about how it was formed by a giant making a bridge to Scotland. The Pea decided that it wasn’t a very good story, so suggested that I should write a better one. So here it is, with very little reference to any actual Celtic/Irish mythology except for featuring a giant called Finn McCool, my version of how the Giant’s Causeway was made.”
Long ago the world was nothing more than an island, a small part of the Beginning World. The true size of the Beginning World is beyond imagination, and it is ruled by a race of proud giants. When our world was banished from the Beginning World the trees and animals, and even the people who were exiled upon the world grew smaller to match their cramped space. But the blood of the giants still flowed through their veins, and in some the legacy was stronger than in others.
The parents of Finn McCool were both blessed with an impressive stature, so it was no surprise to anyone that their first son was larger than either of his parents by the age of twelve, and by his twenty first birthday, Finn had reached the size of a true blooded giant. By this time, dimly remembering the strength and wisdom of their ancestors, the people of Finn McCool’s birthplace had already named him their king.
Finn McCool lived up to all of his people’s expectations, being a fair and noble ruler and having only one vice to speak of: he had a great love of drinking mead. Due to his great size, though, his subjects could never produce enough of it to quench his thirst. Despairing, they approached him and begged that he stopped drinking so that the beekeepers would not have to labour so hard only to send most of their honey to their thirsty king.
Finn McCool was moved by the trouble that he was causing his people, and resolved that he would take no more of their honey from them, for he knew that most of his subjects had a sweet tooth. Still, he did not wish to give up drinking the mead that he loved, and spent many days and night pondering what he could do.
One day, Finn McCool awoke from a dream of the Beginning World and was inspired. He approached one of the beekeepers and offered to buy a single queen bee from him for a very generous sum. The beekeeper quickly agreed, and selected the finest queen from among his hives to present to the king. Finn McCool took the queen bee home and released it in his own garden, having first pricked his finger with a knife and allowing the smallest drop of his own blood that he could draw fall on bee.
Several days later Finn McCool was approached by the same beekeeper from whom he had purchased the queen. The beekeper begged him to do something about the giant bees which were terrorising his own hives and ravenously draining every flower in the land of nectar, so that his own bees were beginning to starve.
Stepping out into his garden Finn McCool saw that, just as he had hoped, a beehive was taking shape of a size which had not been seen since this land had been rejected from the Beginning World. Just as the beekeeper had said, he saw that the hive was being built by bees as large as a cow, and he realised that these bees would need more nourishment than the world could currently provide for them if he were to enjoy the taste of mead again. So once more he pricked his finger, and allowed the blood of giants to fall over every plant in his garden. Then, he turned to the hive and at the top of his voice, he asked the queen to confine her workers to feed only from his flowers, in his garden, so that nobody else would be troubled by her hive.
Soon Finn McCool’s garden was overgrowing with flowers of a colour and size which could only have graced the Beginning World. He thought that the queen bee would be content with this, but still the beekeepers came to him with tales of the giant bees draining the land of nectar. Before long he was being visited by beekeepers from distant lands who had travelled across seas, begging for him to do something about the giant bees which plundered their lands, forcing their own hives to starve. So he went outside to stand before the hive, which had grown to fill much of his garden, and was beginning to push his house to one side with its weight.
“Queen of the giant bees!” Finn called out. “It is I, Finn McCool, who made you the great creature you are today. It is I who provided a splendid garden solely for you. Why do you defy my wishes and spread misery where I would have none?”
“Finn McCool, if king you be,” came the queen’s reply from within the hive “then why do you not act as one? Why do you content yourself to be king of one small island, when the whole world could bow before you? Once you have done that, if you could make the whole world yours, then why not the Beginning World as well? Then there would be giant flowers aplenty for my hive to grow yet larger. For that is my wish as your queen, and if I must show you how it is to be done, then so be it.”
Finn McCool, in his wisdom, knew that this was no way to rule as a just king, and his pride was stung by the queen’s words. But even more so he was enraged by her presumption, for he was yet to choose a queen, but knew that, when he did, it would not be a greedy insect that he acknowledged as his equal. And so, with some regret, he grabbed the whole hive, lifting it above his head, and threw it towards the blue horizon. The hive sailed far through the air, and landed in the sea with a splash that sent waves washing up on far away shores. As soon as the hive touched the cold water, the honey inside grew colder and became hard, trapping the queen inside forever.
The rest of the bees fled, hoping to find their way to the Beginning world rather than face the ire of Finn McCool.
So the petrified honeycomb remained where it was forever more, where the waves breaking against it severed to hide the sound of angry buzzing from within. And Finn McCool never drank mead again.