I sail through scenes of a typical Gurgaon Monday morning – a scrawny guy comes out of a tin hut and scratches his behind sleepily, the corners of his mouth have stains of dried drool from his restless night, he stretches and yawns a jaw breaking yawn; the early morning commuter drives with blaring music to keep himself awake, taps his fingers on the steering wheel, and shakes his head vehemently at the scenes of the day shaping up in his head; a dog stretches out and leaves his spot from the middle of the road to look for food and water; a prostitute comes out sheepishly from where she has been working and walks briskly towards the nearest auto rickshaw, tries to smoothen the ruffled hair, she probably was not given the time to get decent before she left.
We halt at a red light, a bike stops next to our car. The window on my side is rolled down so I can catch some of the morning air. I can hear the two men on the bike talking over the buzz of the traffic. It’s strange that they find it difficult to hear each other when I can hear them clearly at a distance! The driver curses his addiction to cigarettes. He compares smokes to “suicide bombers’. He points out that cigarettes burn themselves to kill the smoker. His friend disagrees; he says he only wishes it could be that spontaneous. The lights change leaving me with a thought.
A year in Gurgaon and I already possess a world-full of things that have roots here. Memories of where I spent the last few years grow dimmer with every passing day. I have already started to forget the frequency of my favorite station. Here, if both my Queen friend and me are bored at the same time, we agree to meet to sail through time. I let him take over the conversation, so we don’t have to put the TV on to tide over the awkward silences. There are none when he is around and it’s pleasant. Lately though, he seems to be as busy as I am and when we meet its different. It was because of him that I could add a life lesson to my list. “No one wants to look you in the eye when you are trying to make money”.
When that thought occurred to me, I urgently reached over for my laptop and double clicked on the word processor. I needed these thoughts to be processed – thank you Microsoft!! And here is what I wrote, “They say it’s a sin to pray for material gain. They also say I am a part of the machine called the universe. I should pray for the whole and forget petty things like my own gain. But how does the whole function smoothly if its parts are not well oiled. I take it upon me hence, to look after my well being. That is a task I take on for the well being of my whole, the universe. I do it for all of you and you should do it too.” I picture myself saying this to a crowd and what echoes back are giggles and an angry murmur. I smile, save the document and get ready for a shower.
Later that evening, a friend calls to say he’s going to play a poker game. I grimace and exclaim “don’t you have anything better to do?” He replies “does that mean you don’t know how to play the game?” I am at a loss of words. And then I wonder how many times have I given myself away like that. Lately I have come to believe that my thoughts are visible. I am convinced that any person talking to me knows what I am thinking, even if I am enacting something vastly different. It’s not because I am an open book or anything. I believe this to be true of everybody in this world. Our body gives out signals of the truth, to warn or to compliment the listener. The listener should just listen with his/her soul.
So I listen, I really listen these days. I hear the needs around me, the joy, the fear, the pride, the embarrassment, the annoyance, the exhilaration, the hurt and I cannot help but wonder… am I more receptive to myself now? Is that why these emotions feel free to open up to me? I feel like a vulnerable bunch of exposed nerves. But like I said I am a part of that Monday morning, the morning will protect me like it does all who are there in the scene. I will then wrap the scenes of Gurgaon around and walk straight into life.