Opinionated Solutions to Life's Problems

Lots of opinions, Lots of options, Lots of hidden answers to Life's convulated questions.

Location: California, United States

LIKES: India, Music, Math, Dance, Advertising, Statistics, Optimism, Dreams, Strong opinions, Rains, Bike rides, Caribbean Sea, Jamaica, Waterfalls, Swimming, Stray dogs, Full moon, Tagore, F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Junglee sandwich, Phone talks, Jasmine flowers, Short work meetings, Fridays & Saturdays, Chocolate ice-cream at mid-night. HATES: Sweet tongued liars & Bitter tongued liars

Friday, March 30, 2007

Honesty in Adversity

So, it feels great to be back on the ground...not from the high flying clouds but from deep down below, 79 ft to be precise. The air smells more fragrant and I now have a happy springy walk when I log off at 6 PM, rushing inside the elevator and then whistling 'Raindrops keep fallin' ; while a confused desi with disbelief writ large on his face looks at me like I am undressing inside the elevator or doing something as ridiculously impossible as that.

A couple days back as I was driving back from work, the traffic as usual was terrible getting on to the freeway. Ab mera ek narcissist logic yeh hai ki whenever I leave a little early from work, the whole of the company feels like leaving early, just to catch a glimpse of yours truly, so traffic jam to hona hi tha ;) On a more logical note, it was 5.30 PM the prime time for everyone to be on MY freeway.

As I maneuvered through the crazy traffic I thought of my first few days in the US. I always noticed how far away every car is from the other while waiting on the red lights here in Awesome Amricaa. This display of discipline and consideration for others almost brought me to tears. Okay fine, I wasn't THAT emotional.

But still, I was filled with admiration for all these people- of different shapes and sizes, ethnic backgrounds and ages following the same cardinal rule- respect on the roads for everyone else. Just as the lights turned yellow, brakes were gently applied and cars were stopped very much behind the white line (as if it were some kind of lakshman rekha). Pedestrians crossed the street with happiness on their faces- casually chatting not even bothering to look both sides before walking through the busy junction. All cars lined up uniformly- one behind the other, keeping a comfortable (read: at least 5 ft) distance between the other, patiently waiting for the light to turn green. I was shocked. Pleasantly shocked.

Just yesterday I had seen the autowallah shouting "abbey khisak na jaldi" at the scooterist who cut him from the wrong side. In return the scooterist pressed his shrill but potent (read: ear splitting) horn a few times as if it were a way to reaffirm his stupidity. Just yesterday, I had seen the old and feeble lady cross the road running as fast as she could wildly lifting her hands in all directions as if to say "stop, please, don't hit me". And the 20 something young and brash idiot almost running the poor lady over in his gleaming maruti esteem. Just yesterday, I saw a bunch of school children at the pedestrian crossing waiting for the endless stream of traffic to stop even though their 'walk' sign was on and the policeman shouting for the traffic to stop while simultaneously averting the two cows that were grazing on plastic bags happily in the middle of the busy road.

And the very next day, here I was 8000 miles from home, suddenly amidst order, discipline, and silence on the roads. In 24 hours, like magic the whole scene transformed into this serene world where no one got agitated and reacted angrily on the road. No one tried to cut corners on the road in a wild race to finish first. And, no one really acted like they owned the road or maybe like their father owned it. I always compared the orderly traffic of USA to India where the cars almost touched each other on red lights and the accelerators were pushed hard even before the light turned green.

And then I saw the same americans scurrying and pushing each other during the thanksgiving rush in malls and parking lots. I was completely in denial. This cannot be, I said to myself. These guys aren't supposed to behave this way. These are the same people who queue on red lights so methodically and drive with a sophisticated air. How can that Chevy cut off that Toyota Camry like this? The parking spot clearly belonged to the Camry guy, didn't he give his indicator for it too?

And then it stuck me. What matters is what your attitude is when you are faced with a difficult situation. When there are plenty of parking spots available, being courteous is easy. When there are just a handful of cars waiting on the red light, parking a few feet away from each other is easy. What happens when the situation is not so convenient? What happens when there are a hundred cars vying for ten parking spots?

So, let me ask you this question. When in a difficult situation, do you still remain honest or do you cheat? Do you take the easy way out or stick to your ideals?

As for me, I find it difficult sometimes to stick to my values. It is not easy being the odd one out. The one who might be labeled the spoilt sport just because she doesn't want to cut through the line for some first day first show tickets; Or the one who is trying to get the highest grades just because she didn't pass around her answer sheet during the Statistics class test and didn't 'share' her knowledge with friends.

But most of the times, I've stood my ground. I strongly believe in being honest on the road and following traffic rules. Invariably I think of my days in India. I think about the times when I was zooming on the roads in my new Santro during my late teen years and the crazy traffic surrounding me.

I am also reminded of those times when everyone around me almost connived against me by deciding to break all traffic rules. And believe me, it takes a lot of courage to stop at the red traffic light in your car when there is no policemen present and hoards of people are honking and shouting for you to move forward. It is embarrassing and de-motivating.

But when the light turns green, and you decide to move ahead, something feels right inside of you. Ahhh, now that's what honoring your own conscience must feel like.

Arre what’s this now, I counted almost four cars with single drivers in the carpool lane zooming past me. Ufff, kis kis ko sudharenge ;-)

Music: Mere hum nafas, Mere hum nawa (Farida Khanum)
Mood: Relieved and Happy

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gaon Walo Mein Mari Nahi

Hey guys,

I know many of you have dropped in to say "Kaha Ho?!" on my blog. For those of you who are thinking that I am away honeymooning here, all I can say is hope you were right.

The truth is that I am buried 79 feet deep down in crazy, omnipresent work! (See the blue font update to know exactly who and what is making me so miserable)

For the first time in life, I've experienced what it is to really pine for a vacation! I am a brave gal and will climb the 79 feet in no time, till then, Ouchhhhhhh , Phir se giri, ab to yeh 179 feet down lag raha hai ;)

See you all soon :)
Still a Life Lover