The Driver and the Driven -An Indian Dilemma

Traveling to work one morning, my car halted as the traffic signal turned red. My usual tete-a-tete with a book seated comfortably on the back seat (No, I wasn’t reading and driving although there isn’t any rule against it as yet!) was interrupted when from the corner of my eye, I spotted the driver of the car waiting next to mine open the door and vomit out a splattering of chewed tobacco. It goes without saying that I was smothered by a feeling of profound disgust.

I pepped myself up to step out and accost him with my thoughts -maybe even lecture him about the impropriety of his deed so that he would remember the encounter vividly the next time he decided to carry out a similar act and hopefully, be discouraged to do so. However, the traffic moved a wee bit just then, taking his car ahead of mine and allowing me a clear view of the license plate. Bold letters of the Devanagari script sat smug on a red background, announcing to the world that the car belonged to the Minister, City Congress Council.

Now, neither is the Congress part of the government in my State, nor is it in control of the city’s Municipal Corporation. So how and of what could the owner of this car be a Minister? By now, my car had inched ahead too, offering me a better look at the driver. I must admit here that although the driver had someone sitting next to him, I wasn’t too sure as to who ‘looked’ like a driver and who, the minister. Was the driver the minister himself and the person sitting next to him a colleague? Or was the driver only a driver after all and the other person, the minister? Confusing, isn’t it?

As the furrows on my forehead deepened, I decided that this was a very tricky but commonplace situation in a country like ours. Leaders and ministers seldom dress or conduct themselves any differently than the uneducated masses, making it difficult for people like me to tell them apart.

In the meantime, the signal had turned green and both our cars were swept forward amidst a cacophony of horns honking from all directions. As the red license plate continued staring at me, I pondered about the wisdom in my idea to accost the driver. For if the driver was indeed a driver, my well-meaning sermon could have made a dent in his conscience, making it a worthy effort. But what if the driver was not a driver but the ‘Minister’ his license plate claimed to be? I’m not sure what the consequences of such an encounter would have been.

If at all I have learnt something from Indian politics, it is to keep away from politicians at all costs. And in this case, their drivers too!

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And before I wrap up, here’s a cool poster I found on the net, attributed to randomjargonmusings.blogspot.in – I really liked the ‘NOT OK PLEASE’ part – something everyone who’s bothered to notice the derriere of trucks in India would immediately identify with!

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Something’s Fishy about the Moon

My heart skipped a beat when I first heard about the Moonfish. Really? A MOON fish? I was soon scouring the net for pictures and what I saw, made my day. Also known as Opah, the Moonfish  stays true to its name with a silver scaled, speckled round body that can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. Although its orange-red fins are relatively small in proportion, they’re quite strong and flap continuously as the fish swims in the ocean.

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Moonfish are extremely shy deep-sea dwellers that don’t congregate in large groups and are rare to spot. What’s more interesting is that the Opah is said to be the first warm-blooded fish ever discovered. While most fish are ectotherms -meaning they require heat from the environment to stay toasty- the Moonfish is an endotherm, i.e it keeps its own temperature elevated even as it dives to chilly depths of 1,300 feet (396 meters) in temperate and tropical oceans around the world. Click here for more scientific info.

 Now, didn’t I say there’s something fishy about the Moon?!! And since you’re still hovering around, here’s a bit of fish trivia for the kiddos:

The study of fish is known as Ichthyology – from Greek: ikhthus meaning “fish”; and logos meaning “study”.

Review of ‘Angry River’ by Ruskin Bond

At first glance, Angry River is a simple enough read about the flooding of an island and nearby villages and its impact on Sita, the little girl. But when I sit back and think about it, the story seems to say so much more.41ckvjagbtl-_sx325_bo1204203200_

It talks about how life in the rural provinces have to go on despite extreme calamities and how people have no choice but to start afresh after everything they had has gone away for ever. It talks about how flippant nature can be – calm and peaceful one moment and seething with anger the next. It also talks about how strength of character need not be an adult trait alone and about the unsaid but beautiful relationship between a grandchild and grandparents.

And then there is this paradox of the most precious thing of ours also being the most dangerous of all. The tree, the crow, the hens, the river, the doll, Sita . . .  everyone/everything in the story held a deeper significance for me. But what I loved most were the last two paragraphs where the author’s words set me thinking about how relatively insignificant we all really are in this world, yet we are at the center of our own private worlds.

To sum it up, Angry River is a beautiful story – simply but elegantly told in a manner that only Ruskin Bond can.

The Moon Does Not Fight

How can my first post be about anything but the Moon? So let me share with you these beautiful words by Ming-Dao, a Chinese American author, artist, philosopher, teacher and martial artist.

The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished. 

The Moon is a silent observer. Even as he waxes and wanes, he maintains his elegance and dignity. Can we be like him? Or have we forgotten the power of silence?