Cost of Freedom

Two months now into the new home that I had recently relocated to, a job in a new city away from my family – I perceived it as a potential really, to break free from the bonds of family and society and to create a haven that I had always dreamt of; something that was defined and translated from my inner voices wishing having an abode of me a reality!!

The search was excruciatingly intense, at times the society and the buildings were too old and dingy, another times they merely had phenomenally huge price…neither comfort, nor basic amenities nor the satisfaction to have chosen a rental abode that had make you feel like coming to its havens day in and day out!!! Finally chose the current one as the location was more enticing and comparatively the house was cleaner, Spartan, old but comparatively spic and span.

Plush greeneries facing the kitchen and the hall windows, while the other balcony facing off an open road and huge ground…..this one felt open, free….in touch with nature at one side while in touch with the concrete on the other….peacocks, squirrels, birds and cuckoos, around in the plush and the greenery…

Hmmmmmm, finally a tough decision, but the choice was made. I lived here all these 2 months in wanton abandonment, enjoying my company-solitude. My balcony remained open and the windows bringing in sprightly breeze and lovely sunshine in the mornings.. Work and home and back to work, followed by a period of overnight travel in trains to and fro from this home to that home where my family is….a roller coaster ride on self journey, solitude, freedom and with this separation…love of family grew stronger…

Never ever would I have dreamt of the fact that in the minimalistics of my living, a burglary with an intent of catching some pricey catch on jewellery or money would be done… Not much interactions with neighbours or the society, I was living in my world, happy in cooking, enjoying a good flick, studying or getting my assignments done.

Hence, when my neighbor called up during office hours that someone had gotten into my house and the door had been broken, I was initially in a challenge mode; ‘how dare someone peek into my house?!” I thought, as a peculiarity of the community that I live, this could be expected, whereby out of curiosity, society may consider breaking in to check in what’s what in a single person’s house! But later as the words fell with their true meaning that ‘not snooping’ but actually ‘my house was robbed’, immediately I made a quick calculation on my potential losses as I calmly instructed my neighbor to ‘lock the broken door with her lock, and I would see her in the evening post work hours’…. my superiors though, knew their world a bit better than me…and persuaded me to rush in immediately to check on my losses if any….

I was like, “ohh, what’s lost is lost, it won’t ever come back again, so what’s the point”; I assessed ‘well, all electronic possessions that I had recently purchased in the preparation to having my family here for vacation….TV, Fridge, AC, my convertible…maybe, I can make it up to it….. But, I was ordered to go home and come back with the assessment on salvaged remains of my abode…

In the excess heat, as I rushed, a collegiate gave me a lift on his bike till my abode as I found no vehicle in the heat of the noon… As I entered, too many neighbours huddled around my house, 2-3 more houses in the society had been burgled….kids rushing towards me, ladies shouting in shocks and curiosity, my neighbour kid running and giving me company….all after me in the house…the door was broken, the lock zone wood was sawed and cut…TV, Fridge, and AC all intact, even my convertible remained on my bed, in its broken screen look but loyal, still with me by my side…I was glad…

Looked into the Almira, the lockers were rummaged through, but no money and no jewellery as I keep none of those with me…Boy, with a sigh of relief I declared ‘Man, I have just been proven by a thief that I am a pauper of the world, nothing with me that can be stolen!!!’ The teenage ladies all smiling a sigh of relief with me as they knew the struggle I had put i to get the AC working and installed…..the ladies so curious, without my permission moving from room to room after me, checking stuff as though some UFO had landed on an alien’s abode! I borrowed neighbours lock and plugged it on the outside door, in inner main door remained broken; and I left for work. FIR was lodged by the other 3 folks for me too as they too had someone snoop into their houses. Someone had planned it….those on the same floor, who were at home, were locked from outside by the thief…smart…..

As I was returning to office, it dawned to me…..the fear of losing possessions in a man can be phenomenal! However, I, no sooner heard the news, detached myself from those assets and possessions and assigned a mathematical pecuniary value to them, that I can reinstate with extra effort…..I had the power and the reserve to make up my losses….This was the materialistic possessions and financial aspects of the living, that are labelled as ‘NEED’ by us..

Similarly, what if there was something at an emotional level….what if I lose something that I assign a value more than my life, that which forms the base of my living…..would that fear been same or would that be something massive? I am sure, it had be many fold precious than I could assign a mathematical value to it….

Mankind whose life is full of suffering is mostly due to the possessions that he holds and assigns to their world. Emotional fears stuffed close to their bosoms…of losing love, whichever face or form it be, losing on ambitions, losing on success, name, fame; whatever that he is after as an inner calling of their lives and the living…what if, we did not have these fears for which we did not have possessions? In my case of the burgled house, I had no possessions that I had die for….hence the pain and the pang of this was mitigated….However, I would have suffered in case it was at an emotional level of my attachments with my kith and kin, and the people closest to my heart!

Wonder whether, as the truth dawned upon me; Lord Buddha’s key commandments ‘Detach from materialistic cravings and emotional possessions, live in the present and the now…’ I could get myself detached from the worldly passions and possessions at emotional level as well? Had I been a true pauper today, emotionally, physically and financially, that burglary would not have mattered….when one has nothing to lose, there’s nothing to fret about really, no pain expected! Question is ‘how do I grade myself as rich?’ whatever that richness is about, my books that were in the drawers that were to carry jewelry and cash, were not of much value to the robber. Richness should hence be something or a person or an asset that does not carry a monetary value; something that cannot be stolen….If something can be stolen, then it does not belong to you, it was never yours….

So what is the cost of freedom? Not money for sure…..

Regardless of being robbed not robbed, I was irate on the fact though, that my haven, my security, the walls of my abode, had been broken by an extraneous creature, the guts that the man had and the prowess to swindle a society….how dare he held the courage to invade someone’s temple, their privacy for mere clinging of the coins? How sorry was that man, how poor and meagre, how servile in his dignity of humanity…..to have carried such an undignified task!!!! He who invades others, neither holds self-respect for others, but lacks the core of being a human-self-respect!!!!

So what is the cost of freedom then again? Money?-Nope…..it is self-respect, it is self-worth….it actually goes down to the knowledge and wisdom of our ‘Individuality.’

Routine but Tedious Travails in a Mumbai Local Train: Adventure or human devaluation?!  

As I was struggling to make my way through the gushing, mad swarm of people, that had alighted the train, scampering and stampeding through the morass of indiscipline hooliganism, now trying to force through a jammed vortex of people, thwarting, pushing and plunging insanely towards the narrow staircase of the connecting bridge to other platforms & Mumbai local lines, each passenger & commuter, trying to get released and move towards the next path of their journeys! Mostly women start cribbing or stay in the waiting, patiently, to avoid the unruly pranks of the opportunistic mob, but no sooner some space is created, just when you think “now is the time to cross the bridge resistance free”, another train enters to a halt, impatient passengers stuffed on either sides, trying to make way to their owns destinations!!! Many a time, men land up fist fighting, some one’s ego gets awakened in between and betwixt the jungle rule, or at another the one’s descending the staircases get dashed in with those forcing to ascend!!! Funny, if we expand this scenario to larger scape of life that exactly how travelers in time are!!!!

My daily journey doesn’t end here, neither does it start here! The first pang of ache is felt, no sooner I await the train at my boarding junction where all ladies in all their coquetries and decent attires, are poised to jump into the 1st class door, long before even the train is expected, and then jam and fight each other, with all their brawns & muscles & fats, pushing through every woman who’s ready to proceed before them. And this, despite the compartment being empty, waiting in all its expanse with open arms, ready to accommodate all the ladies that are recklessly ready to nail each other lest they miss out on something…….something!!!!! But well, anxiety has become the pulse of the population here…..anxiety to be unable to catch the train on time, anxiety to be unable to get a seat while in transit in trains, anxiety to get down the train……

No sooner the train enters and halts at a station, people all poised to alight, jump and be the heroic 1st to have been able to land on the platform even before the train has halted completely!!! Those alighting are attacked by hordes of impatient, insensitive, ladies prepared to board! A tug of war can be perceived for a brief second; a bag stuck in the crowd, a woman being spindled off her path, jamming the entrance and exit with equal pressure & spooling from either sides! Pressure mounts with not a single outlet or advancement of a person, gradually a kinetic energy that absurdly gets stuck into a speedy surge into potential energy keeps escalating, and you feel like a pack of atoms & molecules all jammed together unable to move due to lack of Absolute space, mainly as all of them trying to get in 1st, block, push, and tread the rest! Suddenly one of the most powerful atom of the lot, colliding, one wall to another, kicking and bumping on another, leading to a sudden swooshing of myriads of atoms, finally holding a ground somewhere, in helter-skelter directions, with rebounding velocity, across the open compartment, trying to settle somewhere, whichever space that’s available, or if they manage to have some luxury, take a comfortable space; from the 1st in line of attack (boarding) or defense (alighting) making way. The settling effect too at times can be un-nerving, ladies thudding, pushing, deceiving, and belligerent with other ladies, to get that “one seat” and finally settling down!!! This I call as the mob dynamics in a local train!!

Once I had seen a co-traveler fall off and come under the stampede of fellow travellers, no one had offered their hands or picked her up until they got their respective seats, or had settled in their compartment; following which, after a brief sigh of relief, the ladies suddenly became aware of the co traveller’s fall and playing the good Samaritan finally asked “whether she was alright”! Until then, each of them were absolutely immune, and in a scurry flurry race to get a seat, whereupon their primal instincts had superseded the humane concern for a fellow being!! This I call the psyche or the “mob mentality”!

This is a tryst, day in and day out; and an ordeal to go through, the enemies being the ladies themselves! Mind you, I am citing an example and a scenario of ladies compartment, but this is worse in men’s compartment!! Fist fights, verbal bravados & hooting and hooliganism in the garb of decency is a common sight and expectation every day!

And amongst these fellow traveller beings, making a respectable way through the throngs is an impossible task indeed! Men entering the entrance of the stairs from left side, women waiting patiently till their turn comes, some brave folks who think they are leading the mob, shout, hoot or motivate others or just merely push through!! Some men take advantage of the crowd and may pinch the bun of woman, and there follows an irate ranting and swearing from the woman!!!

The feeling while getting through this crowd for sure is not nice, it makes a human being devaluated! The people who push and kick and behave aggressive are all common folks, some in business attire, some others are god fearing, some are opportunists and some others are devils in disguise!!! It’s a sickening feeling to know that although the same woman who doesn’t care to stamp another woman in the pursuit of a seat, later as she is settled reads a bible, or Hanuman chalisa or a Ramayana brief. Strange to know the dynamics of this mob, literate folks, claim to be educated, behaving like animals, the scene turns suddenly into a war zone or a jungle rule of Darwin on Survival of the fittest!

Strange to know that every human being has now learnt to ‘devalue’ themselves while travelling in these locals of Mumbai by allowing themselves to be pushed, pinched, caught in a vortex of aggressiveness, indiscipline and disregard! Discipline and respect are amiss somewhere, to neighbours or fellow humans or to oneself! People have become immune to verbal combats but on an extreme some others have become used to spitting out spite at even a mere “excuse me” or a poke! These are dead people who vent out their frustrations at each other, or themselves or at their friends, neighbours, work peers, and anyone that crosses their path for that matter!!! No sooner they come off this frazzle, they brush off the devaluation and get back to their daily routines or rather their facades!

What is it that stops people in being more sensitive and caring in a mob situation? Why does it get worse? When we are solo and our visibility is stark for all to see, we use the best of our images for people to see and best of our mannerisms and etiquettes!!! But no sooner, one becomes unknown and sunk into the crowd of the face known but as “mob”, that same person gets swooped and swooned into the force & speech of the mob!!!

The bigger question that I pose here is, whether should we create respect, discipline and sensitivity in a society by eliminating the mob mentality, or should we live within the mob and create a conscious effort to be mindful of the person just next to us!!!! Part of the problem has evolved due to lack of spaces and travel comforts, but try taking a closer peak at some other multitudinous facets and aspects of “human devaluations” in our daily lives- female feticide, gang rape and rape, child abuse and child labor, selling a child or an organ for 5000 INR, manipulations and the greed!!! It would not be wrong here to say that actually, and technically, and even psychologically for that matter that “human devaluations have stemmed from blatant greed” – nothing but GREED!

Another dream, may be….

Dream #Breath #Daily living #Promises #humanity

Another dream comes to an end…Another life, nipped in the bud!

Dreams and desires, hopes and fires, that soared high and mighty,

Agile Spirits, harbingering promises of tomorrow, drained and lost, thrust in an unfathomable obscurity!

Another melody stifled before its utterance, another sigh gone unheard through a heaving breath;
Millions of voices, all drained, in the mundane chores of monotony,
Our lives weighed down by the bogs of endless trivialities, constantly craving the farfetched joys and pleasures!

Oh, but can you feel the whiff of freshness in your daily living? Are you breathing or are you surrendering?

Can you sing a fellow heart a melodious rejuvenating repose?
Oh, can you softly wipe off tears from another stricken soul?
Or can you spark a chord of kindness, within another fraternal soul? 
Answers to these questions, lay in a callous negation, compassion drowned as frigid emotions.

Somewhere, we forgot to ‘live’, as stuck amidst the din and dust of our cat and the rats’ race!
Somewhere, our hearts ceased to empathize on the sorrows of our world,
Simple joys and pains, faded in the urban strains.
We lost grip of our essence of being and forgot to rejoice in the natural rains.

Our hearts thus furthered from the harmonies of our being, we lost our inner peace while seeking external abundance as validations of ourselves.

Can we revive us? Can we resuscitate our living? Our minds can contemplate on this eternal quest for sanity.

Perchance, our pliable hearts, spirits and kindred’s soul, may pave a way to persevere to preserve, sustain to survive our human race,

Perchance, the cluttered realms of human bondages could be shattered, as we reconnect to revive, declutter to not just grow but thrive, in an eternal cycle of mindful introspection!

And in doing so, perchance, another tune may spring back, revving songs of mirth and genuine revivals,

Another life will be born, another dream unleashed, a beginning of a whole new world……a new life! May be……