Like a drug, slowly but surely making its home in our veins, the yuppie culture is here to stay. Regardless of the fervour with which the firangs withhold their much coveted Green Cards from us, we have very willingly and unabashedly granted them a permit for Permanent Residence in our homes, in our lives, in our thought processes and all else. The pervasion of this dye is casting lasting and indelible shadows in the fabric of our lives.
A bow and a Namaste have long since been displaced by a perfunctory handshake and a hug. As far back as our memory takes us, the very first thing we liked to teach our toddlers was Jai Hind and Jai Jai. The breezy Hi ! and Bye ! and flying kisses have been blown in along with the wafting Westerlies and these are the first forays of our toddlers in the world of communication. The exercise of inking our thoughts on paper has since ages been forsaken at the altar of the computer mania. Yes, letter writing has been and is a skill. . but what about the folding of the paper, the sealing of the letter using the index finger and spit when no one was looking, the affixing of the stamp, the trudge to the post office or post box ? What about the wait for the reply and the thrill of receiving it?…all these activities have been condensed into one slight click of the mouse on the Send button.
I wonder if the decreasing weight of the postman’s jhabla isdirectly proportional to the increasing burden on his heart as he is treated less and less to the kindly warmth of the humans he was hitherto used to handing their mail to?
The romanticism of a train journey has long since been relegated to being a thing of the past. The racing trees and lingering landscape, the tang of burning coal, to awaken to the din of Chai ! Chai!. . Sandwich!…Kapi ! has all merged into the cloistered comfort of airconditioned precincts or the whir of revving jet engines.
A morning or evening walk would hitherto engage one in a spirited conversation or at least an exchange of greetings with a chance acquaintance or a laboriously walking grand dad. Thanks to. . can’t really say whom…. we now walk to the rhythm of moving rubber and and stare at ourselves in the facing mirror.
The soothing fragrance of agarbattis emanating from a corner of one’s home would somewhere tug at one’s conscience and serve as a gentle reminder that He dwells here along with us. To pour ghee into the lamp, to roll the wick, to strike the match and to see the the glow are all condensed into one single flick of a switch and lo and behold …you have flame which never flickers and an agarbati which never turns into ash!
No, I am not a torch bearer for the old guard and not a crusader for antiquity. But I do feel that we are being shorn of our uniqueness . We are snipping off the ties which hold us together. . We are sacrificing that which is sublimal in us for that which is superficial in others.
We fear the Tsunamis which brought waves and winds which swallowed men and ate up our coastline. We need also to fear these Winds of Change which are eroding our psyche. Yes, we need winds that we may sail and reach our destination , but too much wind may put us off course and God forbid, even topple our boat. One day we may look at the map of our existence and find that our boundaries have long since been altered.
Pray, though rough winds do me ensnare, Pray , give me the time to stand and stare,
Uma V Nagpal