We woke up in the morning, two days prior to Holi, amidst the beautiful music of Parvati and magnificent pine trees. Kasol looked pristine as ever. Being a long weekend, the place was starting to buzz with tourists. But we intended to leave all the hustle behind and trek to the village of Grahan. This trip was all about this beautiful village, it’s lovely inhabitants, colorful huts and lots and lots of Snow.
Everyday, as I make my way from home to office, I see a guy in a dusty, torn, black uniform, with a cap on his head, blowing a whistle after every 5 seconds. He stands at the exactly same place, a few inches from the divider, staring into the abyss, whistling. I have been seeing him do the same for the past 2 years now. At first, I mistook him for a security personnel. But as the time went by, I realized that there is a lot more to him than it meets the eye. Many times I wished to take a pause and see where he goes. But I did not intend to make him uncomfortable. Everyone living in that area seems to be used to his presence. No one bats a eye at the pointless continuous whistling. No one seems to believe that this could be changed or he needs some help. He seems content and focused. I wonder how long would he continue doing the same. I wonder what was his story.
About a 100 meters from where he stands, is an assembling point for police. I ride through a sea of cops in the morning, all of them sporting a smile, chuckling at each other’s jokes. Few years back, when I encountered a cop on my way, I used to get nervous at the very sight of him. Even when I had all the documents, I still got worried. Why? Because I had seen and heard many unpleasant stories in my childhood, involving police. Story of power, arrogance and torture. Stories of innocent people harassed, who approached the law rightfully. But that doesn’t hold true anymore. This city has changed my outlook. Now when I see them, I feel safe, not worried. Seeing them daily, on my way, is a part of routine. A very happy part.
On my route, I encounter busy signals. The one manned by multiple traffic cops and still not running efficiently. People here are, inadvertently, impatient and angry. And then there are a few crossroads, where no one follows the signal, and still there is no hustle. People here are more empathetic than others. Who are these people? The angry ones and the calm ones. Are they different? Not at all. The same red light which irritates you in the city, seems to lose its purpose when you are traveling. The object holds no significance. The situation does. Some turns will bring a smile to your face while the others were dampen your mood. You just need to keep riding, waiting for your happy turn.
Wishing everyone a very happy 2017.
It might be true that just a passing day isn’t going to make much of a difference to your everyday’s life. But a change in scheme of things would definitely help you start afresh. Plan to tick things out of your To Do list. Add new items to it. Finally take up that hobby you have been wanting to pursue for long. Write more. Read more.
Everytime you write 2016 and strike it off to correct it to 2017, it would come as a friendly reminder. Don’t stand still. Move. Evolve.
The old tree and the murky sky
Looked at me and asked the question
Who are you?
Not the name. Everyone knows the name.
Who are you underneath.
Do you know? They asked.
What makes you think I am answerable to you?
What gives you power over me?
The tree. You are old and weak.
You have no time left here.
The sky. It’s approaching twilight.
You will soon disappear into darkness.
Why should I listen to you?
I might be gone, but my seeds will remain.
I will leave behind more than I ever had in this life form, the tree said.
I looked at the sky. The emotionless canvas stretching towards infinity.
The darkness might consume me but I will still fight.
And rise from within it, like a phoenix, the sky chuckled at my contempt.
It was approaching twilight.
The tree already looked dead. The sky sad.
I was angry. My thoughts were not clear.
I could not stand it any more. I reached for the blinds.
One last glimpse out of the window before I shut the view.
There was a lot of movement outside.
Birds were making their way home.
No one would surely want you as their home, I laughed at the tree.
The tree did not respond. It was dead by now.
The only thing I could hear was incessant squawking.
A pandemonium of parrots rushed by, interrupting my moment of victory.
I looked on as they made their way into the holes in that tree.
The tree, which I thought was dead, looked at me and smiled.
Who are you, it asked one last time before falling into darkness.
Do you like when it sparkles, asked the sky.
I looked at the stars as they shone in my eyes.
The sky was looking spectacular.
Darkness did not consume it. Neither did it try to fight darkness.
It accepted the night the way it is and turned it into something beautiful.
My ego could not stand it any longer. I finally pulled the blinds.
The tree was not dead. The sky was not sad.
They were in a state of calm.
A state of calm I always strive to achieve.
Why do they talk to me?
How are they so composed while I am so angry?
What gives them the power to make good of such adversities?
The answers would come, I thought.
But only if I know the right questions to ask.
I could see it now. The reason for my anger. The cause behind my discontent.
It was not the sky. It was not the tree.
It was me asking that question to myself.
Who are you?
What is the purpose of social networks? Connecting with friends? Gathering information? Staying aware?
Let’s take a trip back in time. When I joined Facebook, I was still very active on Orkut and Facebook was like that new child in the class you went to say “Hello” to but not stick around for long. Time passed by and it became the social network of choice. In the early days of the Facebook, all the engagement efforts were focused around your friend circle and every new feature or development circled around the same. Facebook continued expanding with a vision to connect everyone globally. But with great investments, comes the need for a “Revenue Model”. We will come back to that.
Let’s take example of Twitter. It was like a secret society in the beginning and a great source of information. It used to be a key learning platform (like Quora at present). All the major news of the day could be found in the top trending hashtags. It was a great place to share your ideas, discuss and debate.