Crab Soup

Standard

One should value above everything else freedom, equality and crab soup’

The crab soup in this Heinrich Heine quote refers to the small pleasures of life. It is to be valued with utmost care since it is what makes life worth living. We live, not for some grand event, yet to be unfolded, whereby we emerge victorious and universally lauded, but instead for life itself.

I find these pleasures in my morning cup of Darjeeling chai and roti.

Nothing beats it. Even a thousand kilometers away from my country, the first sip of tea, the first, soft, bite of a hot roti, dissolves the distance with fond memories,still fresh as the morning dew. The day ahead might be hard. The evening, harder. But the first 20 minutes of the early dawn belongs only to me.

Oh and yes, there is also the morning cigarette, my guilty pleasure.

 

moaning of life

Standard

A second child was born to a family from Laos. People from the dorm were gathering to celebrate with the couple in the park nearby. A picnic-like atmosphere was created in half an hour, with foods and drinks, laughter and songs.

And I think to myself,” Why,this is just fucking annoying.”

What are they celebrating about? That poor sod! The things he will have to go through competing for a share of the world’s resources. Only a group of lunatics would celebrate such a tragedy. Don’t we have enough people already? Why more?

Cities are growing taller with nowhere to spread. People are being squeezed inside bird cages, with walls so thin, you can hear your neighbour’s intimate,midnight conversations.  And yet we are popping babies out one after another.

I don’t get why people want to have children in the first place. Sex, I get. But why reproduction? I find thinking about pregnancy rather revolting.

 

I was looking at news from China and they have this one-child policy.  I read that it has prevented some 400 million births since 1970. Some people have criticised it on grounds of human rights, hefty fines, etc.

But hey! It works you know.

I read somewhere that if all the world’s people were to live the American life, then we would need 4 more Earths. It’s clear that we don’t have the resources to provide a good life to everybody. Then what are we celebrating about? What do we say to the baby? “Welcome kid, to a mildly satisfying life.”

I think we have got this the wrong way round:We should mourn a life and celebrate a death.

I once heard some sort of a buddhist monk telling his followers a story.A child was born and the first thing he said was,

Oh no! Not again!

I believe the kid in the dorm was feeling something similar.

Things Joe hates about his daily commute

Standard

Joe hates his daily commute. He finds it simply excruciating, harrowing to go through this monotonous loop of “inaction” (because technically speaking, the train does most of the moving business for Joe), over and over again like a lunatic.

Joe hates the fact that he has to get up at 6:30 in the morning to reach his workplace in time, which opens only at 9. The actual distance from his apartment to his office should be about 12 kilometers. But some genius working for the city-planning division, decided to lay down a rail-route, so twisted, that he is inclined to believe that it is part of some deliberate and grand conspiracy to sabotage his unwavering focus on his work. It’s just pure evil. It takes him, over an hour, 4 line transfers and 12 stops to reach his destination. Well, that’s the cheapest transit he can afford. So everyday, Joe wastes around three hours of his day in this transit.

A rail route so twisted…

Then there are the passengers themselves. Passengers are weird people. Joe has been keeping an eye on them and he had noticed that they tend to do either of three things;sleep, get into a trance-like state with their iPhones or read newspaper or book. But rarely do they talk to each other or look out the window. On rare occasions, he had seen a few women putting on makeup or a drunk man uttering gibberish, but that’s it. It’s almost like they are all dead,disconnected.

Co-passengers?

It is thus a big relief for Joe, when a bunch of chattering,young schoolkids walk into his compartment.

“They are still uncorrupted. They remain pure, for now…….”,thinks Joe.

The trains are air conditioned.The window panes, never opened.  This perturbs Joe a lot, for every time he gets off a train he is hit, either by the unpleasant, hot breeze of the summer or by the biting cold wind of the winter. And speaking of winter, people wear thick overcoats at that time and this makes life even more horrible for Joe, being stuffed in the tiny aluminium box  with hundred other passengers.

Packed as a Cattle-truck

  • Why do I have to travel so far to work?
  • Why are there not more trains?
  • Why do I have to stop at 11 stations when I get off only at the 12th?
  • Why is the planning of these “modern” cities so inefficient? 

Joe is too busy with his work to think of a solution to these problems, so he just goes back to his laptop, grumbling like a disgruntled old man. .


How to Build a Better City

For a more scholarly study on Mixed-Use Urban Planning: Click here

The Dorm

Standard

It was seven in the evening. Petal was sitting comfortably on his bed in his dorm room, on the ninth floor. His exams have just ended and he is looking forward to his internship at a start up.He has just a week to himself, to relax and meditate.

The day had been cloudy–raining sporadically. Now, with the Sun almost setting, casting a golden-red hue over the cloudy sky and regular gusts of strong wind darting in uninvited to his room, Petal’s thoughts wandered quickly to the days long gone.

He lives in a foreign land now. He has long forgotten what his homeland looked like, the peculiarity with which his people behaved. All he is left with is a collection of hazy images. He doesn’t miss any of that though. He is fairly content with the Now.He wouldn’t have it any other way. But what bothers him is the past which he had lived vividly but is no longer so clear anymore. And what about those years before he was 4 yrs old? He has almost no recollection of that time. In fact, the memories are too few in numbers, suspiciously few.

The more he thinks about it,the more uncomfortable he gets:

When was I born?

1991 of course…

But, I don’t remember being born!

Well,there is your birth certificate…

Documents can be faked.And I don’t remember even my parents’ faces before I was 3/4 yrs old. What if they are not my “real” parents?

What!? Stop talking such nonsense!

No.Seriously. What if I was never “born”? What if I had been alive all along?

Come on! You know how a child is born. When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much….

No no, that’s not it. Remember when your relatives sometimes see you and say,”Wow! I can’t believe how much you have grown up buddy!The last time I saw you, you were thiss small.”

What if they are right? What if we really are older than we think we are?What if sections of our lives are erased from our memory for some purpose?Times when we are refitted with key information and guide for our future planned life.

Oh! Are you talking about some Simulating God?

No.I am thinking of some clandestine group of people who decide what we remember and what our role in this world should be,they decide for our surrogate parents and life partners,for our education, wealth and vocation.

 You are just insane!

Well of course you people would think like that. Why else do you think they put me in here?

The clock struck nine.Petal got off from his bed and looked out of the grilled window of his 6 x 8 room on the ninth floor of the mental institution,which he called The Dorm.

“Time for dinner”,he thought and waited eagerly for the pizza which he had ordered last year.

The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scream#mediaviewer/File:The_Scream.jpg

Featured Image: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/21969991