Sunday, 20 May 2007

In Pursuit of Happiness?????

Firstly, this has got nothing to do with the amazing movie starred by Will Smith along with his son. There was this incident that I witnessed a few weeks ago which obliged me to pen down my thoughts about it.

It was a dull Sunday evening. Our mixer broke down and mum needed it to prepare some chutney. She came to me holding the pot wearing the usual smile mixed with anticipation and I realized without a word that damn! I have to get it fixed. Being bored at home I used the opportunity to feed sum fresh air to my lungs and headed to the desired shop as directed.

The place was a small shabby settlement in one of the nearby buildings. The only room was divided into two by plywood, differentiating the store from the entry. A rusty old board hung from the top with one end crotched and clung to a protruding nail as if desperate for life. The battered shelves along with the main desk were full of spares and dilapidated machine parts longing to get back to life again. The entry to the shop was another challenge as the boundary of the building was dug in order to install cables. So, one had to walk over a rickety wooden plank to reach the place. The owner of the shop a (sindhi by looks) was apparently confused, disinterested and possibly overburdened by the amount of the work, did not bother to acknowledge me. I kept myself busy eyeing the stuff around.

Later…….. I saw a young boy, probably not more than 14, holding on to a heavy machine making his way to the shop. With pockets stuffed with tools and arms coated with grease, he called for help to get it past the wooden plank safely. He safely unloaded his arms n placed the contraption on the floor so delicately that it would have put a few mothers nurturing their children to shame. Looking as cheerfully and gracious he offered me the help I needed. My eyes were transfixed on this little fellow I couldn’t believe to be working at this good forsaken place. He wore a gregarious smile that was filled with deep satisfaction about something good in life. His face was radiant and his energy was visible by his agile mannerisms. He listened to me quiet obediently nodding at each comment trying to work his mind together….and no sooner did I finish, I found him already tinkering with the device. After a slender wait I was on my way back home awestruck by my encounter with the boy.

What astounded me was his enthusiasm and zealousness for working in such a filthy, claustrophobic environment surrounded by metal scrapes and plastic rubble….and that too at such an age!!!
I could only express my sorrow for the poor lad. His high spirits and evergreen nature was astounding, so was the way he politely accepted the harsh comments by people without taking anything down to his heart and maintaining an eternal contortion of lips- a truly adorable smile. :) He showed no sign of anguish in spite of working so hard. I instantly compared him with myself. Where my life has so far been pleasing, comfortable, all bright n sunny, still I found myself somehow lacking that spirit.

Now, what is this thing called happiness after all???

One can say happiness is an emotional or affective state that is characterized by feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction… well is that it? If it’s such simple a thing then why do people who are joyous n gleeful at one moment turn low n despondent at the other?

Also the obvious question- Are materialistic pleasures ($ money $) that ease our life are to account for a person’s state or level of happiness???

To an extent I believe they do but only a meager fraction…otherwise all the ghettos in the world would have been a scene of constant mourning. The pleasure derived from loved ones and from our good virtues is what matters the most. (Easier said than done. eh?)

Although it is well agreed that all of us go through varied emotions and mood swings, a lot of which depends on how complicated a life we lead as well as on the persisting circumstances. Often it is our own actions that complicate matters in our life as a result we waste stupendous time wandering around seeking solace.

That boy might have hit some kind of jack pot that day, but his happiness was worth instigating an uncanny feeling of happiness and a sense of leading a cherished life. It was sufficient to lift my spirits at least for the time being :)

Well, I guess someone has rightly said-
"People are always about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Thursday, 10 May 2007


The State Transport (S.T.) of Maharashtra is one of a kind. Forming an opinion about their effectiveness and comfort is quite disputable.

The discommodities faced by poor mortals going through the same ordeal daily are shortly listed below:-

1. The over crowded bus is literally packed like sardines!!! People occupy every nook and corner of the bus adjusting to the limit of their flexibility ruining the crease and the shoe polish for poor office goers. The odor of the sweat has to be accepted as fragrance of love…

2. Now the type of the crowd…majority of them are gaowales!! Especially during he wee hours. These maniacs have no hygienic sense as to differentiate between a dustbin (I know I am asking too much!!) and a bus interior…bloody rascals spit inside the bus sitting just next to the window!....not to mention the flowery accent which they shower upon anybody who comes up with an argument.

3. If you are a humble guy like me ;) and there is a babe in the bus (by chance!!!) then its hell….as every desperate son of a bitch will try to occupy the space around the gal stamping pushing and shoving you out of the way as if you were worse than a piece of trash!!!

4. Luggage!... I still don’t know why the hell they don’t charge extra for surplus impedimenta that people stuff into ST. It’s frustrating for the people sitting nearby let alone the standing passengers.

5. Well… as the gaowala behaviour is predominant in every aspect, seat capturing is not left behind rather it has become an art. People having no courtesy, slide in from no where and place some part of their body to claim the sweaty seat! In case the window is seen unoccupied their belongings come in handy as they are thrown inside to capture the seat with whole satisfaction and dignity.

6. Well with all courtesy towards females :)….. It’s a disgrace that ST buses don’t have seats reserved for them…so they often land into embarrassing situations with people constantly shifting in a crowded bus and not to mention the conductor who has a throne reserved entirely for himself for which even the elderly people are denied access.

7. Last but not the least the rickety structure of the bus that shatters badly than a grinding machine could give away any moment. Often the bus is found tilted to such an extent that the inaugural stair rips off scraping against the road…not to mention the back ache suffered by the poor driver constantly adjusting to the angle ;)

Well…. As they say like the two sides of a coin every thing has got a good side and a bad side as well… (btw I cant figure out which side of the coin is bad…) so is the case with the ST buses. Here’s some of the things these buses are liked for-

1. Speed!!!! No wonder they are the fastest means of transport in Navi Mumbai…or even in Mumbai. It’s the biggest advantage of STs. This is made possible by having limited number of stops and stoppage times and using the highway route…Traffic signals are mere display lights inviting the driver to step over that accelerator! Surely with no high rise buildings and towers in India, ST bus is the only option Spider Man will revert to in desperate times… :)

2. Cost Effectiveness…These buses are cheaper than any other bus transport service across the whole state. Although the withered paper of the ticket is crumpled and punctured six times before it is handed, but who the hell cares??? as long as the printed price on it remains the same.

3. Brakes!!! Even though the structure of the bus is dilapidated and fragile, the disc brakes employed by it are capable of shaking the foundations of your body when applied suddenly. They are weird uncannily…. Always sudden and no matter how fast the bus is moving it will come to a halt covering the same distance.

4. Seats- Unlike most of the local buses the seats of ST are quite comfortable as they have better back support generally extending over till the head allowing one to relax and enjoy the bumpy ride.

5. Capacity!!! Even though it is overloaded with people, when in need its often great to be able to get inside somehow and commute the distance especially at the cost of other passengers comfort ;)

6. Windows- The windows are big and can slide along horizontally unlike the stupid ones employed by the BEST buses which need to be hanged!

7. Last but not the least, one can enjoy a god nap if he or she is able to find a comfortable seat and is on for a longer journey. The comfortable seat and the perpetual motion serves as a perfect combination to act a sedative which eases the journey especially if you have your ears plugged in to some good music.

Weighing the pros and the cons and accounting our personal experiences it’s difficult to conclude whether S.T. bus service should be called Superb Transport or Sadial Transport service. I have been relying on them since the past four years and have varied memories associated with it. All in all I believe, however problematic, they will continue to remain the life line for the residents of the Satellite City- Navi Mumbai.