I was wondering over the past few days of how change envelops the very core of our lives. Sometimes we fail to realize the importance or rather the overbearing effect of change. I mean, most often people when asked to give examples of change would pick out the day-night outside, hot-cold weather, the chilli-sweet sensation as examples of change.
Take a guess try naming examples of change. The ones which come to the top of my mind when asked to state change in life would be
- Infant – toddler – teen – youth – Old change, i.e. evolution in the circle of life
- Day-night and winter – summer cyclical changes
- Astonishment – Acceptance –Embracement reaction
But those are not the only layers in life which get reformed and reshaped or changed! Like an Onion, we could keep skinning peels out of life and at every layer change would be the common factor. The examples above are only epidermal in organism’s endowment of change
People change: Our beliefs, our perceptions, our values, our ability to judge/perceive/appreciate changes. Everything changes. It was not one sporadic event or incident which made me ponder on this aspect but a larger kaleidoscope of observations. Some things which made me think on these aspects (I have tried to keep each one of the below mentioned ass unconnected to others as possible):
- Empowering/Prophetic Stones: My family met with a serious road accident last year about this time. Thankfully the injuries were not very serious with my father getting a fracture in his leg and an injury on his shoulder (muscular injury). The impact on the psyche however had us changed dramatically. For first time in my life my father started showing an inkling of interest towards astrology and destiny. He was never an atheist, with a sound and unshakable belief in the Almighty. However that belief was not ridden with the ritualistic fervors and beliefs. Now, he used to not but slightly shrug when some distant cousin of mine talked of wearing yet another stone to ward off the ‘bad-time’.
- Summers and Summer Vacations: Summers used to mean more than searing heat for me. Like most of the salaried people who have made New Delhi their homes, the rising mercury used to be good news. For Summer Vacations were around the corner. This meant 2 months of not catching the school omnibus, cricket at midday and early evenings and the best of the lot the yearly escapade to relatives. Summer Holiday trips were without question synonymous with visiting Uncles, Aunties and Cousins at Kolkata and adjoining towns. I remember how enthusiastic we used to be in the onward train journey, with the heat of the second class (non AC) compartment failing to dampen our spirits (The prickly-heat irritations that used to cover us within a few days of landing up though came pretty close at achieving this!). And as expected how utterly crest-fallen, sad and egregious we were on our way back to Delhi. The state-of-affairs now is a complete contrast. Invariably, Delhi is where home is and home-town means comfort. No matter where I land-up, a couple of days down the line I would start ending up feeling home-sick. Whether it was listening to the incessant gibberish at the numerous FM channels or getting irritated at the rowdy cars driving in a garish and outrageous manner with ear-splitting Punjabi numbers blaring from their cheap car stereos. Though, over the time I have also become lesser impressed by the rambunctious Punjabi culture that surely overtures Delhi.
- The Idiot Box and books: Television was always a luxury for us as kids. Despite the fact that the colony cable-operator used to live next door and offered to provide us with a feed of cable television without any extra cost, my father ensured that the only TV Channels which got my and my brothers viewership were the state run channels by Doordarshan (National Channel and Delhi Channel). As I moved to Engineering College the love for cable-television, American Sit-coms and the Hollywood potboilers only grew stronger. My visits to my uncle’s house just a couple of mins. away from my hostel were generously accentuated with spiffs of watching HBO/Star World. Somewhere between then and my two years at Hyderabad where I was working and dilly-dallying with my preparations for further studies, the Idiot Box outgrew me. I for some obscure reason lost interest in it completely. Its been close to six years now and not much has changed. I can hardly stay affixed in front of a TV screen for more than 15-20 mins. My interest in Music and my reading habits strengthened at its cost. Not surprisingly, these days I have a plethora of reading materials including magazines, newspapers and bestsellers which get my due attention with cornucopia of music in my iPod keeping me company all the way! (By now, I have purchased 3 IPods, each of which painfully with my accumulated savings and each having been used enough to recover its cost two folds!)
- Haute couture and Lifestyles: Not very long time back, having a Maruti 800 (which was an Indianized version of Suzuki Alto) was a thing to be proud of. It was de-throned by the MAruti 100, then by Esteem, Cielo, Honda City, Safari … and by now we have already moved into the fab world of the tristars, rollers and the beemers. Its not just the salaries which have gone up but the whole concept of income as being disposable and for buying a better present than for preserving a secure future (though the both need not be exclusive). The other day I was surprised how casually my brother talked about dining out at Hard Rock Café though it was a ‘bit’ on the pricier side. The ‘bit’ in this case referred to a per head bill of about Rs. 1000 – 1200 without alcohol! I can still remember how comfortably a small family of 4 (2+2) could doine in at sher-e-punjab dhaba at Kalkaji (which is at southern part of Delhi) for 80 – 100 Rs(and this included roti, dal, curry & Tandoori chicken!). Even my memories of Hyderabad only take me ass far as 200-300 Rs. Per head. I am not too sure how well we earn when we factor in the cost of the new lifestyle in place. Albeit, one thing has changed, it’s the acceptability that the propensity of spending hard earned dough on uber-luxuries does not constitute irrational exuberance.
- Circle of Life: If a Nobel was to be awarded for the chanting of universal truth to younger ones, then my Dad ought to get it for reminding us how time flies by! In a few more days my dad would be turning a new chapter in his life as he would be retiring as an Executive Director in an Oil & Gas company. A grim reminder of the circle of life. How we are born and ultimate we will expire. My dad used to tell me at bed, before I managed to master the art of fake snoring how one fine day he got the news that his father and my grandfather had expired. How despite the inevitability of this happening sooner or later, it came as a bolt from the blue for him and how one day even I would be facing the same myself. My father’s retiring is a reminder that the circle of life is indeed turning silently but inconspicuously. Some day sooner or later my Mom and Dad would be gone. I would no longer be living the carefree life I do with scant regards for the acceptable conduct and a brat’ish attitude at home. I would then have to think before I shout and scream irrationally as I do now cause my wife would not be my Mom (Irrespective of how much my mom threatens, I know she can never throw me out or leave me stranded!) and similarly I could not get away with fetching my dad a glass of cold water in the morning after behaving rudely and irrationally with him in the previous night. Soon, I will have to grow-up!
I could really get into the swing of this pointless gibberish. But the moral of the story is very clear & concise: Change is Overpowering and Unavoidable.
Ending with those lovely words of Jean-Louis “Jack” Kerouac,
All of Life is a Foreign Country!