Snakes and Ladders ...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Everyday morning I play this game; game of snakes and ladders.

In mornings, I zig-zag through a chaotic maze of traffic laden roads to reach my office. For a sky dwelling God who does play dice, the tiny red dot of my car moving through this plane far below could very much appear like a coin moved through a snake and ladder board. There are five traffic signals on my way to office from home. As I shift through this game board, the sky dwelling God rolls his dice. I speedily approach a traffic signal from afar; the dice stops; the traffic signal suddenly transforms into a snake; or a ladder; dictated by the dice.

Its a snake; its green now; am rushing towards it, the last car in front of me is passing under the green light, and it turns red; it unleashes a barrage of vehicles from the other side. I am swallowed by the snake, set back, bogged down, for minutes before it lets me go.

Sometimes its a ladder; its green now; am rushing towards it, the last car in front me is passing under the green light, and it stays green; I glide past unhindered. I have climbed up the ladder, shaving off minutes from my lap time.

God rolls his dice again. I am nearing the next snake; or ladder.

Free radicals ...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

I was generally practicing Brownian motion on the nostalgic Calicut beach.

I ended up there on that fine evening after a hectic day filled with lots of traveling. Before the sun began to paint the skies crimson, I settled down somewhere on the beach with my bare feet dug deeply into the sand and was looking around in general.

There was some kind of religious convention going on at the far end of the beach. Somebody was talking about how God had intended women to be modest and servile to their husbands and why it is so violating the God's decree for women to disregard these social shackles. Two days before I had attended a wedding, where while pronouncing the couple man and wife, the priest read out words from the holy book which went like, "like how your grandmothers served their husbands obediently, you should serve your husband, and God will bless you". I remembered another book I read, which was explaining the cultural system one should follow for better allegiance to a faith, which went like women should treat their husbands as Gods and their leftover food as divine.

I could not help but appreciate the cunning and orchestration. How generations of male manipulators have used the religion as a tool, in the pretext of ensuring a stable social structure, to bind the other sex to a subservient role, and how they have pretty much succeeded in it. The surprising thing is that it is universal! It transcends the boundaries of most religions and rears its face in various forms targeting the same goal.

I accepted this little bit of 'zen' with a rather disappointed heart and generally extended my gaze to the setting sun.

There was a family sitting some distance away from me. A father, a very normal looking man, mother, looking probably very religious, and two teenage girls, their children. Both the girls looked like of college going age, one probably one or maybe two years younger than the other. The girls did not look particularly bound by religion, the elder girl maybe a little.

The elder girl looked more mature, the younger one more peppy and energetic. They were sitting way up on the beach from the sea and the surf. The younger girl obviously wanted to run into the sea, get wet, and laugh out loud when the waves hit her. She was prodding the elder one, egging her to come with her, she did not want to go alone. But the elder one kept refusing, acting like its not appropriate. She tried her mother next. But mother was a definite no no. Fed up, she started pestering her father, he seemed unmoved. During one of these moments her eyes collided with mine staring at her ingloriously; amused by this unfolding drama. One second I got scared, fearing I might be mistaken for a shameless loathsome vulture. But instead I saw a faintly timid smile creeping across her lips and she instantly dropped her eyes. I kept my smile in check with some willfully exerted control.

The father was unmoved. He just kept staring into the setting sun. The elder girl and the mother kept their stature, what the younger one wants is highly inappropriate. At one stage, the younger one went by herself to some distance near the surf, she stood there, looking back hoping her father would follow. But he did not. She came back sadly, and started pulling her father's arms. To my surprise he got up now, he hooked up his white mundu and went with her to the sea holding her hand. She was wild with joy, she was running, dragging him. She jumped on to the waves, she got completely wet, she screamed like hell. Her father stood by her, holding her hand, he was also getting wet, and he was smiling. Her mother looked on rather disapprovingly.

During one of these moments, her eyes collided with mine staring at her ingloriously. This time she smiled, she did not drop her eyes.

I did not check my smile; and in the background I silently erased the patch of disappointment the earlier bit of 'zen' had caused.

There are always free radicals, unforeseen autonomous forces, operating out there, working and spreading on their own, countering the atrocities created by organized propaganda, pulling the human race to an orange color day.