Saturday, September 5, 2009

NY, NY (April,2009)

Recalling my business trip to NY, it just appeared to me that I did not notice, or had interaction with a single child. For a moment, it almost seemed like an aberration in the Matrix – a world without kids; or a Vanilla Sky dream!. I tried harder, and it took me sometime before I could recollect a kid I saw in NY, and one by one more images appeared, and it felt alright – it was not an aberration or a dream.
At IGI I had to wait for some time in the cafeteria-cum-restaurant next to the visitors’ lounge before I could make an entry into the airport. At the terminal, I got some currency converted and after the check-in went straight to the waiting area. AI 101 set to depart at around 1:00 AM was boarded on time. I had the window seat. Next to me was a very old couple. They were asleep for most of the journey and did not cause much trouble. I started watching movies on the video panel. After watching two movies – Family Holiday, Tare Zameen Par (Hindi), I started feeling sleepy. I did not want to sleep to be able to cope up with the jet lag later. The strategy, it was later to be revealed, is not a good one.
We were traveling north. I was just about to sleep when I saw the familiar orange line adjacent to the horizon. And I decided to wait for the sunrise. The sharp line was slowly melting into the sky to form a thick shade of the color. The dawn was testing my patience. Almost half asleep, I started wondering if we had started traveling a little west running away from the horizon as it had been quite a while since I had seen the orange line. Finally after about two long hours, the crescent showed up. And just after only about fifteen minutes, I could not look at it directly. Sunrise from 35,000 feet. Below on the ground was a spectacular view; white patches of different shapes, most of them I could not identify – rectangular, straight lines, flake like; and some that I could – broad and meandering they could not have been anything else but frozen rivers.
Somewhere near NY, there were three layers of clouds suspending one above the other. It was just splendid. We were above the third and moved across the layers as the plane lost altitude. Crossing the third layer we could see the ground. It took me some time to recognize what I was seeing below. It looked like iron mountains to me in the beginning!! It was the sea under strong winds. Soon, the landscape started to come closer and much clearer - houses, tennis courts, roads and eventually cars - lots and lots of them. And finally the wheels touched the runway. JFK is pretty efficient. I was out of the airport in no time.
Movies, CNN news, and the famous comedy series ‘Friends’ formed most of what I thought about NY. No discredit to the directors…they have projected the place quite well. It is only that the perception is now much more vivid. NY is truly a global city. The drivers of the cabs I took in NY during the two weeks I stayed there were Pakistani, Egyptian, African Americans, and Ecuadorian. I saw Chinese, Japanese, Indians, and Spaniards on the streets. The colleagues at the HIT Lab were all from different countries of origin. I met my boss from my previous job over dinner near little Italy. He is an Italian by origin. The list of the countries of origin of the people I interacted with would probably include more than 25 countries.
Evolutionary perspective always finds space in my observations, sometimes at the time the observations are made, and sometimes later on when I recall events. The people I was meeting in NY were on a branch of the evolutionary tree separated by time (thousands of years) and geography (thousands of miles). The connection however seemed much stronger and much more universal than the differences. And that is probably the reason I found some very good friends in NY. By the way - there are so few people in NY !!??. What is all the concrete jungle for? Only Times Square can match any of the roads you can pick in Delhi if you compare the density of people you see. In the buildings, the corridors are empty. In Metro, there is always a seat available. I wish we could have all of this extra space in Delhi.
I am an engineer and New York is all coordinate geometry - Blocks and streets. After office everyday, I used to just walk across the block for the subway. The places I visited included the Museum of Natural History, the suburbs of Tarrytown, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, the Empire State building, Trinity Church, Wall Street, Times Square, Ground Zero, and the Columbia University campus.
In the museum of natural history, amongst the things that I noticed, the one that came out most prominently was the aesthetics of the people of South America. The artifacts displayed in the section dedicated to the region are just phenomenal. They are so much soothing to the senses that you can watch them for hours. The museum has done a great job in preserving this unique genre. My boss invited me to Tarrytown the very next day I arrived in NY. It was really hard to believe that a place like Tarrytown is just a few minutes away from NY. Calm, clean and surrounded by natural beauty, it is an ideal place to live in, especially for kids. In Delhi, you will have to drive for at least ten hours to reach a place like this. Ten because of the road and traffic conditions, it would have been four otherwise. Like a true professional guide, and better that anyone I have known so far, he narrated the historical significance of Tarrytown and the Rockefeller family. He then took me to a Greek restaurant – Santorini, were I had a Lamb Gyro, one of the best cuisines that I had in NY, others being chicken pot pie at Coogan’s, Falafel at a restaurant on broad-way, and a pizza and a serving I don’t remember at a restaurant in Little Italy where I went with my two bosses. The best as I recall now was the one at Coogan’s…it keeps on changing actually. Too much details on food I guess, so I will just stop!
My other boss was from my previous company – Monitor Group. The two met like old brothers separated at birth. And I was mostly listening as the two Healthcare experts exchanged wisdom. I jumped in whenever there was something generic to talk about. There I also shared the Pineapple Splash story for the first time with someone. Pineapple Splash! Yes, that is what I would call the event when I accidentally had my first hard drink. I was at Dallas BBQ for dinner that day. A waitress came and sat by my table. She was very courteous, smiling and filled with enthusiasm. After ordering the main course, I asked her what was there for deserts. Dallas offers no deserts, and even the waitress criticized them for that. Then I asked her for beverages, and she gave me a number of options. When she was giving me these options which I was only partially listening to, I saw a display at the table which said “Pineapple Splash”. I asked the waitress what it was and about the different flavors available in it. After she had given the options which I paid no attention to, I just pointed towards the display and said – I will have that. The meal arrived and there it was…this big glass with pineapple juice with crushed ice, and a test tube with crimson colored liquid submerged inside. I had had beer before, and had smelled hard alcohol, so I had a slight idea of what it was. It was little bitter, and after two or three sips, it became clear to me that it had alcohol in it. I decided not only to continue with the drink, but I emptied the whole test tube, with extra alcohol into the glass!! I thought well, if that is what it is supposed to be. After finishing the meal, I asked the waitress what was there in the Splash as alcohol and she just started naming them - Vodka, Tequila, Scottish whisky….naming about 10 different drinks, some of them I had never heard of. I thought well…that was quite a start. Now I cannot boast about “not having touched a hard drink in my life”. In all the family and friend gatherings, I have quite emphatically proclaimed my virginity to hard drinks, and I have done it several times. A mention of alcohol by someone and it came out spontaneously – “I have never ever touched a hard drink in my life” with an additional clause of “except for the time when I was a toddler when I caught cold was given a spoon of Brandi for temporary relief”.
This incident reminds me of some of my deeds during my school years. Though I did not have hard alcohol, I have done quite a few experiments with it. I once mixed Cashew Fenny, a hard alcoholic beverage - an invention from Goa, with milk and fed it to a dog (Johny). Animals generally smell food before eating. This dog however was an exception. I used to feed this dog so many times, that he trusted me blindly and used to just pounce on anything I poured in his bowl. Add to that my strategy - I held the fenny-milk mixture for quite some time in my hand and acted as if I was just about to pour it in his bowl. After tempting him with this several times, and watching his tongue go in and out, I suddenly poured the mixture in his bowl. The dog pounced and gulped almost half of the bowl in an instance before realizing what was wrong. And after the realization....he ran........he ran and ran like hell. He also made a face I can’t forget. I dont know he implied with the face but it definitely did not reflect a pleasant feeling. I also once fed a piece of bread soaked with neat Rum to a Bulbul. She sang on the Gulmohar tree in our garden for about half an hour after that. I guess what goes around comes around! Both these souls must be smiling at me somewhere after the Splash I had in NY.

Conference Trip to the Garh of Chandi

I left for Chandigarh on 14 th in the evening. It was a fine evening with moderate climate - about 20 – 25 o C. I had the window seat and sitting next to me was a lawyer - a really fat one. He spared nothing in the meals that were served in the evening. One could have guessed that he was a lawyer when my trousers brushed against his shoe . His shoe was extended within his “area of jurisdiction” and that my trousers were in “his” territory justified his stance. There could have been other plausible reasons for his non action but the brush against his shoe was pretty significant and he did not move an inch. What more he initiated a conversation with me with a free advice on how to open a mineral water bottle! His bulky body remaining stationary, his semi bald head with hair just above the two ears tilted from his shoulders and then came the words of wisdom - “Just twist the lid open”. I told him that I was only checking if the seal of the bottle was okay. The lawyer was on his way to Chandigarh to attend to some legal matters.
I reached Chandigarh on time at about 8:45 PM and took a prepaid taxi to the Hotel City Heart. Next morning I went to attend the conference. There were some interesting presentations on telemedicine interventions in India. One presentation was made via a mobile phone as the speaker had to attend to some emergency. The microphone was placed near the mobile and the speaker was verbally asking a person to change the slides for him. An expedient us of ICT indeed. The events were scheduled till 6:00 PM. I came back to the hotel a little earlier to make final changes in my presentation and got a few feed backs from my colleague in US. My presentation was scheduled at 10:45 AM the next day. Time allocated was 15 minutes. The presentation was a little longer but the chairperson allowed me to continue, so I continued....for 15 more minutes!. After completing my presentation, I came back and took my seat in the auditorium. The next session was on disaster management. The military person was bombastic and all over the mike with “ Those who sweat in peace bleed less in war” and what not. This was in fact a title of one of his slides. During this presentation, a small girl, about 8-9 year old came and sat next to me. She was probably strolling in the institute campus and got curious with the boards and banners. She asked me if the person making the presentation was an ophthalmologist and said that she could not understand what he was saying. When I looked at her, with a smile and no answer she shot back – “Aapko to khali baithna hai yahan per (You just have to sit here, No?). I then explained to her what the speaker was taking about. She added a few of her comments to what I said and then left saying that she was going to the second floor of the auditorium.
The session then broke for lunch with a live demonstration of a telemedicine consultation in which one of the chairpersons was trying to “tele-consult”. There was a technical glitch and the delegates were asked to leave for lunch. During the break, I went to see the rock garden and the famous Sukhna Lake, and came back on time only for the valedictory session.
I later thanked Dr. Singh, the conference coordinator and discussed a pending matter with her. The hotel where I was putting up was in the Sector 17 market of Chandigarh. It is a huge market, bigger than any of the Delhi markets. After some window shopping, and a few shopping attempts thwarted by Delhi - Chandigarh price compatisons, I came across a movie theatre. It was showing the movie 'Fashion' and I had some 5 hours hefore I I left Chandigarh so I decided to watch it. Incidentally the actress in the movie was shown to be from Chandigarh!. The movie is about a girl who discovers the hard reality behind the world of glamour and tries to fight her way back. I left the town a little later than scheduled, at about 3:00 AM. On my way back I met a professor from the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad. He was busy with his laptop earlier. Later in the morning, we discussed politics, management, my organization, community service, and many other topics. I asked him if IMT takes community service initiatives like addressing the problems of public transport systems in Ghaziabad, talking to autorikshaw associations etc. He pretty animatedly described that it was Ghaziabad we were talking about and how people would smash his head if he tried to intervene in the area....... Came back home to join the daily routine.

Gene Capsule

A typical summer evening. Scorching afternoon sun was now a big orange ball at the horizon. Sparrows were gathering on the shehtoot tree in the garden. Hundreds of them, discussing their activities of the day before they go to sleep. Maina was singing in different tunes on the Gulmohar. I have now recognized more than twelve of the sixteen different ways it can sing. Pegions could be seen in swarms circling around the eleven storey academic building. They go round and round and round. Disappear and then reappear again from behind the building. Jacky was being entertained by the pups that in between their play were catching its furry tail. Jacky was not growling at them. He was in a generous mood. The lizard on the bougainvillea was giving pragmatic slanting look to any movements around. A female sparrow sitting on the wire used for drying clothes was adjusting it's feathers. It shifted its position to the sweet neem and was now rubbing it's beak with the twigs. It chirped once and then flew to join the congregation on the shehtoot. No single sparrow seemed disengaged. Every one wants to talk. There are always such gatherings in the evening. Sometimes on the lush bougainvillea and sometimes on the shehtoot. Hear them separately and you find different patterns. When they hop around the bush you might hear chi-chi-chew, chi- chi-chew. When the males try to impress their wives they spread their wings, push their heads inside and hop around the female acting juvenile chirping in a manner little siblings do; little psychiatrists at work trying to bring out the motherly instinct of their partners. My sister got irritated when they did that. "I feel like hitting them with a shoe" she said. The phone was ringing for quite sometime now. I bent from the chair to pick it up .Somebody else picked it up from other room. So I kept surfing the channels as I watched the sparrows outside from the window. Two males were fighting over the place for building their nest I made over the window shed.
I decided to watch the discovery channel. A capsule that generally comes between documentaries was being shown. It said – “Humans and rats have more than 98% similarity in their genes. That makes it less than 2% that makes us humans from rats. Think about it.” The phone call was from my cousin. He had to go to America for a job so he was coming for a day to our place near Delhi. A dog was barking horrendously with pauses in between. It is a dog that never barks. Now that I needed silence to watch the documentary it was barking mad. It was taking this opportunity. There was a private function nearby in the campus and there were movements around. The bark was in retaliation. To signify that it is not able to associate the events to the usual. In reality it was an over amplification of the desire to bark. Not to let go this beautiful opportunity of neutral barking. Barking loud and loud as you can .This spurious sense of responsibility over amplified by the desire to bark was however not appreciated by other members of its family. They didn't even look at him for what he was doing with so much effort. They probably knew the psychological reasons behind. I shooed the dog away. It was now barking at a distance near the dustbin. A slim black bitch showed up her’s face from inside the dustbin to see what the barking was all about. Realizing the case, she ducked inside again to continue her surfing.
The lion pack the documentary was following was resting under a tree. Dominant female had just made a kill and all the family members had had their meals. Warthogs now sure of their safety were busy grazing. Wildebeests were at a distance however. They were cautious. Any noise or suspicious movement and they all go berserk. It takes one Wildebeest to push the panic button. All others join in to start running as a herd. It is a reaction that has evolved over the years to give them the benefit of collective attention.
A male lion walked towards the tree to join the pack. Powerful masculine features, fearless eyes, canines that can rip apart toughest of the flesh and instinct that can effortlessly bring down six times their own weight. Life force in purest and strongest of its forms. Documentary showed how the pack made the kill, controlled their territory and how they brought up their offspring. Two plentiful months passed by before the grasslands faced a severe drought. It found many animals fleeing the grasslands. The wildebeests were the first to leave. They were shown lingering crossing the dry river. Some of them who tried to drink the last drops were being mercilessly dragged by the crocodiles waiting all covered up in mud. Many other herbivores followed. The lion pack was panting due to excessive heat. There were fewer animals to eat now with so many leaving the grasslands. There were no signs that the lions would leave however. One could have thought it to be a beautiful opportunity to leave with thousands of wildebeests, moving with them and eating them as they move along. The Lions thought otherwise.
The conditions were becoming more and more severe. The last drops of water were drying. Call it propensity or instinct the lions didn't leave. Canines were still sharp, eyes still fearless. I could still see the elegance as they walked across and ruled the grasslands. I prayed for the conditions to improve. Then I thought if the wildebeests were right or if they were wrong or if it is that lions are lions. The capsule before the advertisements appeared again-"Humans and rats have more than 98% similarity in their genes. That makes it less than 2% that makes us humans from rats. Think about it."

"I" and "Time"

This "I" wrote some "TIME" back....
Forget that you have any sort of intelligence or perception. When you see something or think and try to comprehend (mathematically, emperically or otherwise) something you "observe", it is the biomolecules "within" the human construct and the property of their disposition to “interact” with the “outside” that acts. “Interaction”, "within", “outside” and "observe" are, by the same logic, what the "you" observes and "comprehends" these expressions to mean. Molecules make the “you” observe and the “you” observes the molecules, and between lies the illusion called “you”. Then where is the intelligence? When an arrangement of molecules start “interacting” in a certain manner, this behavior is connected with another supporting set (the “I”) - an evolved concept. And subsequently arises the science and existence as “you” “perceive” “it” when there is neither “I” nor the “perception” nor the new “concept” which was taken by the "I" via "perception". All of them being just a reflection from nothing of nothing.
The disposition of memory molecules facilitate evolution of what the "I" seems to "understand" as "time". Consequently the "I" with this new arrangement "thinks" about space; and from the arrangement develops an "idea" which again the "I" tries to "interpret". It is then, if it is at all, a science from "inside" to "outside"..
On a slightly related note:
Conception of any set of thoughts supported by preconceived notions, acceptable via deliberate comprehension or by the subconscious to a construct, and the contiguous question of what the acts of accepting and questioning per se inherently imply, clarifies the irrelevance of the doubt, and of the quest in the direction of judging the behavior of an object. The word “Natural” loudly pronounces its significance and essence and can then be seen as distinct from the “Unnatural”.
The control exercised by the perceived self and the thoughts those come into existence for satisfying the idea of the self leads to a state of delusion. The behavior without the influence of the delusion becomes what is the natural. Separating the control from the perceived self or any kind of private “understanding” that the self might have accumulated, under or without the influence of preconceived notions, gives a disposition that is entirely free from the doubt of the mentioned kind. It is then the designed set of thoughts versus a behavior free from the same that makes the difference between the two beliefs i.e “There is nothing called Natural and the concept is vague” and “Natural exists and is distinct from the Unnatural”.
The whole doubt rests on the “notion of a question”. Preconceived as the question inherently is, it is preconceived by a self that acts as a premise. And it is the premise that, when probed, deconstructs the doubt and leaves it meaningless. Here is how. The basic premises on which the question is able to arise is the self and the “activity/interaction/process/....” being conceived by the self. The “activity/interaction/process/....” is itself “something” being conceived. There is an “activity/interaction/process/....” that is resulting into conception of say “outside” or the “inside”, and the “activity/interaction/process/....” itself is “something” that is a result of the conception. “Conception” being what the self comprehends the conception, using the preconceived notions, to be/mean. Dissolution of the any construct that supports any form of “understanding” or the conception of having understood something, leaves a state where to say/pronounce or to comprehend anything will itself be opposing the state, i.e the state without self or a state without any thoughts. The question then become irrelevant and can only come from a self that isolates itself to become “something” when there is nothing. The truly spiritual state of thoughtlessness then destroys the delusion under which one can question the natural state/behaviour of an object in the manner described. Thoughtlessness to experience the arrival of what comes from nothing could be what is stated in the Vedas when they say that from the ‘imperishable arises the perishable’

Railway Crossings

The dog was relaxing under the grey pole with zig-zag trusses on it. The zig-zag went till the top where the pole supported the shed on the railway platform. A pigeon was swelling it's neck there going round and round in front of the female under the shed. She flew away showing no interest in his dance. The pigeon followed. Both of them vanished behind the yellow building adjacent to the railway station. Constantly being irritated by the flies the dog was trying, fluttering its ears to drive them away. It was probably too weak to move anything but its ears. The flies would not leave him. It had developed mange. Hairs absent behind its neck and its ears, it had the symptoms of Demodectic Mange, a disease supposedly incurable.
The boy sitting next to me was trying to avoid seeing the dog. He was making faces whenever he inadvertently saw it. He was abusing. The train was four hours late. People who had moved away were crowding up as the time of arrival approached. Woman on the next bench asked her two kids who were running around the bench to stop. They didn't listen so she took the younger of the two in her lap. The other kid subsided and sat next to his mother. He was now trying his best to trouble her.
The boy was now getting ready and was shifting his suitcases. He was still avoiding the dog. He had an important interview he was telling the person next to him. The person smiled in response. I don’t know why he smiled, as if it was necessary. Probably a practiced articulated expression so much instilled that it came out even when it was not required. The same way you hit your skin when it itches even when there is no mosquito responsible. The dog under the pole was unmoved. It seemed to be pretty much experienced of the chaos. A younger dog was perplexed however. It was not able to pave it's way across the crowd. Crowd thickened as the train arrived from the right. People could be seen hanging from the doors, a sign that tussles lay ahead. Squeaking breaks brought the people closer to the tracks. It was just a two minute stop so everybody was worried to get on to the train. Train stopped and suddenly pushing and jostling and wrestling all started at once. I had no luggage and so had an advantage over others. I quickly ran for the door and pushed myself inside. Fortunately as I entered an old woman decided to leave so I got the seat. I saw that the boy who was sitting next to me at the station was not that fortunate. He was struggling to get into the train with all his luggage. People were pushing him outside telling him that there was no more space. I could see hundreds of hands pushing him and half the number of mouths barking at him. He was mouthing obscenities explaining he had an important interview. Nobody was listening. He was confused. The train started with a sudden jerk. He made a final attempt and somehow with all his effort got in. It must have been an important interview - it was difficult not to read his sweating and terrified face. He placed his suitcase near the corner berth and sat on it. His hands were shaking as he took out a handkerchief from his pocket. I saw the dog resting under the pole pass by. It was still fluttering it's ears under the pole.
The other younger dog was now relaxed. It was standing confused though as to weather the tick that was troubling it was on its right or left. It was reaching for its tail for the tick once from the left and then suddenly from the right. The station slowly passed by and then houses and then trees started to pass by faster and faster. Villages passed by and then railway crossings, people waiting for the train to pass by. I thought of the time when I waited for the train at the railway crossings and then thought of - I amongst people or people amongst I?
Crowd within the train had settled. Disturbances came only in the form of beggars or people crossing the coach to reach another, or people selling food. Light was now getting dimmer outside and brighter inside. Sun was setting behind the farms. I saw the farmers returning from the field. They saw the train pass by and then returned to their conversation. Their faces were dry of dissent. As if they disagreed on the train passing by. The fat man on the window continued his gossips, he was narrating how he bashed and pummeled a thief when he snatched an ear ring off his sister's ears from the window during a train journey. His hands swelled he was describing showing his lower arm where it had swelled. It must have been a really bad day for the thief I thought as I saw his huge hands. You always find such people with interesting stories on train. Mostly they are fat. If the narrator is fat the stories will be interesting. It is however not vice-versa. The boy on the suitcase was reading a newspaper and discussing it with an old man who was nodding in agreement every time he made a comment. They were discussing the deteriorating conditions of the socio economic structure. They were loud and furious, abusive and retaliating. Both criticized the prime minister and agreed that it needed a revolution to bring about any significant change and that it will come soon. And that they will die for the cause at that time. I saw both were emotional and excited. The old woman on the berth was not interested. She was busy chewing nuts with her teethless gums and was frequently bending down to see if her luggage under the berth was safe. She must have done it more than fifty times since she boarded the train.
Train started slowing down. Next station had come, parallel tracks could be seen along. Breaks started squeaking. This was a smaller station. They squeaked for the final time stopping the train with the familiar jerk. Movements started in and around the train but nobody got down. It was as jam packed as before. There were noises coming from the door. I bent to see what was happening. A man was trying to get in. All the people were pushing him outside. The boy inside was the loudest of them all. He was leading the front pushing the man outside. The man outside was shouting, expalining he had an important business to attend to. Nobody was listening. Hundreds of hands and half the number of mouths. Station started moving backwards. A child waved at the train. Houses passed by and then trees passed by faster and faster. Villages and then I saw people waiting at the railway crossings. I thought of the time when I waited at the railway crossings for the train to pass by. And then I thought of “I amongst people or people amongst I?”

False Perception

I wrote this story in high school.......It was an April dawn. The sky was under transition from stringent blue to light dusty orange. Mild comforting breeze had started flowing. Sparrows were chirping out before they go to sleep in the lush dust green trees by the side of the road. Migratory birds could be seen streaking across the sky in the triangular formation. I have always wondered since childhood how they manage to do it .Now that I know the scientific reason behind such a formation, I wonder if ignorance is bliss. Though I still enjoy the view, it is for the others that I think so.
It is the best time for the children to play - the April dawn. Campus life makes the best combination. There are so many children on the streets .Cycling, running down the slope of the underground cycle stand, showing their faces from tree tops to impress upon the elders. The smaller ones have their own separate set of activities. Sand, dolls, pups.....they all play under their parent's guidance who watch them from the balconies. Then there are those who still haven't had the transition from the dependent phase looking with desperate eyes to join the mainstream.
I was with a small boy some four years old. He was on a tricycle. We were rambling on the beautiful campus streets cladded with lush green trees on both the sides. It was a routine walk in the evening. Here in his grandmother's house he was away from his friends. So all his activities centered around me. We used to go out in my cycle to a nearby village. He sat on a pillow I placed on the front rod. I had to adjust the pillow on the rod again and again so that he didn't fall down. We chased dogs, went near the pond, teased other children and did stick fights. He narrated every instance to his mother when we came back. He never forgot to complain about me if I did something mischievous. So I had to be precautious. That day the tyre had punctured so we had to cancel the daily trip. He was quite annoyed then but seemed to have forgotten as he moved on his tricycle.
He was constantly asking me to take him to "satellite" as he called the "satellite earth station" in our campus. I knew what was in his mind. It was the huge colony of ants under the peaple tree that he wanted to see. He had planned to catch them in vial the other day. So I took the way to the "satellite". It was a long straight road. He was repeatedly asking me questions. The juvenile ones that always delight you. He reminded me of the place he had fallen down from the bicycle when I was pushing from behind and then how I washed his bleeding nose in the nearby garden, an event that I somehow managed to keep secret. He asked whether the animal (dinosaur) I mentioned in the story last night was taller than the trees and even cautioned me against it.
He was excited as we were going to his favourate place. We both were enjoying the self under different apprehensions. It is always nice to be with children. A fine retrospect sometimes follows. It may however be unpleasant for the children if it follows a compelled repetition for they need to be free as we were when we did those things.
I was asking him not to go too far but he was not listening. A mischief in me cropped up .I slipped behind a tree and observed. He was still paddling happily in zig-zag motion. Under an impression that I was still behind he went quite far away .Then suddenly noticing what was wrong he stopped. Eyes wide open he came down the tricycle. The worry in the innocent eyes was awesome. He called me again and again. I did not reply. After some time when I thought that it was too much for the little soul I came out. He was delighted to see me .Ran to me and when I smiled understood what had happened. He started cycling again. This time a bit closer. The event did not die in my mind. A chain of speculations struck. How beautiful was life for him before he realized that I was not behind. He was so much worried on noticing that he is all alone. Though if he had thought the same way and continued, wouldn't I have been forced to protect him for he was leaving everything on me. Why then such a simple fact becomes subjective for humans. Why can’t they imagine how beautiful life would become without the false perception how beautiful!