The siren of the ambulance mixes with the incessant horns of bikes and less-incessant horns of cars and I realise that that aggression is feeding some aggression inside me and I honk in turn at a random bike rider, thinking I am teaching him a lesson while being totally sceptical that he is taking any lesson, and that thought stokes my anger a wee bit more so that I am now honking at random at anyone and I suddenly see a street full of rushing and honking vehicles and a sense of a city going to whatever animal envelops me. It’s 9 in the morning, I am back from dropping my daughter to her school, and a sense of dread and dreariness is all upon me and I am in no mood for a work day ahead of me.
The thing that I am thinking about is: how do they do this? Daily and all the time? Rip your senses and soul apart, so that you are not even a robot anymore? A robot is programmed to be systematic and is hence orderly, one would assume. Here are human beings relying and thriving on so much deadly chaos that chaos is not even the word for it. Something happened to my sense of normalcy today, in particular today, perhaps because I got late with the school thing and encountered the reality of millions doing the daily grind in this city of countless heartless and thoughtless people.
For all of that, I am sad though. So sad that I can only feel anger—perhaps I want to feel the anger only. What else can one do anyway? All the different sounds will keep mingling and I will hear them and feel anger and honk and look for ways to vent it but there won’t be many ways to do that, so that I will keep building reserves of it, which will maybe find extraordinary ways to find an outlet. What if I too become a honking human? I will rather be a robot, to be frank. At least the sirens will not haunt me then.
I am so unhappy that I am writing right now about my unhappiness. But I am confused also. Do I want to stay unhappy or do I want to feel normal-indifferent? Is it simply a momentary lapse of state from acceptingly normal to questioningly normal to decidedly abnormal to resignedly normal?
It’s the cycle of life, is it? Will I be the better for all this self-questioning and ventilating? Will we all be better off if we start questioning? We all take much pleasure in getting a chance to question the system – the inadequate infrastructure, the clumsy maintenance, the lack of preparedness when a natural phenomenon like rain takes us by surprise, the breakdown of traffic lights and traffic while this same phenomenon is on, the otherwise general breakdown of traffic, the generally badly behaved traffic, the lack of policing, the inability to apprehend miscreant drivers (who are anyway too many and outnumber the police manpower), and what not. Given the chance, we will blame all bad drivers also on the system. What system, though? Is it the system that we are exposed to during our growing-up years, whether at home, at friends’ homes, at school, in the playground, or on the streets, or the system that we expect will serve us and survive a society that thrives on irresponsible attitudes and conducts when it comes to common resources? Let not anyone be under the illusion that we have taken care of that from which we expect the world (should we say the earth?), and that quite literally is the truth.