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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Taking Pleasures for Granted

Last Sunday I noticed a family of 5 on a bike- 3 kids & 2 adults. I responded with my usual reaction- how foolish. Why take such a risk.
Why actually?
1. They do not have the money for public transport & they would rather risk their lives and take their own transport.
2. Hassles of Mass transport system- overcrowded, cannot get a seat, alighting points not convenient.
3. They just do not imagine it is so risky - rather the adage- tragedy happens to others.
4. Saving that extra rupee- if everytime the family needs to go out, and they take a public transport- it is a huge drain on their finances.

Overloaded buses, almost tilted to one side due to the more than extra weight on the door side is a common sight. Mostly during college/ school hours or office time. In their desperate attempt to save every extra rupee and every little minute to reach their destination on time, they risk their lives everyday by travelling on the footboard and beyond.
I have a big one with these helmet wearers also. They only believe that the rider needs this protection and not the pillion rider. As it is I find bikes unsafe because staying on seat depends on your hands- the moment your hands leave the handlebar- you have a close to 100% risk of falling off.

Made me think how we take life's little pleasures for granted. Today I cannot imagine a life without a car or rather more than a single car per family. It is not my right to judge the above set of people because there was a day when I was travelling these crowded buses & vans & share autos so that I could reach office on time. So that I could save a 100 bucks of auto fare.

There was a time when I did not mind eating a quick breakfast a the cheap hotels. Today, even a Sangeeta hotel is not too good for me because the last time I went there, I found a hair on the table. Considering that I was pregnant at that time, it is excusable that I found it revolting and vowed never to eat there again.
I solemnly promise, I will never take that coffee day cake, sandwich & frappe for granted. Atleast for the bomb they charge they are giving me a clean place to relax.

I have lived in a place where there is frequent loadshedding expecially during the day to divert the power to the factories. We have lived through power cuts during summer taking our chairs outside in the garden or the terrace and enjoying a moonlight chat / antakshari and a lovely breeze if lucky. We studied by candlelight and slept with the little breeze that came in via the window or used a hand fan.
Today even a few seconds of power cut is enough to make us grumble and start calling the Electricity Board for quick service. I have spend 3 hours straight one night just fanning my sons through the power cut because I knew if they wake up, the troubles are multifold. So it is easier to fan them while they sleep.
Makes me appreciate the joy of air conditioning & continuous supply of electricity in offices.

Same with water- every drop is precious to me also because only here I have experienced 24 hour water supply. Water was rationed to one or sometimes 2 supplies during the day in our town. That is why I scream everytime I see a leaking tap or find that the maid has opened the tap in nearly full blast. It is so precious that I am scared to enjoy it.

Infrastructure, convenience, hygiene factors- one can never be satisfied- the bar moves everytime we feel we have reached it. But that is also in a way a name for progress!
The point of this post is to appreciate these little pleasures thrown my way- a clean toilet, greenery, on time delivery of mail/ on-time landing of flight, safety, security in my apartment complex, long distance calls on the mobile...


bombaygirl said...

So true. We need reminders to keep us in place. It is all relative, isn't it? I remember a long time ago, when we were driving through a village on our way to a temple, my dad commenting on the people he saw working in the fields: "What kind of a life do they have? Stuck here, doing the same thing, never leaving their village. Poor people, chey!" And even then I thought, they are probably happier than you, since they don't know what they are missing, or don't care.

Chaitali Patel said...

Certainly good to get reminded of how lucky we are!!! Still one tends to crib every now and then.

Mama - Mia said...


always good to count your blessings and respect the easy comforts of life! :)


Lavs said...

You have echoed my views here so beautifully...I get irritated looking at people traveling in bikes with their helmet on the petrol tank(in the front) they expect to wear helmet after an accident happens to them????

And I have told you about the power cuts we experience here....Makes me appreciate AC and electricity even more!!!

dipali said...

What you say is so true,Itchy. We are indeed blessed to have all these privileges. Good to remember that!