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The front of the line at the bank

The front of the line at the bank

Having been a city dweller all my life I, possibly like a lot of other city dwellers, share a love and hate relationship with it. But, I guess, it would be safe to say that I am really glad to be living in Delhi at this point in (troubled) time in the history of our country.

Even though internet connectivity in our cities may not be the best, it still works out for me to be able to use our debit/credit cards or internet banking to buy most things I need without having to stand in front of the banks or ATM machines to withdraw cash. I am also, fortunately or not, really bad at keeping a tab at my regular expenses so I don’t compare my expenditure, now that I am buying things online versus buying things from the local neighbourhood shops or the roadside vendors.

Personally for me, I have almost forgotten how our currency notes look like, now that I have had nearly no cash for the past month. I really believed for some time that the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’ didn’t apply to me any more.

But I’m happiest for not having to wriggle through my pockets and to worry about how I would manage to give the auto guy the change or wondering if the delivery guy would have any change because I forgot to tell while ordering, that I only have a 1000 rupees note with me. So this is great! For the longest time I wished I could just swipe my card and pay for things instead of having to go to an ATM or to figure out how to find change for bigger currency notes. But I still love all the street food and It seems quite unlikely that they will keep a debit/credit swipe machine or use PayTM kind of services to transact even in the distant future.

What should I do now that I have to pay my house help and the cook their monthly salary? One doesn’t have a bank account and the other wants cash. Even if I could give them their salaries electronically they would need cash to then go and buy their vegetables and things with cash from stores that sell things that are cheaper than the ones available at supermarkets that could take payments online. Both these ladies don’t have smartphones and surely they will find it difficult understanding the sometimes complicated payment and returns processes because they are not literate.

The dance!

The dance!

So thus, began ‘the dance of the cashless‘!
  • Two and half hour wait in a line outside my bank without any success
  • Almost 19 km covered on the cycle trying to find a working ATM
  • Approximately 44 ATMs visited
I’m still a novice at this dance form. There are people who are masters in this art of lining up and standing for an entire day, everyday. But this is one art form I’m more than willing to be a total crap in and so wish that this dance gets over really soon.
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holding-onLife is like a fast moving train
If you enjoy it,
it will take you places
If you don’t, it will still take you places
though you would never enjoy them

Inside, if you get a seat
you can feel privileged and
relax yourself
But if you are not so fortunate
then hold on to whatever you can
for you will need support
no matter how long this journey
is meant to be for you

These handrails are like
the countless memories
crisscrossing around us
like a safety net

Hold on, if were not privileged enough
You will need that support
when your legs are giving up and
your hands have to take on the weight

But don’t lose heart
for if you are standing
you get to see outside the window and
watch the world go by
even though you mostly see vehicles
Nonetheless, it is wonderful
when there is a nice green patch

When you are underground
there isn’t anything to see outside
but there is some consolation
in standing in the center and looking through
the bogies and watching the train
take the turns like an elegant serpent

Life nowadays is so fast
that sometimes it is only the memories
we make along the way that keep us afloat.

So, hold on.

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I was born and brought up in a city where it rains cats and dogs every monsoon. Where monsoon is probably bigger than monsoon itself as it rains sometimes even in winter. For several reasons that may sound absurd, I used to hate rain all of those years I lived in Calcutta. It always used to get flooded the moment it would start raining with all the filth of the drains overflowing all over the place. I have hardly visited Calcutta during monsoon in the last twelve years so i wonder how it would be now. But then, I was mad about cricket all throughout my school years and rain meant no cricket. We would do some exercises and sometimes play football, which i still do not enjoy much. I think I would have also hated to get wet going or coming back from school. My uniform used to stay exactly as it would be in the morning when I would enter the school and when I left with all the folds intact and the tie perfectly resting over my belt buckle.  So I had my reasons for disliking rain till I shifted to Delhi.

Once in Delhi, I realised that rain or monsoon wasn’t particularly bad. Yes, it still flooded the streets of Delhi and probably caused more slush on the road due to its overly dusty landscape but it still felt somewhat different. I wasn’t playing cricket any more so I guess one big reason for not feeling too bad about rain was that. Also, I think I started observing life and nature better. But most importantly, it hardly rains in Delhi so there isn’t much to hate. Before it could get to a point of irritation it would disappear. In fact, now I wish for rain. It is the only relief between the past and the coming winter.

When I was in Calcutta, I had to wade through water unwillingly. Now I wouldn’t mind wetting my feet in a puddle unless I have a meeting to attend. In fact, I remember a few years back, in Calcutta, I was stuck in a traffic jam inside a car in crazy rain and I loved it. With my vision blurred due to the pounding rain on the car’s glasses, I suddenly felt more vaguely connected with nature.

This year, the monsoon in Delhi seems probably the best in the past twelve years. We have had a full week of rain now giving my wife and I this rare opportunity to do some odd jobs around town and then make an impromptu decision to have chai at a small shop by the road and then to go to Andhra Bhavan for lunch. All of this while it rained. To top it off we were travelling around in autos so the cool breeze, the rain drops and the occasional passing-car-splashing-rainwater made for a wonderful experience. Everything was so deep green that it almost seemed to make me feel like diving into them if it were possible, that is.

The sound of the raindrops falling on the ground is so soothing. With time I am realising that being in the city all my life has made me feel so lustful for nature that even the smallest of instigation makes me feel happier than I may be at that moment. The view of trees, flowers, mountains, snow, rain, sea, lakes and absolutely anything natural is simply uplifting. As for rain, I just realised that another reason to like rain now is probably the fact that my wife loves it.