So I have been horsing around, rather cycling around to be precise. Now, like all good Indian citizens I follow the rule of the road, which essentially is to firmly believe in the fact that “My dad owns the road.” At first I tried not to be so. I was giving way to every car, auto and taxi, slowing down, signalling for my right of the way. And then the age old tradition of ‘The Strong Rules’ came into play. Slowly as I drove around I understood the hierarchy of the road. First are the pedestrians. They can do anything they want on the roads. Then comes the BEST buses. They are afraid of only the pedestrians. Then is the cyclist. People do not understand why there is a cyclist on the road. They let them be on their own. The two wheeler comes next followed by the pariah – the four wheeler.
So I was the third in line to the Throne of Power and that felt nice. But after that strange things started happening. People at the gates of their plush Bandra houses began to look expectantly at me. At first I enjoyed the attention. After all who would not like to the focus of attention of young bachelorettes. But then I realized it was not only the women. People across age groups and genders were looking at me and then it struck me. In some parts of the world like Bandra, cycles are used only for delivering newspapers, ironed clothes and vegetables and groceries. And the people were looking expectantly for their morning newspapers. After some time, I realized that here too ‘Clothes maketh the Man’ but there was a problem. The average dressing quotient of Bandra has come down since I have moved into the vicinity. So I needed something else. And since Action not debate is a part of my genetic buildup now, I went out and bought a biking helmet. And now I cruise along Bandra without a care in the world.
There’s one more reason why I bought the cycle. I think the world I have grown up in has changed and it’s changed for the worse. And I do not want to be the person who leaves his niece a world where she can’t breathe free, where summers are scorching and rains mean floods. The world is becoming hot, flat and crowded as Friedman puts it. And there’s a responsibility that each one of us has towards the future. Someone had said a long time back, we do not inherit the earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.
I came back today morning thinking about more ways of saving energy and in the evening I found my green task of the week. Sometimes things as simple as defrosting your refrigerator can make a hell lot of difference. We went ahead and cleaned up the refrigerator and as we poured the ice on the sink, the transience of it all sank in. The ice cubes in the kitchen sink were melting away slowly, the water levels were rising up, the light was reflecting on the ice cubes, glittering in their mockery of our state of affairs.
I have always held on to some dream in my life. The dreams have changed as I have grown up, learnt to differentiate between a mirage and reality but the single fact that has remained constant is that I have lived my dream, always. And it has always been one dream at a time. Super human powers have not yet been bestowed on to me, you see.
So as of today, I try my level best to ensure my carbon footprint on the planet is minimized and therefore though my dad is livid with my decision of cycling to close by locations, I think it’s better to die chasing your dream than to sit in your couch waiting for your respiratory system to finally give up its fight against the poisonous air that it breathes in.
If one day some careless driver ignores my right of the road and my helmet is no longer enough, let my epitaph be, “He died chasing the Green Dream.”
Is this dream a mirage? Only time will tell. Till then…