I received a ‘missed call’ from the driver, something he does every day when he reaches my place and that indicates the cab is ready. I completed my lunch, grabbed my bag and ran down the stairs. It was drizzling but that shouldn’t matter as I have a cab to get to work. I reached the gate and was looking out at the cab that was parked on the other side of the road. All I have to do is cross the road and get in. Driver was waving to help me locate him. I saw him there already; he parks his cab right opposite the gate all the time, in the very same spot. I guess I was hoping for something else. I wished he turned around and came right in front of the gate, so that I can get into the cab without those few rain drops falling on my head and shoulders. If I can keep dry till I get into the cab, am safe until I reach my office and back.
Isn’t getting drenched in rain fun? Of course it is. All the more if it is in first few rains of the monsoon. Well, if it’s on the way to work, how damaging can a few drops be? Nil. Was I the same a few years ago? No. What has changed? Is it the rain or me? Obviously it has to be me. But why? That is a very big question!
A few years back when I rode to work on my bike, rain has never bothered me. It was hardly a point to consider before starting to work. May be a little consideration; to help me carry the windcheater or jerkin and that’s it. Calling in late or taking a leave was not even an option. I used to ride for about an hour without stopping in bus stops or under the trees on the road side. Or, maybe once for a hot cup of chai, if I had company. If I can reach office, it’s as good as the work day was over. Getting completely drenched was very common for all my friends as well. Yes, not just the shoulders or head (I always wore a helmet though) but top to bottom, inside-outside and deep under. We still used to be ready for next day with the same energy and enthusiasm.
When I got into the cab, closed all windows, turned on AC, spared an ear to the latest movie album tracks and funny gags on Radio Mirchi softly playing in the cab stereo, I was wondering what has changed in these few years. I mentioned this point-worth-pondering with colleagues at work and we were all smiling and exchanging stories of what all we could happily do without a second thought a few years ago. We also admitted that we are not game for many of those ‘feats’ now, not knowing the reasons of course. Or at least, there is a second thought.
One says it’s the corporate life and shift changes that have put us in this place. Another says it’s the food habits and ‘city life’ meaning pollution and stuff(?). One more says we can still be the same, but only sparingly. Who would say no to a road trip to Srisailam on bikes? But how many are willing to ride to office in rain every day? There is a difference and equal ambiguity too. I don’t say it’s better or worse than before; I just say it’s different.
Anyways, what do YOU think has changed? And how have YOU changed, if at all you did.