Written 3 weeks ago, Posted today
Getting ready for and going to office is a daily ritual that many of us perform. I too go through this ritual every workday morning. After having a sufficiently nutritious breakfast prepared by my mother, I leave for office. I pack the water, ask the Gods for blessings, get blessed and wished good luck by my parents, and then set off. If my timing is correct, I get the office car. Otherwise, I go the full distance by 'shuttle-taxi' (or 'share-taxi', depending on what one calls it). This particular mode of transport is usually co-habited by others of my species. By this, I denote the young people working in software, hardware and other '-ware’ offices in Sector 5, Salt Lake of Kolkata. Most of us Sectorus Fivus people are doing similar jobs. Almost always, we are similarly dressed. It’s almost as if we belong to different regiments going to the same battle. But even in this uniform setting, which could have been a perfect stimulant for conversation, there is usually a pregnant silence in the car. If we find someone from our own office, we instantly start talking to fill this void.
Speaking of battle, the phrase "getting ready for battle" might seem a little bit out of place today. But a thousand years ago, what with all the wars that littered our history texts, it would have been a commonplace thing. I can imagine the soldier setting off for battle. He would have shined his armour, much as we shine our shoes today. Then after having his morning meal, he would have been wished goodbye by his mother or wife. Their main concern would be his safe return. If the country won, it was good. For that increased the chances of the soldier returning home.
The soldier then would have set off towards the battlefield. On some days, he would be fortunate to catch his battalion's procession. After that, it would be a fun walk or ride, bantering along with his friends. On other days, he would be forced to travel along with soldiers of other regiments. And for some strange reason, the mood would not be as jovial. The cavalry would not talk with the archers, and the archers would smirk at the pikemen. And the pikemen would crack ‘arrow-bearer’ jokes within themselves, highlighting the imagined oddities of the archers. In the end, no one would talk with each other.
Coming back to my case, recently Kolkata received a lot of rain. As usual, our area was completely waterlogged. This resulted in my going to office wearing bermudas and chappals. Of course, once I was in office, I changed into the official 'armour'. People living in areas, where the drainage system is not up to the 'standards' of our locality, could not boast of similar exploits. And my voyages on land and water became the talking point among colleagues and relatives.
On such days, comparing myself with a common soldier of yore would not be appropriate. On those days, I felt like Arjuna, the main hero of the battle. It was feeling very similar to being "on top of the world".
PS : Between the time I wrote this piece and posted it here (a good 3 weeks), I have had quite a few interesting conversations on board the shuttle. So I should not complain anymore. If only all things got solved so easily!!!