Comment, Satire

Collaborative collapse

Every time I step out on to the street in Mumbai my inner sociologist marvels.

A city teeming with people in every nook and corner, Mumbai has much to offer to the observant eye. I am, however, going to focus once again on the traffic in the city. Only this time I want to share what it tells me about the prevalent individual and collective mindset.

The first thing one sees in the city is the lets-get-this-done attitude which many before me have witnessed. This is evident in the scores of people pouring onto the streets to get to work even when it is, literally, pouring outside.

As someone who has grown up in Mumbai I find the level of rage on every other face on the roads, however, alarming. This is because such a collective attitude can result in a total breakdown of law and order.

And it does. It is evident in the screeching cacophony of car horns on a road where traffic has not moved for hours. It is seen in the critical mass of people needed for an individual to safely cross the road. It is visible in the crass consumerism abundant in the city as the country rediscovers its wealth after the shattering  economic impact of colonization and decolonization.

But most frightening, and criminologically engaging, is the blatant disregard for any rules that inconveniences an individual, rich or poor. Almost everyone turns a blind eye to the traffic signals, crossing the road can occasionally turn into mudslinging matches between drivers and pedestrians and the mob appears to cherish a chance to display its might.

Its almost as if every individual has signed a social contract with the state to disregard the law in return for its protection.

Excuse the deliberate, alternate application of Thomas Hobbes’ ideas,will you?

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Canada calling…destination Toronto

The beautiful city of Toronto. #torontobynight
The beautiful city of Toronto. #torontobynight

The reason I haven’t written and no, this isn’t good old procrastination is because I’ve moved to a new city. As a student at the University of Toronto, I now live in as the name of the university suggests Toronto, Ontario, Canada. If you looked into the archives though, you would find that the last post was published in August its November now and I apologize to those kind enough to read this blog.

Being a university student has taught me a few things, but I’ll talk about that later. Mostly I hoped that God and my marginally improved time management skills ensure that I keep updating this blog regularly, since this is the only piece of writing I do now that’s not for class. Across the world many suffering souls i.e. other university students will empathize.

Now, for the big cliché reveal- A few things university has taught me:

  1. Living with a room mate is not as easy and fun as the wise-ones-before-us-say. Even if one has a room mate one actually talks to, one misses the privacy of one’s own space. And the embarrassing walk-ins on the aforementioned room mate and a (possibly) significant other become a fact of life. Rather like the sun rising in the east.
  2. Being a nerd doesn’t lead to expulsion from the rest of the (un)civilized society. In fact it helps maintain those three massively important letters G P A.
  3. Talking about politics (global or local) isn’t considered alien; it can bore others if done all the time. But I suppose that is applicable to anything in life.
  4. A Bathroom Battle Strategy is necessary when one shares a bathroom with forty-seven other people. Beware of the basins and commodes on a Saturday/ Sunday morning or even a very late Friday night.
  5. The library may well become one’s new home, in which case one wonders why one is paying those expensive residence fees. The libraries at the University of Toronto are mostly gorgeous, peaceful environments so no complaints there.
  6. The threat of that mountain of work that they warned us about yes, that’s very real and can be quite demoralizing. Best to work on those time management skills or pay the price.
  7. They also mentioned that the cafeteria food will be terrible, repetitive and make one want to vomit. The last one may be an exaggeration, but point taken. In fact these days my happy expressions closely resemble my I-just-escaped-the-caf face.
  8. Sex is everywhere. People are talking about it or, quite literally “doing it”. Refreshingly though, nobody’s hiding it.
  9. People get drunk routinely (read: frat parties, house parties, college parties), which makes one want to avoid the bathrooms on the weekends. Sadly one can’t. Kudos to those party-hard people who actually make it to class, and through term assignments successfully.
  10. There are lots of activities to pursue from simply the gym to the countless clubs. Don’t worry about getting healthy that automatically happens from all that power walking one does to reach class on time and courtesy of all that sacrificed caf food. Fair warning though; although many things seem appealing one won’t be able to it all.

I won’t be mentioned the crashing averages, because everyone out there ( genius, stupid, average) has already suffered those. No point increasing grief in an already grieving world.