What Lies Ahead?
There is no better test of my concentration than the loud music blasting from loudspeakers as tall as the average Indian male. Sound waves bounce off the walls of the tiny room, cutting through thin one layered brick walls, reverberating nerve cells making them dance. But I plod on with my work. With my task. Under the dim glow of this table lamp procured from the subway leading to Churchgate station. Bargained for a princely sum of 100 bucks from Mohan the guy from Moradabad who runs a successful enterprise of electronics made in China. His lamps and other wares stop hurrying commuters in their tracks. They take a moment to stand and stare, daring to miss their 734 BO Fast. They avoid the puddles formed by the leaky roof (deep potholes?) as they look in awe at the lamps and also at the toys for adults on display.
What is this task, you may wonder, that keeps me from joining the thin crowd outside my window gyrating to the sounds of Koli music. Of course, in the land of Bollywood, it is the music in pockets of the slums, chawls, mohallahs not dominated by migrants from UPBihar, that underscores the (now seemingly) tenuous link that the Kolis share with their land. The task is not complicated but it requires dedicated concentration nevertheless. It is the process of sculpting what lies ahead. Is that even possible? Perhaps not. But no one died trying. Or something like that.
Who am I to decide what lies ahead, you may wonder. Of course, indeed, really. No no, you are right. What power does man hold over what lies ahead? Pertinent question. Perhaps uttered in the rhetoric sense. Maybe. But I’ll answer it anyway. What is future but the outcome of one’s actions, isn’t it? How would you reach a place if you didn't walk towards it? If you just sat there, typing away prose that nobody would read. What lies ahead, nobody knows. Nope, not even Daruwalla. Not even those twinkling (dead?) stars.
But.. but, is everything then predecided, predetermined, programmed as they say in this Brave New World? Or is Karma at play? Today determines tomorrow but tomorrow never comes. If things were set, written on your forehead (with invisible ink?) when you entered this world causing much consternation and pain to your biological mother, then the trick would be to decode the cipher. To find the keyword that would unlock the mystery to what lies ahead. Sure, the time of my birth holds the key you may yell, clutching the Kundali chart made by a priest who wouldn’t be able to tell Pluto from Uranus. Now don’t you say Pluto is not a planet anymore, you are probably right but it does have a heart (hail New Horizons!).
Although if you have reached so far. Then you must have safely concluded that this is the kind of writing that they include in English Comprehension sections of the CAT and I am the kind of writer, who is cursed by millions of future Managers of the Corporate World subjected to the torture of figuring out — the central idea of the above passage.
So let me lay it down for you. I don't think there exists a script. Not for you, not for me, not even for the monsoons (thanks a lot, El Nino). Laws of Motion apply. See why hanging around apple orchards is good, I recommend the ones in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh. Success is directly proportional to effort and hunger drives the world. Ergo, even as the Koli songs give away to Honey Singh, I must resume sculpting, I must chip away slowly and patiently. Smoothen the sharp edges and polish the rough surfaces. Who knows if my work will live like the Gandhara statues of the Moustachioed Buddha or whether it will be crushed mercilessly like others? Yep, you said it — no one knows. Full marks.