In the human world…
A usual start of the day in the city of Pune means, that I finish with a few household chores; exercise; get ready and leave for work on a two wheeler- the official ride of all Punekars. I have almost mastered the tricky art of steering my two wheeler across the bumpy road; staying clear off gaping potholes; skilfully manoeuvring the machine through a maze of seemingly myopic pedestrians and reckless riders who have no regard whatsoever for traffic signals or rules! The never-ending commotion and the constant mad rush that exists; makes Pune roads dangerously chaotic and unsafe.
A ride no less hair-raising than a roller-coaster takes me to my workplace; which is a dental clinic located about fifteen minutes away from my home; only to receive a cold greeting from my assistant. Her troubled face tells me something’s amiss. On enquiring, I am informed that the residents in the neighbouring houses have littered the empty space in front of the clinic; yet again. I have till now; made several failed attempts to counsel the residents in my neighbourhood and make them aware of public health and hygiene. Today is no different. Upon confronting them, they deny having thrown the garbage. Fuming, I come back to my clinic.
Meanwhile, a patient who has undergone a minor dental surgery on the previous day is impatiently waiting for me with a grumpy face. He complains that the surgery has worsened his pain instead of relieving it. I calmly explain to him; that having a post-operative pain is but natural; and it would definitely reduce within a day or two. Unconvinced and still grumbling, he leaves the clinic.
I finish with the day’s work; and exhausted, leave for home. On the way; I halt at a grocery store to buy milk. Outside the store, I notice a vendor selling balloons. I immediately recognize her as the same ailing vendor that I had found sleeping on the pavement a couple of days ago. I had felt sorry for her back then; and bought her some food. Today, I’m happy to see her in excellent health. Apparently, she hasn’t yet noticed me looking at her. I buy some groceries, come out of the store and head for my two- wheeler. It is now, that the vendor takes a notice of my presence; and begs for some food; pretending to be sick! I refuse politely; though feeling inwardly annoyed with her pretentious behaviour.
I get back on my two wheeler, reach home and finally sink into my bean bag. Listlessly, I pick up a newspaper lying on the couch. The very first page screams an unfortunate piece of news about a teenage boy having committed suicide after a minor row with parents over his exam performance. Wearily, I put the unpleasant piece of paper away; and drown into a deep slumber!
In a parallel world…
There are two places that usually help me gear up for a long, weary workday- one is a tiny garden in my balcony; the other is the sports complex building near my home that houses a magnificent swimming pool. While I’m in my garden getting rejuvenated and preparing myself for the battle ahead, I notice an army of ants marching up the walls of the balcony. Despite the fact that there is no dearth of space around; the ants crawl extremely systematically; one after the other; careful not to break the queue.
The master architect- a spider- is already at work, weaving an intricately beautiful web across the branches of a hibiscus plant.
Somewhere down in the lawn near the parking lot, a cat is busy answering nature’s call. After it has finished; it leaves; but not before it has wiped out all traces of the mess; meticulously covering it up with fresh soil until it is completely buried under the ground!
Meanwhile, my own cat who’s been injured; has to undergo a painful dressing change. Despite the agonizing procedure; it rubs its head against my palm in a friendly sort of a way; as though knowing that I only have its best interests in my heart.
After a while; I decide to go for a swim at the sports complex near my house. Here, I meet a large ginger tom cat whom I’d found to be in distress a few days ago. I remember having fed the cat with some milk and a few biscuits that I had bought from a nearby store. The cat immediately recognizes me; greets me with a friendly ‘meaow’ and a contented purr and silently walks away; asking for no more!
I return home to get ready for work. While I take another lazy stroll in my balcony garden sipping my coffee; I notice that the painstakingly woven web has been torn apart probably by a violent breeze. The master weaver however; has determinedly set to work yet again; without a slightest trace of dejection.
Somewhere amid the cruel, greedy, undisciplined human world with all its negativity; exists this parallel realm; that I come to relate to more and more; by each passing day… A world where fiercest of predators have been seen to show tenderness and compassion that is beyond humane; a world where its inhabitants do not need to be taught the importance of protecting and preserving nature’s bounties... A kingdom with no monarch to impose a set of laws to be obeyed; but where its citizens do so dutifully, on their own accord! A world where genuine trust, unceasing belief and unconditional love still reign despite hostility!
As we humans continue to proudly acknowledge ourselves as a civilization, I smile at the irony!