Friday, December 29, 2006

On The Road, 36 Miles

The world is round, but life moves in one straight, interminable highway, in the form of a perpetually ongoing marathon. Everybody is running, the rich rubbing shoulders with the poor, the artist with the beggar (often they are one and the same), the priest with the atheist, the man with the woman (how can I forget that?) and so on. There is no discrimination in the marathon: all get their share of the road in the run of -- or, for? -- life.

They are all running at different speeds and are constantly egged on by bystanders as they approach one milestone after the other: ...1999, 2000, 2001, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and now 2007. While they are running, the bystanders throw in goodies: water, eatables, energy bars and what not. Some are lucky to have things thrown directly at their hands, some grab them, the rest keep running, making do with whatever little comes their way -- if at all.

The bystanders are faceless, formless people but they have names: God, Luck, Destiny, Chance, Kismat. If they are kind to you, you are likely to run the race comfortably. But even they can't guarantee if you will reach the finishing point, for the simple reason that there is no specified finishing point for an individual runner. You could drop down at any point, in which case four co-runners will carry you off the road on their shoulders. Then they will return to the road to resume their run.

This is also the only road where sex happens in the open, amid people who are running and in between people who are running (what fun!). A baby is born, which begins its race in the arms of its mothers and then goes on to run on its own tiny feet. Years pass, and the tiny feet grow while in motion (like the feet of the hero in some of the 1970's Hindi movies), and they too join the race in a full-fledged manner.

Since there is no fixed finishing line, who is the winner?

The one who runs 90 miles slowly and steadily without the help of energy bars? The one who runs through the crowd with dazzling speed, forcing others to slow down and look, but who collapses only after 50 miles? Or the one who somehow gets thrust with lot of energy bars that keep him ahread of the rest of the crowd throughout the 70 miles that he runs? Or the one who manages to snatch some energy bars and chocolates and goes on handing them down to the deprived, without bothering how long he is going to sustain the race?

No easy answer to that. It is like asking if for the small New Year party that you are throwing, whether you would prefer the food to be cooked by your mom or by celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor. But the race must go on. And for the race to go on, each runner must consider himself or herself to be the potential winner, if not the winner.

These thoughts came to my mind because I've been running for exactly 36 years now, and yet another milestone is approaching. Have I fared well enough so far to consider myself a potential winner, or am I a loser? Worse, am I just an average guy?


Anonymous said...

Good one as usual!
Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

happy birthday, fellow cappy!

Anonymous said...

very well written..

Anonymous said...

As we get on, the notion of winning and losing comes up at milestones. You can win on your own score keeping and be happy about the race, or you can have others tell you how you are getting on. And BTW, how are you getting on in this race ? Your blogs convey that you dont have many complaints. Check out the timeline for folks how whave taken it all off in their run:

Anonymous said...

Bish that's the my first comment n that comment is at 1.50 am on jan 1, 07 n that comment is without seeing any other blog why i said this bcoz i first typed ur blog as by the ganges without any spaces and i saw many of the things which i put in my recent post..whatever..but as a fellow blogger and as avid reader of ur blog i feel that i must say u happy new year and i am saying this to u now. HAPPY NEW YEAR BISH.

dharmabum said...

"for the simple reason that there is no specified finishing point for an individual runner.

are u sure about that? i mean, even if we are talking about one of your own pet subjects yoga, the end has been quite clearly defined, no?

"Worse, am I just an average guy?"

is it all that bad, being an average guy? imho, i've seen lots in that category - and they seem to fare much better in life, when compared to their 'winner' counterparts.

"The world is round, but life moves in one straight, interminable highway,"

finally, i've heard that life is also round - i mean cyclic, and i am pretty convinced by the logic.

whatever be it, i must tell u that this is one blog i've always enjoyed reading. thank u! among other things, what stands out is your honesty :)

wishing u and ur loved ones a very happy new year and many more to come! may u keep writing more and more!

Anubhuti said...

Mr Ghosh, is being an ordinary guy that bad ?? Anyway, coincidentaly, I read it the first thing on my 34th.
Your old posts echo my mental condition to some extent, by that logic, at 42, I should be like you. nahi ?

Anonymous said...


This one is really worth picking up at random to go through..your spiritual face is it... with your favorite scent in it ...questions were raised way back in 2006... did u get an answer..I feel you are a steady runner and a winner by default with inquisitive onlookers like me