I am trying to find out my purpose in life.
Circumstances of my birth are never happy events that I remember. I mean, I have never hankered to see the real world.
I have been happy, cocooned in maternal concrete , cementing my ties with those around, just ordinary middle class entities in a subterranean world. Wires and cables, meandering around, minding their own business, and well meaning telephone cables carrying on their preassigned work. It does get crowded at times with the big ones that sit deeper and direct water and other unmentionables around, but then that's life. But we folks, try and keep away from these folks who are important.
It has become difficult in a place like Mumbai, to remain subterranean. I mean think of the huge heavy loaded fourwheelers at signal junctions, pressing down on us till the get the green sign. Big buses, trucks, and so many cars trying to be big. It becomes intolerable, and someone like me has to finally emerge into the fresh air.
That's when all the trouble begins. I cannot tell you how much it hurts to have radial tyres run roughshod over you. Just when you think it is over, there appears out of the blue (it is now visible to me , you know) , a huge long transporter thing, with sixteen wheels bearing down on me. Sometimes it is a red bus, with its weight increased several times over thanks to people hanging all over it, through doors.
Of course, my injuries run deeper in the course of time, fractures, festering hurts and cracks, and occasionally someone will organize a pothole doctor to come and check me out.
Thanks to all the lax controls in our country over medicines , someone gets down to examining and operating on me, and fills me up. The world knows about it via the various red ribbons, banged up cylindrical containers and sticks organized around the operation area, and the pervading smell of tar. Most of the time, someone crushes gravel and stone and tries to fix my injuries.
When no one is watching, they certify me fine. (I wonder from where they learn to do that).
Once again, but this time with scar tissue, I occupy my place in the scheme of things.
The trouble starts when it rains. In my earlier original subterranean life, my environment would suddenly cool down underground, and I would hear gushing flowing noises of the storm water drains. Today, I am permanently sick and handicapped . Sick, because, water runs across all the scar tissue, dissolving things, and creating holes again. Some of it even sits for days, and I have to bear radial tyres thumping through the holes, bikers speeding through it , and when all is quiet (which it never is in Mumbai) there are these mosquitoes, who come for a diesel laced nightcap and have a buzzing time.
The same doctors, the same obsolete banned medication, and the same traffic running unconcerned over me, even before I have healed. The scar tissue gets worse and worse, lumpy adhesions are formed , infections set in, and I think back to the old days, when the road was somewhere else, the traffic was lesser and more orderly, there were often trees by the side , and my problems were treated in a simple yet better manner.
Today treating me has become a business. The doctors even declare me as fit when I am not. Someone even tried to put my photo on Facebook, but I ended up getting spam from some doctors who had something against me. I am even considered glamorous. Someone even made some plastic fake pothole prints , and spread the sheet over some perfectly good roads to teach the vehicle owners a lesson in driving carefully.
I have now become older and philosophical. I know my health is going to get worse and worse. The impending monsoon does not inspire any sense of security. This city keeps on adding thousands of vehicles every day, without checking if folks like me are healthy enough . Parts of me are atrophying. Sometimes I meet other atrophying potholes, and they have the same story to tell. Sometimes I almost die.
Sometimes I feel, we potholes are female. So much physical abuse, so much of pointing fingers, so much unconcern for our health, and simply no action on fake stuff used to treat us, unlike expensive stuff used for a slight scratch of the face of an expensive road. It is not simply by chance that we affected potholes gravitate towards each other, sharing the water and the stories . Once every year proclamations are made about how someone is going to be taking care of us, and addressing our woes before the rains. Just like they are in the habit of proclaiming so many new National Days these days.
Which brings me to reincarnation. I never used to believe in it.
I had heard about the life system of dying and constantly being reborn as something else, and getting stuck in the cycle of life and death. And luck was with those who got a release from this life-death-reincarnate cycle , and obtained freedom for the Soul . Moksh.
I keep getting sick, dying, and then I keep getting reincarnated as another pothole. Perhaps the place changes. But I never reincarnate as something else.
Please. I don't ask to be reincarnated as a powerful leader, or a lion or tiger, or even a popular actor or actress. I don't want to be reincarnated even as a mango tree in summer, or as saffron in Kashmir. Or as a beautiful rose bush in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
All I ask is an escape from being reincarnated again and again as a pothole , a deliverance from the devil contractors and hand-in-glove municipal types.
Reincarnate me as a bird, that flies high on the skywalk at the junction, and watches the erstwhile pothole from there.
I will have then attained my Moksh.........