Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Indian Masala Mix

I have been intently reading 'Being Indian' by Pavan Verma. Absolutely brilliant book, but more about that later. I noticed something on the road on which I been traveling twice a day for the past five years. Never noticed this in all these years. Maybe Pavan Verma has sensitized me about some things uniquely Indian in a way that I now notice these. Firstly, note the temple and the wine shop coexisting peacefully as neighbours. Next, note the nice arrangement made for crossing the road. Now, now, wait. What was the purpose of putting up the metal railing on the road divider? To ostensibly prevent the pedestrians from crossing the road which has pretty fast traffic (by Pune standards definitely). But then, wont the railing be such a great inconvenience to devout partrons of the shop? They would then have to walk about 300 mt. more and go in a roundabout way to get to their favourite daily dose. Hence this very convenient arrangement. The drivers would never mind (they are used to pedestrians suddenly appearing out of nowhere in front of their windscreens anyway!), the pedestrians are of course more than happy, the shopkeeper is smiling, and I am sure the Gods have no objection too. Pavan Varma is absolutely right when he speaks about the ambivalence of Indians and our ability to 'muddle our way to a critical equilibrium'.
I would simply like to quote Pavan Varma here
"A critical equilibrium combining several factors has to be in place for nations of the complexity and size of India to appraoch the take-off stage in the right direction for a journey that can be expected to be relatively stable." Well said.

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