For my work, I have to commute between two hospitals situated at a distance of kms. So I enjoy a commute of about 2-3 hours on the National Highway every alternate day. Most of my time is evenly distributed between the various apps on my phone. But on some rare occasions when either my battery or my jio data have unceremoniously died, I am left with no option but to explore the options available to the first men. I talk to my driver, listen to his tales. But when the most important topic of the hour ” The game of Votes” weighs me down, I turn around to see the tales of the road.
I look at trucks, their beautiful ornamentation and their catchy slogans as I pass them on the road. These drivers who live almost a nomadic life have stories of strength, solidarity and hope to share as they travel through realms of our glorious country. Listening to their spirited talks at dhabas provides a more uplifting scenario of the current world we are living in, than reading all these horrific newspaper sell their gory stories.
I look at swanky cars zoom past me, the fancy Lords of automobile. A thing of beauty, it definitely is. But is it joy forever? I wonder. A pleasure to the eyes; but if you chance to hear a noble man sitting inside the luxury wagon cursing the poor man at the toll gate for a momentary delay, chances are your ears will turn sore.
I look at two middle aged haryanvi ladies talking incessantly as the meticously hold their seats in an open tempo. ‘They are definitely bickering about their daughter in laws’ points out my cheerful young driver. This is one topic which binds women of all faith and classes.
I sometimes find the carefree youths of my country driving past their jeeps with blaring Punjabi music to a holiday in the hills. I sometimes look at families, young and old travelling to a getaway or a family function far away. I imagine their chatter, their games, their disputes when all the elders and children are bound together atop this mobile home. Sometimes I see the special customised bike zoom past me and feel my own adrenaline shoot up.
I see labourers toiling on the road, farmers working hard in their fields and army men sitting atop open end trucks with the blazing Sun smiling on them. I am reminded of ‘Jai jawan Jai Kisan’. While I sit in my air conditioned car and drive swiftly pass them I wonder whether the glorious era of ‘Mere desh ki miti’ has been wiped out. We have created concrete jungles which face incessant dust storms at least once a fortnight. But these glorious humble warriors of my country, the labourers working on the road, the farmers working on their harvest and my army brothers working on their lives, smile at all the adversity.
Do we no longer care about our humble farmers and humble soldiers. The essence of India lies in our fields and our mountains which are being harvested and protected by these humble beings.
I believe, we the common folk, marching on the tunes of urbanisation, try to do our best to express our gratitude to them. The whole country rallied behind our protectors during the CRPF attacks and I personally know peons in my office who came forward to donate even 10 rupees to the cause. I know of some local apps who are delivering fruits and vegetables directly from the farms providing a fair price to my ‘anndata’, eliminating the system of middle man.
As a country rapidly developing, we are all trying hard to hold on to our roots. Without our roots, we are nothing. The strongest and the largest tree, The banyan tree, has strong old roots burying deep in the ground. Some of it’s root spring forth from its branches. That is the secret of it’s longevity. Similarly we need to truely embrace our ancient roots. Otherwise our success will be a short lived story.
The roads and their tales refresh me from my mundane city life. Like Netflix, it provides a showcase of various lives, some fancy; others not so fancy, but each is special, has its own destination; but they all travel alongside on the same road.