Just came back from a post-dinner stroll in the lush green campus of the Bank colony. It has now become a daily routine to hit the turf after supper. The advantages are many. The food gets easily digested, one finds an excuse for not being able to exercise, like I-prefer-walking-to-lifting kind of thing. Now, that is a perfect veil for the real objective! Indulgence in some “innocent” gossip and gathering as much information as possible for the next round of gossip. I normally tread upon the road that cuts straight from the main road that runs in front of our colony and winds through four blocks of apartments categorized by the designation of the occupant. This evening I was following the familiar path alone as my fellow walkers were busy somewhere else. I saw a group of my senior colleague’s do the same and changed my way into the lush green playground to avoid any kind of conversation. It really seems awkward to greet each one of them separately. It’s not that I am shy or a complete stranger, it’s just that I am a bit familiar to most of them, as the bank is a small fraternity in itself.
In the beginning, my pace was brisk as the only thing that was on my mind was speeding up the churning of the muscles of my stomach which otherwise have become slower, thanks to the nature of my job. Slowly, my eyes started to wander from the lawn to the flats and to the cars plying on the road. It wasn’t too late that I realized that I have slowed down. My thought process took me to a somewhat unpleasant incident that had happened in my branch in the morning. One of my colleagues got a firm grilling from the branch head due to the callous attitude of another fellow. I realized that playing the blame game comes quite naturally to many of us, and how tactfully we stifle the voice of our own conscience. My attention then moved towards two young ladies dressed up in tracksuits and sweating on the treadmill of the community gymnasium, and again a cascade of thoughts flowed through my mind. I was reminded of the recent surge in the fitness industry that has slowly grown into a USD 1.2 billion mammoth in the span of a decade. The desire for that “perfect” body among young girls and boys has been fuelling the industry. Availability of online coaching, loads of information on diet and exercise on the internet and the sculptured bodies of fitness models on Instagram have all helped the industry to flourish. Besides, it has generated employment avenues for a lot many. The area wherein I am put up has some ten gymnasiums spread over a radius of just one kilometer. Well, that’s good! I thought the fad had vanished in the same manner as it had come.
In the very next moment, my imagination flew me some thousand miles to my home, to my parents. I, then, analyzed my relationship with my parents. Throughout my childhood and teenage, my love for my parents was grounded on my dependence upon them for my overall growth and survival. The sense of ownership over parents develops during the formative period of one’s life. As a teenager, I would often, argue with my parents over trivial issues without feeling bad. I would throw tantrums at them push my demands and do anything and everything that qualifies as the right of a child, or assumed. But in the last five years, the basis of my relationship with my parents has undergone a sea change. A sense of responsibility towards them, a realization that even at this age, I need them as a safe haven when winds are hostile and a feeling of love have all replaced the rebel child that I have talked of before. I now realize that my existence is impossible without them and my kid sister. Well, that’s why perhaps I have applied for a transfer to my hometown to the shock of some of my ambitious friends who believe that this is the age to rise and shine in a career. They are finally disgusted with me as all their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. I then drew up a list of things which I must do for my parents. A BMW X6, a world tour, a house by the seaside in Puri. The list is long. I do this every day, writing my wish list in a diary. Aah! As Mr. Coelho, has put it, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
The buzzing of my cell phone brought me back to the campus and I saw an SMS alert, an advertisement message from my service provider. These days the service industry has undergone a visible transformation from self-centric to customer-centric. All that remains is the motive of all hard efforts, i.e. profit. I, myself being in the service industry, am a victim of the wave of “consumerism”, that at times leaves me with tired nerves. We make every possible effort to snatch away any opportunity of business from our rivals. Plans, strategies, and closed-door meetings have become a part of our lives. Aggressive marketing, at times, irritates the customer than draw him closer. Busy people howling over their phones at the poor Telecallers is not an uncommon sight, is it?! At times, these sorry souls, forced to face the brunt of this aggressive marketing, are victims of customer’s unintentional verbal abuse – something for the service providers to consider (?!) whereas a simple denial or, “Not interested” may work as a substitute. Something to look into the aggressive marketing strategies (?!)
The feel of fatigue in my calves that had resulted due to the accumulation of lactic acid in my leg muscles made me put a stop at my post-dinner walk. A glance at my mobile told me that I had been walking for some three-quarters of an hour. I started walking back towards my apartment. While on the way I spotted the 220cc Pulsar which belonged to one of my colleagues. He is notorious in the fraternity for wheezing above 100mph, without a helmet! Deep within, I had always admired him. Not because he is reckless, but because he has the courage to be reckless. I realized that my acquaintances are partying. I stay just below their flat and I had no clue! This wasn’t much of an issue since I have always detested loud music, booze and the strong undercurrent of emotions that follow.
Having said that, it’s two past eleven, and I should call it a day. Goodnight and sweet dreams!
Illustration Credits: Kajal Sakore