Privilege


In recent times, privilege has been branded as a word to describe to Whites. The use of the word is many a times justified, but I am not the judge of that. I am not perceptive enough to pick out subtle race differences, to spot the minorities. I am not writing a post about racism, nothing has warranted it. But now, I have  a taste of privilege.

 


 

Last night, after a hilarious evening with some friends I took the midnight bus home. I didn’t want to read a book. I sat with music reverberating in my ears and looked around. For the midnight bus, there were still a lot of people riding home. Auckland doesn’t sleep either. I saw faces mirroring mine: tired, sleepy and listening to music than talk to each other. The only sound was the roar of the engine (which was not much) and chatter of a couple. I raced my brain to draw some inspiration in the scene, to get inspired and write a fictional story from the dark passage home but I couldn’t. How could I?

 


 

We all are going somewhere. One station at a time #train #blacknwhite #auckland

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Feb 29, 2016 at 10:26pm PST

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

On my way to work in train, I was reading a collection of personal essays. I was mundane, another commuter more engrossed in his phone or his book than to observe people or talk to people. This changed until the person next to me took out a novel. Her interests and mine were different, I read novels for fun and she read because of curiosity, which was now focused on understanding New Zealand’s aboriginals Maoris. I could see her interests in tracing Maori philosophical & cultural roots

In my time in Auckland, Maoris look physically big, scary. It is difficult to comprehend their accent their sense of humor is eclectic, only to be understood by them. After I actually got to know a few of them, I can say now they are simple-minded and enthusiastic about everything. (Exclude a gregarious roommate I had in my previous home)

We spoke first about Maori culture, I already knew a little about their mythologies as I have read some novels. I don’t know everything about them after reading a couple of novels. On the other hand, she is trying to understand the customs, their drive. She said she could draw many parallels between her Buddhist practices and Maori practices. One peculiar custom we spoke of related to their ‘Mana'(or in how I could understand the term: respect) is when a person wronged and their Mana been damaged, the same person must restore their Mana by damaging the perpetrator’s Mana. From my sessions in my University’s debate society, I know there is a property law founded on the same principle.

However, we quickly moved on from books and spoke about the city life, which is lonely as compared to rural life, rife with communities and mutual care. She said that she is trying to help out in her own way to take care of the surroundings, to give back to the country she is staying in and trying to understand the wealth gap existing particularly in Auckland. She mentioned that she feels privileged to have enough food, shelter and livelihood.

 


 

If you ever ask any foreign national to describe India, or Mumbai specifically, they will say it is very poor. She said the same thing while reminiscing her last trip to Mumbai. She was torn at the sight of so many poor people living without basic amenities. I wanted to tell her that she was a magnet for all the beggars as she had dollars. The heartlessness of my own words shamed me. Our conversation had quickly moved on from Maori culture to the poverty prevalent in my home city, the intensity of our conversation didn’t. As for the homeless in Auckland, I could say I have seen worse. Became immunized to worse conditions.

Probably why I never complain about buses running late in the city, as I have traveled buses which were running with a joke of timetable in my hometown. Why I never complain about the traffic or for that matter the standard of living here as I know it is four times what I was used to. And I am still scrapping the end of the barrel here.

When we spoke, for me it was very easy to fire up, and be outraged by her pity to call India poor. After all we are improving. However, the truth is we have to fight for basic amenities in India. The biggest of which is, and forever will be, water supply. There is too much in rainy season, too little in summer. I tried to defend my country by quoting Rang De Basanti ‘No country is perfect’ but at the end, I knew she was right. The ceaseless struggle, my city which never sleeps, city I left behind. I moved to a place with better living, with hopes of making a better life.

I have no conclusions to draw from yesterday. Because we never reached a conclusion. Maybe there will never be a conclusion.

Fiction: Characters in Bookworld?


Credits: Buzzfeed Books, FB

 

(I saw this on Facebook and I had to write on this!)

John could see the train coming in the tunnel, the beacon becoming brighter. Newmarket train Station in Auckland was extremely crowded. Considering the station had every line passing through it, it meant it was as important as Britomart Transport Centre. However, John had this stinking feeling that he had been here before even though he had never.

He had seen the train on different stations before too, he could guess he had seen the train driver before. The station masters in their yellow high visibility jacket were standing at the yellow line of the platform to ensure that no one crosses it as the train was almost at the station, a few seconds away. The girl next to him was playing Candy Crush on her iPhone, and his feeling intensified. He had seen that girl before, he just couldn’t recall when. He frowned, trying to remember when had he seen a scene which was so similar, the train light shining down the tunnel, the girl and the people. The loudspeakers boomed saying “Train for Swanson is arriving on platform 1, please stand behind the yellow line”

The wind blew across the station and someone lose their purple scarf. That purple scarf, he thought as it kept flowing and slammed into his face. He knew now, all of this had happened before. He had been here on the station before, seen the Candy Crush playing girl before right here and that scarf had hit him in his face before. Everything had happened before, only it really hadn’t. How? Why?

The train whoozed past him, slowing down and stopped, the door right in front of him. People pressed the green button to open the doors. He just stood there, the purple scarf had tied itself to his neck now and there was someone in his periphery. Another girl, no not a girl this time but an old woman. He realised that the scarf belonged to the woman and he apologised. Untying the scarf he handed it to her and smiled, the old woman smiled back. This was new. He could recollect some of the things which had happened last time. But last time? It was his first time here on the station wasn’t it?

He was no longer sure. He was sure that the previously he entered the train. After that what happened he was not sure. He had an interview to get to but he was too lost in his thoughts. The Candy Crush girl stood near the now opened door, the old woman was making her way to the reserved seats. He knew he had got in the train the last time.

This time, he didn’t want to. So he didn’t and slowly the train doors closed with a beeping sound signalling closing doors. He had just wasted his ticket but he didn’t care. He had a strange feeling that this was bigger than any other job waiting for him.

He knew that his story was written differently. Now it has started fresh.

#7 Last Train


Fiction:

What’s the name? Crude?! That’s messed up. What’s your story? You fell. Okay.

Next. What’s your name? Sophi. You are awfully young. Your story? Female foeticide. Stupid! What’s wrong with this world.

That world, she corrected himself. That world. Past. She left that world fifteen years ago. Fifteen years which seem like fifteen million years. That long it has been. And only way to keep track of passage of time is because of these fresh batch of people.

Fresh batch of dead people. Dead people who come in thousands everyday.

Each with a different story. Fell off a building. Female foeticide. Bomb blast. Electrocuted. And each more gruesome than last. With the people’s souls still tingly with last few moments of life in them. Their agonies. Pain and screams contorting their faces.

A person with weaker heart would have fallen on the ground and sobbed. An alive person at least.

She was not alive. And her heart?! She would laughed at that if she knew how to. Remembered to. So when she boarded the train fifteen years ago, looking like these souls, agonized and sorrowful, she got a job offer. Another person had the job which does now.

She has to conduct the train of dead. Ask souls about their death. Their names and match it with list of incoming dead. Any body extra was probably an intruder trying to steal souls. Or get revenge. Or something superficial.

Death changes one’s perspective. Revenge, stealing seems like such paltry things. Everyone will end up here. Why bother.

She took the job. On one condition.

And she went to next booth.

Name? Hades?! She looked up. He is Hades. Her employer. One who made a deal with. He looked the same. Not a day older. Full in black. Tall and deadly handsome.

Deadly, really deadly.

He sat there with a new girl. Really hot girl. His type. New secretary maybe.

‘My lord?’

‘My dedicated worker. I think this train should be your last. You fulfilled your contract. I will go and find some other soul to do the duties. ‘

And with that he stood and walked out, closing the door on his way out. And the full force of what he said dawned on her.

There she stood, in her last train completing her contract. Means the condition was satiated.  That means…. The girl who looked hot was…. Was, IS her daughter.

(Post idea was from this fiction Post: Upstanding Citizens)

Thanks For Reading
Itsmayurremember

Transiting


( In Transit

Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?)

This post can be taken as a continuation of an earlier post about the train travel experience.

Almost three and a half years of travels via trains,  which could be summed up to about four hours a day. That’s a lot.

When I started my college, everyone said that college is too far,  which they are right,  and I politely replied ‘You get used to the travels.’ You do get used to it,  the train journey becoming an integral part of everyday life. Leaving college according to the train timing and waiting at the edge of station straining to get a glimpse of imminent train. 

Mumbai Local Trains. They make your life.

But my post isn’t about the trains. It’s related to what happened in 2006. (For full story read here and here)

image
File photo of the blast. Image courtesy : http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Forking-Paths-Of-Faith/235136

Those terror attacks changed everything. I mean everything. I admit,  from the first day of my college my parents told me to call them when I reach college.  That habit grew old and I stopped it. But it doesn’t change anything.

Those attacks killed common people,  commuters like me.  Maybe they were returning from jobs or from college and they never reached home. And ever since trains are no longer completely trusted.

Authorities did what they could,  and stations still have metal detectors and emergency ambulances standing by and countless measures were taken but the fear is still there.

When I travel there comes a time when I suddenly notice a rather normal looking Bag. Completely ordinary yet it grabs my attention. And I take eschew glances till someone picks the bag up and departs the train. I sigh in relief,  guilty for mentally accusing a person’s innocuous bag as a means of terror and death.

And I’m not alone in this. I have seen people who form groups and sing pious lauds but are very cautious about the luggage. Every bag that seems to be left out is called out. Mostly at Dadar where the trains halts,  commuters calls for the owners of the bag.

The fear is now ingrained. Every train journey there is a nagging sensation that something can go wrong. And the thought scares me.
At that time people who died, were grievously injured were unaware. And now the vigilance in the trains, portrayed by everyone is some assurance.

Everything else in the trains, like fights and cussing,  the rush to grab a window seat or even the stupid couples standing near the door when the train is empty seems natural. Seems a part of the routine.

But the dread of a mishap is not. Don’t get me wrong,  being wary and vigilant is our responsibility. And I will do the same whenever I travel.

And this is what travel is. A promiscuous mixture of kindness, anxiousness and apprehension.

The four hours of life.

Let’s see what others have written :

no parking
http://randomactsofsnark.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/in-transit/
http://lewellynhughes.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/traveling-with-strangers/
http://alightningbug.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/life-in-transit/
http://aerretha.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/oh-joy/
http://quotosphere.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/363/
http://betterbloggingat.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/in-transit/
http://privyperspective.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/on-fainting-in-a-train-station/
http://musingsfrommyid.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/in-transit/
http://ripplesnreflectiontimes.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/in-transit/
http://notstargirl.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/noisy-thoughts-on-a-train-station/
http://thedarkerandshadier.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/last-train-to-home/
http://debrabooks.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/at-the-gare-st-charles-in-marseilles-france/
http://macbofisbil.com/2014/10/07/airport-panic/
http://grieflessons.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/3576/
http://geletilari.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/rush-hour/
http://conqueringanthropophobia.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/beyond-the-subway-tracks/
http://myauthoritis.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/terminal-illness/
A Yellow Tale: part ii
http://20000milesandcounting.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/daily-prompt/
http://thejournalofabeautifulmind.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/in-transit-daily-prompt/
http://jaynesdailypost.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-transit/
http://thelarksroost.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/132/
My Secret Thoughts!

Support the GLCC During National Coming Out Week


http://positivatude.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/love-actually-is-all-around/
http://wileyschmidt.com/2014/10/06/everything-in-transit/
http://dailymusing57.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-transit-daily-prompt/
http://eastelmhurstagogo.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/1296/
http://fcmiller3.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/train-stops/
http://pigeoneyeball.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-transit/
http://ungiornonellavita.com/2014/10/06/daily-prompt-in-transit/
http://spadethought.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/transportation/
http://ledrakenoir.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/hello-goodbye/
http://jayhouse.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/train-of-thought/
http://corinthialynne.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/the-daily-post-in-transit/
http://djgarcia94.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/crossed-paths/
http://tidlidim.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/daily-prompt-in-transit/

Moving People


http://worldwidesoulmate.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/writing-101-lost-and-found-forget-me-not-2/
http://camembertandchocolate.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/canned-sardines/
http://thegadabouttown.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/sick-transit-gloria-on-a-monday/
http://traversinglines.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/i-am-just-another-zombie-til-you-said-hello/
http://colourunabridged.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/accidentally-sincerely-yours-2/
http://mojowritin.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/connect/
http://melearningoutloud.com/2014/10/06/disney-princess-philosophy/
http://msbstories.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/eternal-terminal-airport-to-the-afterlife/
http://waywordness.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/silent-movies/
http://alotfromlydia.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/okay-i-know/
http://grieflessons.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/hard-transit/
http://moosha23.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-transit/
http://philosaic.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/transition/
http://steve-says.net/2014/10/06/id-never-had-one-that-big-before/
http://yzhengblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/train-rides/
http://petrd1.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/a-tale-of-two-bus-stops/
http://bobbeck1600.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/daily-prompt-in-transit/
http://emotionalfitnesstraining.com/2014/10/06/how-to-get-more-emotionally-fit-an-online-course/
http://ajustmanishardtofind.com/2014/10/06/eau-de-new-york/
http://unravel286.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/the-daily-post-2/
http://flowersandbreezes.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-transit/
http://oartheboat.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/an-airport-is/
http://psibrone.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/the-world-moves-on/
http://katespencer17.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/heartprints/
http://emo1956.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-transit-in-a-transit-van-why-do-these-things-always-happen-to-me/
http://lifeisgreat0.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/running-fast/
http://worddisorder.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/inspiration-comes-in-many-different-places/
http://vid00shak.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/joy-of-giving-in-a-metro/
http://jaysiphonesnaps.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/somewhere-to-be/
http://cartervail.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/daily-prompt-crossing-paths/
http://rustyiam.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/transiticity/
http://greenlegs7.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/a-sea-of-asters/
World’s Best Teleportation Device

http://jaysnaps.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/most-transitatious/
http://stuffenonsense.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-transit/
http://alisha3cats.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/stuff-to-do-when-youre-bored-on-the-subway/
http://joatmon14.com/2014/08/04/this-time/
http://oh3za.com/2014/10/06/in-transit/
Hanging out at the train station
http://theodorazheng.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-transit-throwback-monday/
http://jenbrunett.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/morning-state-of-mind/
http://pippakinclawz.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/daily-post-in-transit/
http://threepsandq.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/prompt-in-transit/
http://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/a-very-knotty-problem/
http://sweattearsanddigitalink.com/2014/06/08/snippet-sunday-8614/
Daily Prompt: In Transit – in Switzerland
http://avatarofmrbean.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/ps-woes-with-customs-lest-he-forgets/
http://shawnwingsit.com/transit-ever-ridden-nyc-subway/
http://underthemonkeytree.com/2014/10/06/does-moving-count/
http://allthingscuteandbeautiful.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/daily-prompt-being-magical-3/
http://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/waiting/
http://kindlingword.com/2014/06/04/the-days-of-our-lives/
http://trablogger.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/my-love-affair-with-indian-railway/
http://youaintspecial.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/the-other-other-other-white-meat/
http://mydecadelongtravels.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/the-joys-of-traveling-and-racial-profiling/
UP THE MOUNTAIN
http://aliceandeve.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/a-story-in-each-face/
http://lifeconfusions.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/rails-and-ties/
http://rsativus.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/instant-friendship/
http://alotfromlydia.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/the-mta/
http://ettemeyer.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-transit-poem/
http://lifeassirli.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/train-station/
http://laughagain.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/zombies-dont-eat-breakfast/
http://charlafarmington.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-transit/
FUN IN TRAIN, SOULFULLY YOURS
And I was No Where at All #microfiction #travel #dpchallenge
http://lindaswritingblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/people-watcher/
http://suejutakeshi.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/end-station/
http://movingtowardsthelight.com/2014/10/06/angel-at-the-ferry/
http://mycurvyattitude.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-transit/
http://geekergosum.com/2014/10/06/in-transit-the-hell-of-other-commuters/
dreams
http://tnkerr.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/daily-prompt-in-transit/
http://agirllikemee.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/another-life-on-another-side/
http://designersophisticate.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/too-many-people/
http://sayadpoet.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/wisp-of-dream-daily-prompt/
In Transit: Solitary Reader
http://namelessspaces.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/oxford-circus/
http://ourgorgeouschaos.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/the-luxury-at-shanghai-international-airport/
http://vexingpoint.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/daily-prompt-in-transit/
http://fibercompulsion.com/2014/10/06/in-transit/
http://badosto.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/daily-prompt-in-transit/
http://isimonfiction.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/reblog-generosity/
http://mcswhispers.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/how-to-spend-8-hours-in-an-airport/
http://guthonestfaith.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/victoria-station/
http://tombalistreri.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/staying-put/
http://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/sudden-inspiration-by-music-journey/
http://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/dp-prompt-as-a-new-story-begins/
http://abozdar.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/highway-to-heaven/
http://abozdar.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/shades-of-last-evening/
http://crashcoursedummy.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/ttt/
http://tuckedintoacorner.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/transitions/

Thanks For Reading
Itsmayurremember