Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The heart of the damned.

See these trucks? These belong to the damned of the country. Truck Drivers. Everyone hates them. Almost everyone. But thats a misplaced perception. Most drivers do not own these trucks - vehicles which must be the most outdated, difficult to drive, and offering a poor working place for the driver. Enough, to make you and me a devil on the road - if we were asked to drive them 1000s of kms every week through some very very difficult terrain and roads? Many of us already do it even with the little 1000cc cars and even less powered bikes...

But if you have driven long-distance in India, in my view, you can always trust the truck driver to help you and guide you forward. They are not rash drivers as perceived. Instead, it is the local truck drivers (ones operating within or around the city) who are rash. The long-distance driver has big faith in God and if you ever jump into his cabin area you will see best efforts made to make it a home and keep it clean. Something which all of us driving on the roads miss - intimidated as to why someone else has bigger vehicle than ours? So, we keep cursing them.

These truck drivers have no much say in their working conditions but they travel 1000s of kms across India... seeing places we would never in our lifetime. They probably know India better than most... only they could put their hands onto a blog.

I am always amazed that how much heart and care people show, inspite of their absolutely useless conditions... which the opinion leaders will never take note off.

I think, its the lack of true benevolent leader who can identify or visualise the strength of such people, is where the problem lies. India maybe progressing but a lot of hardworking people are unable to find their road ahead. The least we could do is to respect them... and they would get the confidence to take the next step.

But no, the way our policemen and every other public authority behaves it can destroy any normal person's self esteem. But still, the truck driver stands tall against all this adversity.

Today is a Ayudha Pooja/Saraswati pooja/Maha Nvami. Its the culmination of the Durga pooja. Its the end of the 9 day festival we call Navratri. Wherein some carry out fasting too and in West we have the ever-popular Dandiya/Garba dances each evening. It is the last day of the celeberations where Ramayan is replayed and on this final day, some carry out the burning of the effigy of Ravana, the 10 headed King who kidnaps Ram's wife. However, in some parts of the country Ravana is not viewed in the negative manner its done up North. He is regarded as a learned, wise person with great faith in God. In Tamil Nadu, many pray to the three different Godesses : Lakshmi, Parvati and Durga. Each representing a different facet of the women. Of course, the very deep Brahmins continue the prayers across the spectrum of their faith. Today, a close friend of mine keeps his text books/print material aside while praying to Goddess Saraswati - the Goddess of Education.

Today, everyone has specially cleaned their shops, workplaces, vehicles and decorated it with flowers, garlands.

So, today everyone's house, workplace, and vehicles are shining and decorated.

Of course, the town remains dirty. A paradox that is India today!

The only reason I see - is that a majority of us do not feel ownership of anything beyond the four walls we stay in?


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