We sat in Infinitea, sipping green tea and munching fried momos. It was her first visit to Bangalore, and as my contribution to her introduction to the city, I had given her the experience of navigating the one ways of the city on a two wheeler. It was less than a month since we’d been first introduced to each other, and that turned out to be the subject of the conversation, at least the lion’s share of it. Of how technology had reached a point where one could perhaps land up in any city and have such conversations, because of the connections that pre-exist. No pre-exist for years or even months, but just a few days, thanks to the people we trust, who connect us. We perhaps have nothing in common culturally, but we can still relate to each other in terms of ideas and thought streams. Communication protocols are changing, and with that, relationships too. We discussed the subject of my post a fortnight back – evolution, and she told me the story of a guy who had a camera fitted into his glass eye!!
She’s traveled a lot and shared anecdotes of places and experiences. Her stories reminded us of how destinations have become like trophies, simply to be collected as part of a journey which we no longer appreciate, much like the beautiful sights that nature has created. We compared notes on clicking images versus capturing it in the mind’s eye. I could totally relate to that as I remembered the Leh trip from earlier this year and told her of how I paused before I took the step into the plane that would take me back, knowing that it perhaps was the last time I’d see the place. After all, there are so many places to see, never mind the trophies, because there may be some I haven’t even heard of yet.
I think that I might have come across as an absolute anti-capitalist, because at least twice I said that the only thing that stopped us from enjoying life fully was money, because it tends to become an end in itself, and we make the things it can buy, the things that hold value to us. If money wasn’t a constraint, I’d travel all over the world, write about the things I saw and be happy with the five odd people who read it. But it is, and so one has to save up, and choose from destinations, and hope one has made the right choice.
We debated a bit on what I thought was a paradox of sorts. She said that many people felt lonely when they landed in an alien city (work,not vacation), and they yearned for a taste of their own culture. I said that, with increasing connectivity, we were all moving towards global citizenship, where the individual cultures had blurring boundaries, or rather, the differences seemed to be becoming less important. Typical example being how we were able to converse on a range of subjects without getting bored. (though we have only my word for it) And how with each passing generation, traditional customs were getting packaged to suit lifestyles…until they will become ‘user agnostic’. (much like the platform agnostic technologies) But yes, that is more futuristic than present, though I may have more in common with a London based Twitter user, than my next door neighbour, on several fronts.
We spoke about the great divide that technology was creating, and how the human race has perhaps yet not identified that as one of our greatest challenges. A real time battle against time. Which made us realise that both of us were getting late for our (respective) next meetings.
I drop her back at the hotel where she’s staying. We have to take a convoluted route, thanks to the one ways that dot Bangalore. Its funny because in terms of actual distance its really close by. I wonder if the roads are a good metaphor. We bid each other goodbye. Its easy to remain in touch, connected. After all, geographic distances don’t really matter. Sometimes its the divide in the immediate vicinity that is more difficult to bridge.
until next time, a lot can happen over tea too
PS: The day had two wonderful conversations, and as I start out to share the other, I realise I am trying to short change the next one and crunch the content. That’s unfair, so we will do a Part 2 soon