Monday, June 20, 2011

The Nirvana of Driving

Day 1 of my trip to Belgium. Coming here after 13 years, but the last time was different coz I just had to come across the border from The Netherlands for a day, saw some of Antwerp and headed back to NL. This time, I am grown up, (supposedly) wiser and should be able to put things together better. Speaking of putting things together, this is what my mind was thinking as I drove for an hour from Brussels to Hasselt after a 14 hour flight.

I come from the land of the Divine. A land where religiosity overflows & spirituality takes new forms. A land that is perennially crowded, but somehow always has a place for sadhus, mahants, sanyasins, and - lest I forget - a place for that small (likely illegal) temple under the tree in almost every street corner. We Indians are just too many in number. I sometimes believe that this is why we think that our direct communication to God will always not go through (I can imagine some of us saying "Just how many wishes can God answer? He must be too busy to look at 1.2 billion people. That is why we must build this temple under the tree" or "Have you heard of the Divine Reincarnate in the form of Sadhu Sadguru Baba Dharmendra Yogi who resides in '762/88-A/R/224, Karpagaambal Street'? Let's go see him").

But I digress. This blog post is not about divine inflections, but about me thinking and putting things together.

So what was I thinking during the drive today? You see - I love driving. I love to watch the layout of the land as it whizzes by. But I want driving to be an uncluttered seamless experience. Let me explain. When I drive in the US, I am expected to be on the right side of the road where distances are covered in miles per hour. If I drive to Canada, I will still be on the right, but distances transform to kilometers per hour. Australia has the KMPH approach with driving on the left. Most of Europe drives on the right with KMPH everywhere. UK is to the left. I once read that Samoa (where I have never driven) changed from right to left in 2009 (unbelievable!!! so they really would have had to exchange the sides of ALL road signs!!!). And in India... well.... I drive everywhere.

And then I was thinking of today's swamis and sadhus (too many in the media these days). About these swamis talking of the universality of mankind. That we humans have to find a way of overcoming our short-sighted approach and look for the larger whole. Well.... I agree... but swamiji, can we not start with creating a universal driving experience first? That one activity will alone go a long way in supreme alignment. Forget discarding Rs. 1000 notes and talking land away from multinationals. To a person like me, same road signs, same directions, same metrics and yes - same car gear boxes where gears 1,2,3,4,5 and R are EXACTLY IN THE SAME DIRECTION will indeed be Nirvana. This one small step swamiji, if you fight for, will be a giant leap for mankind.

Until then swamiji - please leave us alone. God may be busy, but if I speak to him in the right manner within the confines of my home, He will listen. And hopefully, He will give me the maturity to understand His answer. Fight for my driving rights swamiji,but don't fight for creating private armies. If you fulfill my wish, I promise I will become your disciple.

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