Saturday, May 6, 2017

I hate my Phone (don't tell that to my phone)

I wish we had not grown so dependent on our smartphone. 

There is this constant tendency to look at the screen and connect to the outside world and check if we have missed anything. Like an auto update for apps, we check for updates every few minutes. 

It is literally automatic. I have this app for news feed called inshorts. If I’m idle for 5 minutes, and thats no exaggeration, I automatically check my phone for alerts and then automatically open inshorts for any news updates and then automatically open Instagram. It is so frustrating sometimes because I take the phone to make a call and see that I have received a text. It is obviously some company who is very much concerned if I have enough clothes/insurance/internet in my life and are going to great lengths and discounts to ensure I'm happy. Then I open inshorts to learn that some uneducated politician with a criminal background said or did something that an uneducated criminal would do. Or some movie star said or did something that is in no way whatsoever going to affect my life, sometimes it doesn't even affect his own life. Last, I check Instagram which rarely has any updates since I follow very few people and I'm sure it would take just 30 seconds if I choose to just check it just once at the end of the day instead of 5 seconds 20 times a day. And by the end of this very important life saving routine, I have forgotten why I took the phone out in the first place. And this is when I’ve consciously kept facebook out of my phone. 

I feel constantly conned by my smart(ass)phone and the internet and they slowly but surely eat away a huge chunk of my time. The beautiful photos and videos that I am able to take of my family and things I love just because the phone is within reach all the time is priceless. Clearly, there cannot be a future without either of them, but if we don’t manage to balance it, it will collapse our lives. There should be a scientific method to determine and limit the use of such technology within a threshold limit for individuals. But technology is moving into a more invasive mode with future devices getting stuck to your face, creating a virtual reality.

Talking about the balance, you take a nice photo on your phone and then send it to your close family and friends or post it on social media and get a few likes. That is the threshold. Now you can take that photo, print it, frame it in your home or desk and enjoy that. That would be very positive, but you wouldn’t do it because there are so many, which would you print? And you have a very expensive phone with an awesomatic 24k SXYHD display, why would you want to spend more money, and more importantly time, to print and frame it when you can see it any time in your phone. But the fact is you don’t. You never see those photos again. These beautiful photos and the memories are so short lived and limited to how many likes and comments they get on social media. Before you can fully comprehend the beauty and joy of that moment, the next photo is already uploading. I wish we had a day of the month when we would just look at a large screen with a slide show of all our photos and talk about them to our family. 

We think there is a future where we are not so busy and will have time to do all these things that are accumulating in our virtual to do list. But even before we finish that thought, we know that it’s not true. We have seen our parents buy into that scheme and ask for a refund. They thought they just wanted to see a foreign country, so they felt they could do it later. But later they realized they wanted to eat their sugar and cholesterol rich street food which they can’t due to diabetes. They realized they wanted to roam in leisure without anyone’s assistance or orders which they can’t because they have fallen behind technology and don’t have the guts they once had. They realized they wanted to reach atop mountains in early mornings and have adventures which they can’t because of arthritis and asthma.

Technology is already preparing for our old age. Virtual reality will let us go anywhere we want at the comfort of our own bed. Devices will be able to send signals to our brain that will replicate the sensations of eating pork ribs in Australia.


Many of our decisions like buying some car or clothes are taken with a lot of thought and research because we know that they will affect our lives even if is for a short period of time. We spend a lot more collective effort to decide on a life partner. But somewhere in our past, we have decided to get in a very close, tedious and mutually beneficial relationship with technology and social media. Have we given it enough thought before we took the decision? Is it possible to break up? Or better yet, can we reverse roles? Be the dominant one?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

First Assignment

THIS WAS MY ENTRY FOR A WRITING COMPETITION BASED ON THEIR GUIDELINES

Q1. Write a scene (in not more than 500 words) based on the following outline: Wife is at home. Husband enters. They have not been talking for some days. One of them tries to cajole the other. The other withdraws. The first one goes back to doing what he/ she was doing. The other comes to the first one and kills him/her. Please note that the scene cannot have any dialogue. So you can only write the scene-description.

APPLE PIE

Priya is mixing some batter in the kitchen. She stops to wipe the sweat off her fore head. The door bell rings. She rubs her hands on her apron and hurries to the front door. Through the peephole she sees her husband, steps back, takes a deep breath, exhales and then opens the latch but not the door, before walking back to the kitchen. Vikram hears the door unlock, but nothing more, doubtfully he opens the door and just manages to catch a glimpse of his wife’s back retreating to the kitchen. Bowing down his head with disappointment, he closes the door and locks it. He walks into the bedroom carrying his shoulder bag along.

A few minutes later he emerges from the bedroom in his pajamas and finds his wife sitting on the sofa, watching TV. He sits nearby but not too close and pretends to watch TV. He can smell something baking in the kitchen. The microwave is ON in the kitchen indicating 12 minutes to finish and there is a half empty box of Apple Pie mix. Slowly he places his hands on hers. She looks up at him with anger and removes her hand swiftly and turns her attention back to the TV. The frustrated Vikram stares back and just when he is about to say something, his mobile on the table in front of them rings. The caller ID indicates it is “Dr. Rekha”. Priya glares at the phone for a second before pressing hard on the remote to change the TV channel. He starts to ignore the call but then decides against it and picks the phone. He gets up and walks towards the balcony with the phone and closes the door behind him.

Twelve minutes later, the microwave beeps loudly indicating that the baking is done. Priya looks towards the kitchen, gets up from the sofa and walks in the opposite direction towards the balcony. She opens the door and steps out. Vikram is sitting on the ledge with one leg on either side of it and talking over the phone. He sees his wife come out and mumbles something into the phone before cutting the call short. She comes really close. He can see tears rolling down her cheeks. He places his hand on her shoulder to console her but she grabs the hand with her left and with her right hand she holds his pajama pants and then pushes him over to certain death. Without even looking back, she heads to the kitchen, takes out the apple pie and goes back to the living room. She sits in front of the TV. She cuts out a slice before taking a spoonful from it. Tears still rolling down her cheek.


Q2. Re-write the same scene between the husband and the wife with dialogues. The dialogues can be in Hindi or in English. (Max 1000 words.)

APPLE TART

Priya is mixing some batter in the kitchen. She stops to wipe the sweat off her fore head. The door bell rings. She rubs her hands on her apron and hurries to the front door. Through the peephole she sees her husband, steps back, takes a deep breath, exhales and then opens the latch but not the door, before walking back to the kitchen. Vikram hears the door unlock, but nothing more, doubtfully he opens the door and just manages to catch a glimpse of his wife’s back retreating to the kitchen. Bowing down his head with disappointment, he closes the door and locks it. He walks into the bedroom carrying his shoulder bag along.

A few minutes later he emerges from the bedroom in his pajamas and finds his wife sitting on the sofa, watching TV. He sits nearby but not too close and pretends to watch TV. He can smell something baking in the kitchen. The microwave is ON in the kitchen indicating 12 minutes to finish and there is a half empty box of Apple Tart mix. He looks to his wife who ignores him.

“Are we going to talk about this?” he asks. No response from her.

“According to you, the doctor said its not my fault that we can’t have a child, then why are you angry with me for?” he asks.

“I don’t want to talk about it” She quickly responded before increasing the volume a bit.

“Fine.” He replied. “Have you at least found my phone? It took me two days just to buy a new phone on EMI and a replacement SIM card.”
Still no reply from her.

Slowly he places his hands on hers. She looks up at him with anger and removes her hand swiftly and turns her attention back to the TV. The frustrated Vikram stares back and just when he is about to say something, his mobile on the table in front of them rings. The caller ID indicates it is “Dr. Rekha”. Priya glares at the phone for a second before pressing hard on the remote increase the volume further. He starts to ignore the call but then decides against it and picks the phone and at the same time he gets up and walks towards the balcony connected to the hall. He closes the door behind him.

“Hello Doctor, how are you?” he greets the doctor.

“I’m fine Vikram, what about you? My office has been trying to call you for the past two days. I was planning on sending someone over tomorrow to check what happened.”

“I lost my phone doctor. Just now the replacement sim card got activated. But why were you so worried. Priya told me about the test reports. “

“And how are you taking the news?” the Doctor asked.

“I understand these problems are common in many couples nowadays. So I’m learning to cope with it. But she is very upset and for some reason she is very angry with me.”

“I don’t understand. What exactly did she tell you Mr. Vikram?”

“She said the reports indicate that she cannot have a healthy baby due to some problems with her body and that further tests have to be done to determine if there is any treatment possible”

“Oh my God.” The doctor was shocked.

“What is it Doctor?” Vikram asked, confused.

“Mr. Vikram, it is good that you approached a doctor before planning to have a baby. Many problems can be avoided if couples are a little prepared. You have a very good chance of having a healthy baby, but the complication is not because of her alone. Both of you have been tested positive for HIV”

The microwave beeps loudly indicating that the baking is done. Priya looks towards the kitchen, gets up from the sofa and walks in the opposite direction towards the balcony. She opens the door and steps out. Vikram is sitting on the ledge with one leg on either side of it and talking over the phone. He looks up at his wife approaching him. Shocked, he tells the doctor that he will call him later and cuts the call.

He can see tears rolling down her cheeks. He places his hand on her shoulder to console her, “baby, I don’t understand what is happening”

But she grabs the hand with her left and with her right hand she holds his thigh and then pushes him over to certain death. Without even looking back, she heads to the kitchen, takes out the apple pie and goes back to the living room. She sits in front of the TV. She cuts out a slice before taking a spoonful from it. Tears still rolling down her cheek.


The wind slithers through the kitchen window, tumbling the apple tart box to reveal a bottle of poison behind it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Laugh Out Loud

Laughter is contagious. And awesome. Not the normal one which you get while watching videos of babies and puppies, but the ones where you have tears hanging on your eyelids and hands holding your stomach. My mom, my wife, my nephew and my grandpa, all look so different and fun when they laugh. The more uncontrollable the laughter, the more beautiful they look and it brings some warmth to watch them laugh. But its not easy to see them laugh like that and it doesn't happen in a planned manner. In recent times, when at home, I have a tendency to literally LOL for a decent enough joke. I tend to laugh a little louder and longer than the joke deserves. Not so different from Mogambo and other super villains. So much so that i get that odd stare from my mom or wife now and then, but I don't care, I don't feel guilty. I actually feel sorry for them that they don't get to do it so often. I can't explain to them why I do it. It feels like I'm feeding my brain some stimuli. It feels good, life seems better for as long as the laughter is prolonged.

We all earn to feed our body and mind. The amount of money required to feed the body and meet its basic needs are very less and increase very slightly as your status in the society or wealth increases. Rich or poor, you pretty much eat the same quantity of food and need the same amount of space to rest the body. As you get richer, the quality of food increases and more money is spent on keeping the body fit so that you can continue to work more and earn more. But the increase is not really significant or proportional to the increase in your income or status. So where does all the money go?To feed your mind.

We all toil to feed our mind. The mind that always wants more. The mind that needs continuous entertainment and enrichment. Books, movies, gadgets, alcohol, drugs, internet, more internet. It is a never ending list that keeps changing. Nothing is pinned to the list, if something is pinned, then chances are that it will become your doom or cause maximum damage to your life at some point of time. The mind wants to have it all. The latest mobile phone, that two digit GPD growth, that greater than GDP growth salary hike, that mandatory promotion without change in duties or responsibilities followed by the mandatory low appraisal because of the mandatory promotion, that secondary and tertiary income source, those schemes to reduce your tax burden due to those income sources. It wants to see all the wonders of the world, experience everything possible and envy everything else.

But the mind's desires are evolving as I said. Remember how children desire toys that they use for a few weeks and break it or lose it or lose interest in it? As they grow older, the desires become more expensive but at the same time more lasting and significant. Like bicycles, video games, clothes, girlfriends etc. But nothing lasts forever. Add few more years and desires change to better job, bigger home, snazzier car, alcohol etc. You get the drift, as you gain more age and wisdom, you look for more permanent stuff. Do you?

The mind while it craves for large chunks of desires and achievements, also looks for the small snacks every now and then. The mind needs continuous feeding. Not just the main course but also the soup, starters and desserts and even tea. Long needed holidays, meeting your childhood friend, winning in some game. That desire to check into Facebook every few hours, that tendency to watch pointless videos shared by strangers and liked by someone in your friends list. That favourite movie of yours thats running on TV that you just want to watch again. They are like short sips of tea to the mind. We spend so much time and resources to feed the mind. Even pleasing your senses is feeding the mind. That beautiful looking steak is not to feed your tummy but to satisfy your taste buds which feed the mind. While we appreciate the capabilities of the mind for its multi tasking skills and speed at which it works, these desires are the hidden processes that are happening simultaneously and still they say that the mind is not even utilising a quarter of its processing powers.

Science works on boundaries and framework. When there is lack of it, they use terms that sound scientific but actually are just words. Like Infinity, Space and the mind. The mind thinks of good things, bad things, productive things, harmful things, stupid things, so many things at the same time. It feels emotions, takes decisions, regrets them, changes them and feels emotions again. If you start writing down the functions of your mind, how long do you think that list would be? Would there be a structure or hierarchy to these functions? Could they be grouped/categorised? In all this chaos, is there really any control? Is there this thread that holds everything in place? Is it a really strong thread?

Is there actual control? Is there supposed to be a balance? between the smaller desires and the bigger ones? Can I hack the system that is my mind to feel fed and full without actually feeding it?

Or is the thread really a flimsy one? Is each one of us on the border line of insanity? Are we sane at all times? Are we sane at all? Mmmmmwwwahahahahahaha

Probably

Getting placed in Ashok Leyland was the dream job in my engineering college. They came every year and took one or maybe two students, from the Mechanical Engineering department. Only the top scorers got the job and sometimes they left without taking anyone. After the first couple of semesters, the top scorers were known to all and then the rat race began among them. Each one of them dreamed and worked towards getting that job. I was never in the race. I was never in any race, since childhood. I used to get the maximum scores that last minute studying can get you, just above average. I wouldn't say I was happy with that. I guess it didn't bother me much. Having a father who could afford college donations helped.

But I had a plan. I had scored above average, had an arrear (in probability) but cleared it in the subsequent attempt. I was sure of getting into one of the many IT companies which were in a hiring spree around that time, and they didn't completely understand the concept of majoring in UG. I was quite good in aptitude and knew a bit of programming. My plan was to get into one of the 3.5 lakh CTC companies and ride along until eventually returning to the family business.

So the first day of campus placements arrive with a major IT firm in the country doing the honours. I sail through the first 2 rounds and get selected for the interview. There is a clear system and process for selection of candidates, but when you are one of the students, it feels a lot like random. The interviews happens in a big conference room with a number of tables spaced out inside. There are 10+ interviews happening at the same time in the same hall. Anyway, I find my table and take a seat after the formal question of "May i take a seat". The interviewers proceed to test my knowledge in my Major by asking me to name the subjects that I had in my 3rd and 4th Semester. Yes. They actually have my mark list in front of them and ask me to name the subjects that I had studied a year ago. I fumble a bit and the interviewers rightly reject me based on their scientific process of assessment. A classmate of mine who told the interviewers that she is looking at higher education and will leave at the first chance she gets, got the job. A good number of guys got placed that day. There was a good probability of me getting placed but things didn't work out. I went home with the news and got a few insults from my Dad. It comes with the donations so i couldn't refuse. I didn't tell him that Ashok Leyland was recruiting the next day though.

So the next day, recruiters from Ashok Leyland reach our campus. This is the biggest day of the year for the Mechanical engineering department. For a brief period, everybody else in the college is reminded why the administration puts up with a department full of psychos. For a day, we are the flagship department of our college. Preparations are in full swing. There is tension in every body's faces and books in every hand. Some books that have been passed down generations of interview attending toppers. With the disappointment of the previous day still lingering, I joke about it to my close friends, who also didn't get through the previous day. I think that was a time and age when you could actually reduce sadness or increase happiness by sharing it. As we get older, the formula doesn't work that well.

I move around the groups and see what they are discussing and find one of them going through one such interview book with the key definitions and stuff. The first definition in the book is that of 1 ton of refrigeration. Now, my Dad's business is in the field of refrigeration and I have been studying engineering for 3 years, so I though this is the least return on his investment that I can give him. So i go through the definition.

The selection process begins. There is a needless introduction to the company and declaration of a 6.5 lakh CTC, followed by a couple of written tests. Technical first and then aptitude. Myself along with 7-8 more students get through and are asked to come to their office for the interview the same evening. I had literally put in zero efforts for these tests. The probability of me getting to this stage was zero. So I was in no way prepared for an interview. I was wearing one of the most comfortable = most lousy formals I had. Although i knew that there was not a chance that I could pass the interview, I didn't want to enter an office like that dressed in the clothes like this. Soon enough I found that some of the students had actually brought "Interview shirts".

Interview shirt - A clean, almost new pressed shirt, folded neatly and packed carefully, to be worn just moments before the interview.

I borrowed one from a class mate who did not get through to the interview. So I have my lunch, wear his new shirt and get on a mini van with the other students shortlisted for the interview. Here again, the others are doing some last minute preps. They have their thick text books and handy notes on formulas. I was on my way to get rejected again so I never bothered with a book. I was sure of it, I was actually thinking of the recruiters coming to our campus the next day and hoping I get placed then. We reached their guest house where we got some tea and biscuits. Its evening already and I'm wondering when it will all be over. They call in the candidates one by one. The tension in their faces are still in my memory, face covered with sweat before entering and disappointed eyes on the way out. I had no worries at all. I was just a filler. I knew that the moment they saw my scores and realised that I had a history of an arrear, they would definitely strike me out and I expected that to happen in the first 10 seconds of me entering the interview room. So I walk in with a smile and answer their questions to the best of my knowledge. Most of them were pertaining to the projects I had done and some casual questions about my background. 2-3 technical questions that I barely managed to answer before the final question "Define a ton of Refrigeration". I walked out a few minutes later still with a smile on my face and still zero expectations of getting through.

You know how sometimes you are sure that something is impossible but you still fantasise about how it would be if it happened. I didn't even fantasise about getting that job, not for a second. And then they came out to let us know who the selected candidates were and I was shocked to hear my name at the end. I got someone's dream job.

Forget probability, there was no permutation or combination where I could have got that job. Ever since, I have had a hard time with the concept of probability. Actually I have had a hard time with it ever since i failed in the subject in college. I could trust someone if they said it was possible or impossible but if they introduce a number or percentage probability, it unsettles me. Probabilities seem meaningless most of the time for people going through the event. The probability of a road accident is meaningless for someone who just experienced one. It is more useful for insurance companies. The probability of you clearing an entrance exam is useless to you but useful to entrance coaching centres. The probability of a bad marriage is not useful for the couple but useful to divorce lawyers in the country.

Have you seen the probability details shown in between the 2015 cricket world cup matches? Indian wins 85% of the times spinners take 4 wickets or more. What does that even mean? Is it helpful in any which way? What I am trying to say is, the word probability and the way it is expressed may seem scientific and reliable, but it is purely based on past experiences and not calculated based on merit or performance or nature of the task/event. Unlike the mileage figures of automobiles, events never happen in standard test conditions. When we do not trust mileage figures, why do we even consider probabilities?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Stillness In Motion

After the unrelenting heat of the past couple of months, I woke up today to the soothing sound of rain drops. Not actual rain drops, but the drops that lingered on the roof tops and leaves the night before and were slowly descending to the earth. It had rained the night before and the dull light from the frosted window showed a promise of more to come.

There were tasks lined up for the day and appointments to keep which seemed tiring till yesterday, but now they seem less tiring in this new setting. After some minor chores, I'm quick to get ready and leave for work. The streets seem deserted for a Monday morning. I feel like turning off the aircon and winding down the window but resist the urge, for the fear of water splashing inside. A few kilometres out and I'm on the road that joins the highway at the end. I can see the highway in the distance and clearly make out that it is raining a few hundred meters in front of me. I cannot tell if I'm moving towards the rain or the rain is moving towards me. It starts with small splashes here and there on the window, and soon the whole car, as if being devoured by the rain. Millions of droplets falling on every surface, some to rest, some to bounce off and some to replace the ones already there.

I turn on the indicator and the wiper as i enter the highway. I pick up speed through the less than usual traffic. I have to take the exit which is only a few kilometres away. As I stare ahead at the cars in front, spraying water behind them as they tread through the wet roads, heading towards a far away destination, I think of her. I wish the day was different. I wish i had woken up with her by my side and looked at the frosted glass together. I wish I was on this highway with her on my side, but not about to take the next exit.

I wish we had broken away from our routine, just brushed our teeth and left home, or even skip the brushing part. We enter the coastal highway and drive on along the sea. Windows lowered a bit, music in my ears, wind in my hair, her hand in mine, as we cruise through the different intensities of rain. We go farther away from where we are supposed to be, doing nothing that we are supposed to do. When we feel far enough, we stop for a sip of coffee from a road side shop, sitting on unbalanced chairs and looking at speeding cars through the steam coming from the cup. And then head further down, to find a deserted beach, where we lay on the sand and let our eyes drink from the ocean. The calm and at the same time restless surface, reflecting the dark clouds above, with no sign of the sun or the blue sky.We talk a lot but communicate a lot more. We lay there careless, not worrying about the sand in her hair, the time of the day, mistakes of the past or decisions of the future.

Maybe some other time, maybe after she comes back in town, maybe when there is less work, maybe if it rains on a sunday, but i want that day to come. Happy or sad or routine, everyday ends for a new one to begin, but I don't want that day to end, or i don't know how to end it. For now, I don't have to worry about it, because here comes my exit on the highway, my exit towards where i'm supposed to be. Or is it.....

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Invisible Glasses

My exceptionally tall friend was on the phone, giggling in embarrassment, "Dude, Modi just killed it man." He hated Narendra Modi, who was winning the elections with the greatest majority in the history of India that day.

"The thing on everyone's agenda today at office is to pass some sarcastic comments at me or within hearing distance from me. I didn't know so many people work here man." He was open and loud about his hatred for Modi and his preference for AAP. Although he expected Modi to win, the margin was just too much for him to bear.

The Godhra riots of 2002 is synonymous with Modi. Its the first thing that comes to mind when you hear his name, all around the world. My friend's hatred for Modi originates from this. Some time after the riots, one of his friend's father who was in the Gujarat police force at the time, had told him something to hint that Mr. Modi was indeed at fault. These words had formed such a strong picture of Modi for him that even though the person had not given any proof for his accusation, in my friend's mind that became the truth.

Casually browsing youtube, i chanced to come across this video of a TV interview of Narendra Modi just before the election. I was impressed by the way he spoke and presented himself. Although I'm aware of the riots, I haven't gone into the details and have not heard many people's opinion on the matter. So for me, it is just something I'm not sure about. Soon after the video was over, I glanced at the side pane and found some suggested videos and checked them too. A few videos in, I noticed that all the videos suggested to me were against the other parties contesting the elections and a few of them praising the BJP. I became a Modi supporter. A few hours of such browsing can completely change your opinion and preference on a subject, and this preference is not formed based on facts but on the representation of facts.

My friend does not know the real facts about the riot, the other person had merely presented some facts in such a way to impose his opinion on my friend. This happens all the time. To a point where, people get away with mixing a bit of lies in the presentation. For instance, in an election rally or an interview like the one I watched, politicians constantly give out some figures and infer that they are better than the opposition. But at the end of the interview does anyone go back and check if the figures are right? Or if the figures actually represent what the person inferred? The facts do not remain in your mind. What remains is an impression.

And it is rightly said that the first impression is the best impression. Because once you form a good impression about a party, you believe everything they say and claim that the opposition is lying. Once you form an opinion that a person is stupid or dumb, everything he says or does seems to resonate with your opinion, when in reality you do pretty much the same stuff yourself. The best part is that we never realise that our thoughts and opinions are being controlled. Makes me wonder if i really did chance upon that interview or was led there without my knowledge.

All these election campaigns, product advertisements, gossips, movies etc, influence our minds to such a great extent. We make so many decisions in our life not based on the truth but based on what we are told is true. You will always think your detergent brand is the best even though you haven't tried them all. Why should you test your theory, when actors in lab coats constantly come on television and tell you that they have done that? The other day, I saw this surf excel ad telling me that it has vibrating molecules which remove dirt. And initially the ad for Tang said that it has real fruit, and now it says it has the taste of real fruit. Don't get me started on the names they give to things they put in fairness creams.

So next time you feel hatred or love or any strong feeling towards a person, try to stop yourself and force your mind to feel the opposite. Give the bad guy the benefit of doubt. Assume that he may indeed be good and you're just not able to see it.

I have tried it and failed.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Illusion

She side-steps some dog poop as she begins her early morning jog of three laps around her home measuring a kilometre each. She would like to listen to some songs but because of the inconvenience of the wires and risk of accidents, she opts to sing them instead in her head. Its the peak of summer and she starts to sweat by the first turn. As she cuts left at the corner with the temple, she hears some strange animal cries similar to that of a crow. But as she approaches the overflowing garbage bin she spots the source which is a tiny little kitten in the middle of the road.

Her heart goes out to the poor thing, so small and fragile, probably shouting out to it's mother. The way it just about manages to keep one feet in front of the other and move in one particular direction, indicating that its just born.

She keeps running, hoping it's mother comes to her soon. Between the vehicles passing by and the crows flying above, such a small kitten in the middle of the road, shouting out like that, has no chance of survival. For a brief moment she considers taking it home if it survives till she completes her first lap, but then decides against it considering the number of stray cats already loitering around her house, specially the kitchen. As she turns around the temple with the dual coloured walls again, she finds the kitten at the same place, still shouting. She keeps running.

A couple of turns and a few hundred meters after the garbage bin, she begins to hear similar cries. This time from behind her and gaining on her. As if the kitten is chasing her. Before she could look back, the cries go past her, originating from a bike driven by a middle aged man and his daughter seated at the back. They are taking the kitten home. The kitten's fate had turned, just like that. From an almost zero chance of survival to a comfortable nine lives.

On her third round, she finds the place around the garbage bin empty and silent. Her mind lingers on the events that took place. Realising that the kitten would never know that its caretakers had saved it from inevitable death.

Again, a couple of turns and a few hundred meters ahead, at almost the same spot that the bike had overtaken her, she again hears some cries. This time its dogs, two of them following a third and dangling from the mouth of this dog was the kitten that had just been rescued. The kitten hung lifeless, held by its head. The dogs ran past her. She kept running.

She feels sad for the cat. The fact that the cat was almost rescued makes her feel worse. She had expected the kitten to die when it was crying near the rubbish bin, but not now. It was supposed to live. More than what happened, it is what she expected to happen that troubles her. Something good should always be followed by something better. Everything we get is forgotten or taken for granted. Not only do we expect to get something better, we are not prepared to lose something that we got before.

The kitten had never realised that it was in fatal danger in the first place and that it had been saved by that girl on the bike, who convinced her father to take it home. It had neither memory of the past nor expectations from the future. Everything in its life, including life itself, was temporary.