Sunday, April 09, 2006

You can't run if you go weak in the knees

A rare sunny London afternoon greets me warmly as I step out of office to grab my mid-day grub. Liverpool Street is abuzz with its usual activity. A sea of investment bankers clad in garish pin-striped suits jostle their way to their offices in hurried paces. Scores of bodies make their way in and out of the tube station in two orderly lines, occasionally accosted by newspaper vendors offering free copies of the Metro. In a way it reminds me of Bombay, my hometown. The same speed, just a tad more organized and a lot less messy. Thats probably the reason why I have grown used to it so easily. Only, if only, they could import the smell and color of Bombay. Sigh.

I cross the street color-blind to the traffic light, graciously allowing a police car to go through. Soon I'm one among the sea, making my way to the sandwitch joint around the corner. Its not until I get a clear stretch of pavement ahead of me that I shift gears into that familiar fast pace that Ive always been comfortable with. I do like it this way, dont I?

Friends have always jibed me for my gait- they just could never catch up with me. And it's not just the walking- I've saved a fortune in telephone bills considering how fast I speak, and I also eat fast and think fast.(Intriguingly, the only thing I am not fast in is where it really matters. God does play his little tricks sometimes.)It somehow stems from my crazy utilitarian mentality- I dont like wasting time on the mundane things in life. (I obviously treat the three hours spent everyday snooping into random people's orkut scrapbooks as time well spent.)

A rude tackle by a heavy Turkish passerby jolts me out of my thoughts. An involuntary glance at my watch reminds me of the impending dreadful post-afternoon meeting. I step up the mph, virtually flying as I manouevre the irregular human traffic. And just as Im about to cross, a lovely Chinese couple, very much in love, amble across slowly, hand in hand and eye in eye, inadvertently coming in my path. I reluctantly grind to a halt as I politely let them go through first.

The contrast between my sprint and their relaxed stroll could'nt be more pronounced, I realize. And then I ask myself- if I were to be committed, wouldn't I have to slow down, just the way the young man had, for my better half? (Surely yes, because both of us running around hand in hand would be an extremely funny sight.) The metaphor strikes me immediately- wouldn't the added responsiblity and commitment become a spanner in my dream-works? The breezy way of life, the mad rush to capture every moment of the day, wouldn't all that have to take a backseat? Dreadful thought indeed.

I successfully squeeze through the revolving doors just in the nick of time, congratulating myself for the effort. The swiping of the card and the entry through the glass doors is timed to the usual perfection. I run up the escalators and gripe as the 2nd floor dealing room door just shuts on my face- "Holy shit! Extra time wasted in swiping the card and pulling the door!" I smile to myself. God does play his little tricks sometimes. With good reason.

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