Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Fourth Seat

My grandmother's generation found Noor Jahan to be better than Lata Mangeshkar.

My father's generation found Sulakshana Pandit to be better than Lata Mangeshkar.

My generation found Kavita Krishnamurty to be better than Lata Mangeshkar.

Today's generation says any singer is better than Lata Mangeshkar.

She has never been the number one singer in anyone's heart of heart but she is the one that everyone is pitted against. She is the measuring unit. She is the continuous. The top of mind. The unforgettable one.

There is something about staying on.

The job that you hated at first but decided to stick to anyway. The marriage which was such a turmoil in its first year. The house you found hideous but rented anyway because it was easy on your pocket. The sea food you hated but loved the friends who liked it. All those things you did not find to be the best but gave them a little place in your heart to stay on.

That's conformity for you. And it isn't such a bad thing people make it out to be.

Unless it disagrees violently with you, you adapt.
One working day at a time.
One married moment at a time.
One renovated room at a time.
One nauseating seafood whiff at a time.

Soon you become comfortable enough to bear it and discover other joys that would have been lost if you had moved away at the slightest discomfort.

We no longer eat raw meat. If our ancestors saw us today they would call us a wimp.
So what if people are eating out of a box or a pill?

So what if kids are more glued to the screens than their bicycles?
We are not exactly hanging by the trees like our predecessors either.

It is not just the mind but our bodies that adjust too.
It needs time. Adaptation is a slow process.
Evolution and nature take us there eventually. To our ever changing comfort zone.

The trick is to find out if we are acclimatizing or being bulldozed into being pawned for self interest of others.

There is always place enough for three and a half people on that bench. Adapting can make it into four. You will eventually snuggle and fit in nicely in the fourth seat. But getting bullied into doing so because the window guy wants to take up space for two is no evolution. It is exploitation.

We bear with some things because we know they will get better with time.
We bear with the others because we cannot yet fight against them for the lack of means.

It's a struggle either way.
But never let go of the fourth seat.
It is like giving up already.

(Note: Fourth Seat is a very common phenomenon in the local trains of Mumbai. The seats are meant for three people to sit but you will always find four people sitting on it. Nudging, jostling, swearing until the fourth person finally manages to fit in.)


  1. Indeed! You pinpointed perfectly well!

  2. the constant scramble to finally 'just be'...thanks :)

  3. There's truly something about your little insights! "The trick is to find out if we are acclimatizing or being bulldozed into being pawned for self interest of others." Really well said :)

  4. Thanks Destiny :) You come and read each and every post....that itself is a huge compliment. Glad you like them.


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