Life Is Lived Outside Homes.

Since my father’s death, I have been leaving the comforts of my home to travel and do quite a bit of town and city shopping or eating out within Pune. Prior to my father’s arrival too, I rarely left home and its immediate neighbourhood due to my late wife needing my presence at home.

Among the things that fascinate me now when I go into cities is the idea that a great deal of people are outside their homes doing things all the time. The streets and roads are centers of activity, much more than of just movement, a center of commerce and sociability, of nonstop human drama, of endless surprises and interesting observations. There is a certain rhythm to the activities and one can sense groups who are regulars at places doing things that they do regularly and vary onlookers who have seen a great deal and who seem to constantly expect trouble.

Traffic lights are also places to watch humanity at its best with impatient drivers and law breakers looking to see if policemen are around before they dart out despite red lights being on. Honkers who seem to honk even when they red light is on and so on. One can also see other interesting human foibles like using the rear view mirror to admire oneself, comb one’s hair and so on and also the ever present curious motorcyclist who wants to see what is going on inside every vehicle stopped at the signals.

At multiplexes and malls I see a lot of young people spending money and wonder how they can afford such a life. But they seem to be totally indifferent to people like me who are there to watch rather than shop and the noise of the chattering in food courts is to be heard to be believed.

When I watch people coming into the park where I go every evening, I find a change in their expressions when they come into the open air and the green lawns and see the trees everywhere. I think that it is a sense of freedom compared to lives lived in small flats and being cooped up. Children particularly start running as soon as they hit the lawns and it is always a treat to watch them do that. It must be like coming out of a claustrophobic environment to come to that huge open space!

When I try to explain this fascination to others, I usually receive a blank stare implying that I have lost my marbles. Is that your reaction too?

22 thoughts on “Life Is Lived Outside Homes.”

  1. hahaha. i love your commenters.
    my comment will not be funny though.
    i found it almost like walking in a live video! i did rummy!
    I smelled the food and heard the noise and felt the heat and the blasts of the horns and the impatience and all the city ‘importance’ of activity. true importance . . . or not.
    then . . . you took us to a cool green park with lots of trees and space.
    I immediately felt differently! and then the little children running and laughing.
    your marbles are perfectly intact i’d say!
    and . . . i’m sorry. but people who can’t obey simple traffic signals for the common good and safety of everybody should lose their right to drive. case closed!
    tammy j recently posted..mysteriously cute

  2. It seems to me most of the time when we try to describe our enthusiasms and fascinations to others we get blank stares. That’s the joy of blogging, we can write about anything that turns us on. And our blogger friends appreciate learning more about us. They may be turned on by other things, but they understand the feeling.

    That said, I just had to describe in person what excited me about a TV series I watched on Netflix. The ending in the 49th and final episode was just so perfect I had to explain it to Andy and Kaitlin. I told them I knew they wouldn’t really be interested, but I had to share it anyway. At other times I share my enthusiasms with my journal. It’s healthy for the enthusiastic part of me. That part is so easily beaten down if we don’t nourish it.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Bucket List

  3. I can resonate with everything you have said . On the rare occasions I take an “aimless” stroll on the streets of Bangalore ( or indeed any Indian city ) I cannot cease to be amazed by most of what I see ( and hear ) ! People watching is a great sport for people of our generation . Better still if one can engage in a conversation it can be a revelation . About a year ago I wanted to buy a CFL bulb from the shop where I had bought some earlier . I arrived at the doorstep only to find they had not yet opened shutters ; I decided to wait on the pavement opposite since there was some shade . A guy from a laundry behind muttered audibly behind me “They will open at 10.30” . I was dumb struck . How did he know which shop I was gong to ? Apparently he had seen the empty carton of the old CFL bulb in my hand and surmised my destination – a veritable road side Sherlock Holmes ! The “watcher” had been “watched” ! On another occasion I was standing outside a clinic where I had taken my Mum for a check up and there was a roadside food stall serving freshly made Kuttu Paratha , Muttai Dosai , Dosa Chicken Curry etc . There were a few chairs and tables as well . I asked the “chef” what the full menu was which he rattled off ( in Tamil ) and it all sounded great and reminded me of my days in Madurai ( where I though he was from but he said Trichy ) . He took one look at me and “guessed” that I would probably come only in the evenings ( diplomatically did not mention “after a few stomach liners at home” ) and said there would be enough parking space and that they are open till 11 PM ! Amazing !

  4. Many of my friends think that how I get about with no car, is kind of interesting…especially when I relate a little tale from the journey. One of my friends who was travelling overseas, when she returned she said “you would have been so proud of me, finding my way around cities without a car”

    She is retired, I asked her once if she would like to visit a Gallery some way from here, and she immediately said “we shall go by car…” I hadn’t the heart to say “what about a day trip on P/Transport” because she said she didn’t have much time! The object I thought of our trip was to show her how I “create those tales” 🙂
    Cathy in NZ recently posted..Side Study Stepping

    1. Yes, that is one aspect that I did not cover. If I am driving, some of the stuff that I notice otherwise tend to be ignored as I have to concentrate on the driving, It is when I am in an autorickshaw that I notice most traffic related things.

    1. That is another way of living about which I shall write after my next week end trip to my friend’s farm house where I go every alternate month for some male bonding and rural food.

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