Today, sitting in a tightly packed Auto-rickshaw which was shared among seven other people, I witnessed myself sitting in what a discourse between Plato and Socrates would have been like in the modern era. I was shocked how much I was like them in my undergrad years and how most of those common visions and beliefs I had shared were now replaced by something more realistic but impure and vulgar. In twenty seven minutes I carefully heard their views on poetry and writing, drama societies in the city and their culture, politics, media and newspapers, men losing their brilliance after marriage, college privatisation and their extortion tactics, cellphone technology and surveillance, revolutionaries and finally it came to the descriptive praises of the breasts of their newly married college senior’s wife. No one had been paying any attention until the last topic was mentioned and now it held the attention of each and every man in that vehicle. You don’t really need to clear the SAT to appreciate that one. This was exactly when both these young philosophers had reached their destinations and gotten off. It was a pity that the others couldn’t follow the brilliant discussion now and had to stay but the pain of missing out on this last piece of immense knowledge was evident on everyone’s faces. I could now see what the world was all about. The Internet cooed into my ears with the slightly cool but pleasant September wind, familiar words and the answer to it all – “Tits or GTFO!”
I look at images of big influential cities slowly embracing the evening with sunsets that turn the sky into a painting of a holy battle between the cold and the warmth. The glare of the day’s dying god bounces off the colossal glass structures diffusing into a mellow orange. I can’t help but drift off and think of the lives of the people out on those streets in that moment, holed up in their apartments, coming home from work early, putting on their shoes to go somewhere else, feeding the cats, returning from funerals, studying for an exam the next day – I try to see them all. I consider the story of each and every one of them and feel like a benevolent crease of the universe experiencing itself but then my head begins to hurt which makes me quickly stop. All of them so precious but all of them will someday cease to be. Limited and occupied, I realize, I am just like them.
And there is something very special about sunsets. People write about mornings all the time but to me, mornings feel limited – they have a single direction and purpose and are generally the same for everyone. Sunsets are where one sees possibilities. If you need to really study humans, look at them during sunsets – the variance in their plans for the remaining hours will overwhelm you. It is the time when people start getting fidgety at work, it is when the self-enforced monotony starts losing its grip. And at a particular moment, not a fixed time though, it breaks – as if it were waiting for that one streetlamp to turn on earlier than usual.
Looking far into the future, these buildings that proudly reflect the evening will also fade away into new structures of either either man or nature. Only the orange hue of days like these would probably remain. I wish it does. It is all that matters.