Since coming to Delhi, I have to often visit two offices which are just next to two different Metro stations. These two Metro stations Patel Chowk and Central Secretariat are nearby – they are actually adjacent stations. Initially when I had to go from one place to the other place, I travelled by Metro. Considering my poor knowledge of directions and map illiteracy – it was the safest and time saving options.
Even though I traveled by Metro; It meant a lot of walking within both the stations. One has to get ‘down’ in the Patel Chowk station (as it is an underground station), go through security check, walk a couple of minutes, and then again climb down towards the platform. The women’s coach is at the other end, so again walk on the platform for couple of minutes. The same procedure is necessary to be repeated at Central Secretariat – here only difference is climbing up twice to come out of station and walk for another five to seven minutes to reach the destination. Overall, I walk for 10 to 12 minutes and Metro journey is just a couple of minutes. But as I like to walk and it was the most convenient way for me, I traveled by Metro.
Sometime in November, one of my colleagues asked me how I travelled from one of these to the other place. When I explained that I travel by Metro, everybody around laughed. I asked for explanation. Then I was told that the walking distance between the two offices was just about 10 minutes; and everybody asked, “Why don’t you just walk and reach instead of walking in both the Metro stations? You are walking almost the same distance and also spending additional money. ”
Leaving aside the money argument, I could see the joke and asked one of my colleagues to draw a map for me. With the help of the map, I walked for months. Indeed it was like taking a walk in your backyard. During winter this walk was energetic as I could get few Sunrays. I also came to know about other landmarks and bus routes while walking. This was one of the best walks to have even at 2.00 in the afternoon.
Yesterday, I was leaving one office and the same colleague asked me how I was going to another office. “Oh, I will just walk” I said carelessly.
Now everybody laughed again. I could not see the joke. My sense of humor seems to be limited!! I asked for explanation. Everybody said, “Are you mad? You want to walk at 2.00 in the afternoon? Do you know what the temperature is outside? This is Delhi my dear, don’t take anything for granted.” (As if other cities allow you to take them for granted!!)
Well, fortunately I am healthy enough to walk for 10 minutes even in the Delhi summer – I also have lot of experience of walking in the afternoons. Of course, I did not say any such thing, I just said, “But it is only 10 minutes and is very convenient; so, no problem.”
“Why don’t you take a Metro? It is foolish to walk when there is Metro. Don’t try to save money” said someone.
And I traveled by Metro yesterday.
When I was walking I had justification ‘to walk’, when I am taking a ‘metro ride’, I have justification for that too!
Now, it was my time to smile.
It is amazing to note how my actions and desires change when the context changes. The two places remain at the same point, the walking distance is the same – but sometimes I choose to walk and some other times I choose to travel by Metro. Funniest part is – for both these apparently contradictory actions, I have justification.
If I treat action as the goal and remain attached to it – then problem arrives. Walking in Delhi summer afternoon is not a goal – reaching a destination is the goal. To achieve the purpose; means will vary according to the situation. What works in one situation would be probably useless in another situation.
But what if goal too changes? What if tomorrow ‘walking for 10 minutes in Delhi in the summer afternoon’ is the goal? Then I might have to continue with the oddest of the actions! If the goal is weird, the actions have to be strange enough! (Not that this is my goal - I already have enough weird goals!!)
Goal is the context.
Situation is the Context. Lot depends on what resources I have.
Choice of Means is the Context. Lot depends on what actions I choose to reach wherever I want to reach.
But does the Context really change as I assume?
It dawns upon me that there is only ONE context.
It could be termed as instinct of Survival!
It could be named as instinct of Happiness!
To be honest, Selfishness is the only context with which I live and I move.