No, it’s not Anthony Gonsalves!
From where I sat in the bus, wedged between passengers crowding the aisle on my right and a fellow-passenger in the window seat enjoying his music on my left, I could not see the words framed on the passenger window at the back of the rickshaw clearly in the twilight hour.
The bus soon came to a stop among honking auto rickshaws, trucks, cars and other buses, headlights waving about and stuttering as impatient souls at wheels sought to throw the gear forward for the few inches of space vacated by the motor in front, each rocking back and forth while edging forward inch by inch in preparation to speed away the moment their turn came except their turn would not come anytime soon for, the busy signal at the intersection of eight, four main, and four service, roads, only went green by turns for not more than 30 seconds.
Lit by headlights from behind I made out My Name Is in the first line but the second, while I could make out ‘R’ or ‘Ra’ in Devanagari, defeated me momentarily in the rush of evening traffic. It’s uncommon, more so now than before, to see the ubiquitous three-wheelers dressed up on the road, and since the few I see are usually the result of Muslim youth preening their rickshaws for the road I pressed my mind for Muslim names to finish up My Name Is ……
Rashid? – Of True Faith, Guided Rightly
Rahim? – Merciful, Compassionate
Rafiq? – Friend, Companion
Riaz? – Devotion
That blazing headlights from behind glazed the letters yellow did not help either. I leaned across the rucksack of my uncomplaining fellow passenger to get a better look, and Lo! … the word was …
My Name Is Raftaar
In the corner of the window, illustrating his declaration to the world - his identity as a man of SPEED (Raftaar) - graced a heaving soul astride a beast I could not quite identify. His back arched in the moment before the beast, its head close to the ground, arches its back before powering forward. Red, blue, and green lights circled the window as if dancing to a tune, a psychedelic display of delight in the middle of a crowded road.
And, between his declaration and the registration number plate, ‘1111’, a number sought no less vigorously than a ‘786’ or a ‘1’ and no less unattainable as for those questing for unique identities to set them apart from the rest in their own cultural and economic milieus, as say, the quest for immortality, was affixed …..
If the identity he sought to acquire for himself needed any reinforcing than the ‘R’, borne like an insignia or better still, a single letter Coat Of Arms, did the job.
R for Raftaar
And, today, 15th August, more so than all other days, as India celebrates its Independence Day and remembers among the greatest of its sons, Mahatma Gandhi, it’s in Mumbai more than elsewhere, a city known for its FAST pace of life, where SPEED separates those who ‘reach’ higher from the also-rans and where time can be exchanged for money, that Mahatma Gandhi's quote provides the greatest contrast and comes the closest to aiding reflection:
"There is more to life than just increasing its speed."
~ Mahatma Gandhi
ahead, it could do well to reflect upon the words of a Roman Philosopher,
Statesman, and Constitutionalist –
“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment.”
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 – 43 B.C.)
Happy Independence Day
Links: Raftaar, Entertainment
1. Invoking the proverbial JatBoy, the presenters, Raftaar and Deep Money, poke fun - all in good humour - at how the Jat community, even if it were to invent a Rocket (unlikely at the last count), would allow little or no belief in its “buddhi” (cerebral abilities) other than for its muscle and power implying "they're no less than the others". At Technospark, Noida.
2. Honey Singh, presents Raftaar
4. Main Teri Heer Hoon, from Raftaar.
5. NDTV (Raftaar) – Dream Riders