Constants and Variables

For some it may be the 8:05 local that they’ve been taking to work. For others it may be an eating joint they’ve been visiting with their friends. For yet others it may be a bag that they’ve carried. For me? Well, I haven’t figured it out yet!

The other day I was in my bus (for the last time) travelling to work when an old uncle came up to the bus coordinator and handed him a piece of paper. I was surprised when I looked at the date on that receipt. It dated to 10 years ago! Ten years that uncle had been travelling in the bus ever since the service had been started. Thereafter, the coordinator narrated to me the stories of times gone by. It was at that moment it struck me that there are some things in life that remain constant while the whole world is busy trying to change everything around them. Also, to notice such an occurrence we need to have enough years to look back upon. That’s why I said that ‘for me?’ I’m not really sure what the constant is. Ah! Now that makes me feel young.

Some things don’t change. No matter what! I’m talking about the nice ones here. Some people don’t change. No matter what! And some places don’t change. No matter what! Does that make this world stagnant and regressive? No I don’t think so. All these things/people/ places have a charm of their own. A security about themselves and a sense of calm within them. Maybe that’s why they don’t change.

Here I’d like to confess that I do go back to my old school very often, to see if things have changed. In some measure they have but, largely it still remains the same institution that embraced me when I was 4. And, I come back home with a sense of pride and serenity at how it still retains its charm and grandeur after so many years! I still have friends that I know are the same and when I meet them we share the same warmth. And, it instills in me that some things don’t change.

Alternatively, there are things that change all the time – the ‘variables’. And, if you notice, after a point of time, a variable Y replaces a variable X and we forget about variable X. The worth that these variables have is time bound. Once the time has passed their worth has passed. But, they are required because we need change. Even though we may crib about the change in our lives, we need it. It is human nature to want biryani after many days of eating dal chawal.

But, some of the really valuable things in life do not fall into the category of being a variable. Your favourite book cannot be a variable. The No.1 classic rock song is not a variable. The best misal pav joint cannot be a variable (for you, that is.)

And that is how we live our lives. Not knowing that it is governed by some constants and some variables. Maybe, reflection during a bus ride can bring them to you.  And even if it doesn’t, life will continue to go on like this. It’s simple mathematics that nature will do for you. I sign off hoping that when I grow older I do have some ‘constants’ to look back upon. As for now, I’ll just go back to my attempts at building some ‘variables’.

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