Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Reality of Driving

In the movie Inception (2010), Mr. Cobb is taken by Yusuf to his “Dream Clinic” where people go to dream. What happens is, they are so addicted to artificial inducement of sleep and the dream within this artificial sleep that they have forgotten how to dream within natural sleep. It is quite an unnerving thought.

Driving is also another sort of artificial reality. When you are in the driver’s seat a few of the following things happen.

You become the machine – this is the best possible state of driving. You take feedback from the machine and make the appropriate moves to keep the machine in the best state of running. This is a very delicate process that requires tons and tons of concentration. A boon that is a given for most Formula 1 and Rally drivers. Not all ordinary humans possess this, and thus they attain the following state.

You want to be the machine, but get tired – this is the state many driving enthusiasts find themselves in, they love their vehicle but through the lack of driving skill and required concentration and sometimes ignorance, they are unable to maintain the consistent connection with their machine. So they tend to switch off from time to time. (Even Formula 1 drivers switch off during the race, but that is a totally different level of ‘switch-off.’) And when the ordinary person gets out of the car there is a certain fatigue that has to be shaken off before he can progress to do other things in life like work, play, sleep, etc..

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You don’t bother – this type of drivers are steadily on the rise, they are driving not because they want to drive, but they drive to go from Place A to Place B. These people are most likely to cause interruptions in traffic. Ever saw a guy talking on his mobile while driving? Well, he belongs to this category. They create a lot of frustration to others who are there to drive.

So, I consider myself to belong to the second state when driving. It becomes the reality for the duration you are driving. And it takes time to switch realities once you are finished driving. It especially becomes difficult to switch into another reality in places like Hyderabad, where the traffic and potholes and other unforeseen circumstances keep you on the edge all the time.

And driving is the reality I escape to everyday. There is definitely a lot of thrill in it. A powerful engine at your command. Sometimes, it can become your only reality, but for the other drivers who will break your reverie at the drop of a hat.

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