Thursday, 10 July 2014

Inertia

I may be a Physics geek to many but this piece is certainly not about Newton’s first law of motion. In layman terms, Inertia is the tendency of a body to resist change. In a truly Indian scenario inertia can be seen as the huge pile of files in government offices, dug-up roads and open potholes with garbage all around (waiting for the stray dogs and monsoon to clean it up) or even the cow sitting in the middle of a busy road. Inertia is the reason we need change in age-old constitutional govt. policies, amends in laws for dealing crime and rape cases. And inertia is the reason people like me just write and do not work on such matters.

Nevertheless, I needed to get my college certificates attested for visa purposes. So, I went to the District Magistrates office for his signature and stamp. I was directed to his clerk for completing the required paperwork. When I asked him to make a file for my work, the babu looked furiously at me for disrupting his untimely chai session. As usual, I was told to wait until further notification. I realized my naiveness when another clerk came forward and signaled me to offer some moolah. Hence, I learned ‘Gandhi’ was the external driving force to set a babu in motion. I did the needful. In between he slipped out saying “Saab se mil ke aata hun”. I was stranded for two hours with only half the work done. Later, I also learned that the speed of his working was directly proportional to the weight I laid on the file. With a lot of persuasion and obviously a hundred bucks more to break his Inertia I was barely able to get my work done before the Magistrate left. 

Well, this was inertia of rest. Bikers and car drivers reluctant to pause on a red light signal around busy crossings is inertia of motion; traffic violations being the most common reasons for accidents. Inertia for us humans is, therefore, our mentality and approach towards life. The habits we don’t want to change. The routine we don’t want to break apart from. Everyone wants change to happen around them. But very few actually want to be the change!