I am sure you had no inkling that I was the culprit – that it was this despicable me who caused climate change; that I am the guy who’s responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer, the melting of the glaciers, the increase in the global temperature, and everything else that is wrong with our Earth climatically!
But Mom thinks I am.
Perhaps I overreach when I say that “I” am the one responsible for climate change – I should keep my language inclusive and say, “my kind.” But then Mom doesn’t care about the newfangled norms of inclusive communication, nor does she think that there are others of my kind – for her, I am a unique piece of work, a man who shot himself in both his feet – in the first foot by marrying a girl who became his bane, and in the second foot by leaving a cushy job and becoming a programmer. She, of course, doesn’t say this in English…she uses the gorier and more violent hindi expression – apne payr per khud kulhari maari hai tumne,” (you swung an axe to chop off your own feet!)
I apologize for digressing, but talking about Mom makes me lose my sense of direction – actually, if I followed Mom’s example and talked gory, when I talk about her, I feel like a freshly decapitated chicken who has lost his sense of purpose.
But oh, I’ve digressed even further. We were talking about climate change, and Mom’s belief that I, her errant son, is the man who has caused it.
Let me lay it out for you – plain and simple, unsalted and un-spiced!
I was on phone, talking to an acquaintance about a mobile app, when I felt the quality of the air around me change. I could feel it heat up and trust me when I say that I even felt a build up of static energy around me. With the phone still in my hand, I turned to identify the source of the heat. Right there, about two feet from me, stood Mom – huffing and puffing, and fuming from her ears and nostrils. She stood akimbo, her feet planted firmly on the ground, as far from each other as the perimeter of her saree would permit, and her huge round eyes bore into me.
When Mom stands like that, she means business – and in her case, business means giving me run down on one of my crimes.
So I hastily ended the conversation with my acquaintance, and turned to face her fully.
“Yes Mom,” I asked, trying to appear brave, like I didn’t care even if she has a machete hidden behind her.
“So you are the one,” she jabbed a finger at my nose.
That made me curious. She couldn’t be thinking of me as “the one” who’d save the world. Spiderman, Superman, Wonder woman, Green Lantern, Batman, Cat Woman…there was a whole brigade recruited by DC Comics and Marvel guys, who were working their butts off to save the world. And yet, who knew – Mom might’ve seen something in me that had escaped the creators of these superheroes!
“The one?” I enquired.
“The one who is causing this whole issue of climate change. The one who is making the world hotter. The one who is responsible for the odd-even scheme, that has made us miserable!”
“The odd-even scheme? But Arvind Kejriwal is responsible for it, and you know it,” I forgot those other allegations by her…for this I had proof!
“You, he, what is the difference? He studied in IIT, he became a politician; you studied in IIT, you became a programmer. See how both of you took an axe to your feet?”
The fact that becoming the chief minister of Delhi is no mean feat and by no means comparable to becoming a programmer, was lost on Mom.
“And you are worse than Arvind Kejriwal,” she continued, “you and your programmer friends are the reason why we have been facing climate problems, which led to the odd-even scheme, and I had to pay twice the regular fare to hire a cab to go to Delhi on the 23rd, because the number of your bucket of bolts ends in a 4!” she spewed it all forth in one fiery breath, as she towered and I cowered.
“Please explain, Mom. How am I responsible for climate change?” Even when under parental fire, a programmer can’t let go of his need to understand the logic.
“You are one of those who are messing up the clouds, aren’t you? You access the cloud, you store stuff on the cloud, you and your ilk engage in cloud-corrupting!”
And then it dawned upon me.
“Cloud-computing?” I said.
“Call it what you will – all I know is that one mustn’t mess with nature. You use those clouds for other things, then they don’t do what they are supposed to do – THEY…DON’T…MAKE…RAIN!”
Note for the readers of the QSM Magazine:
The May-June Issue of the QSM Magazine should roll off the line by May 15th. The theme of this issue is “juggling responsibilities.” Have your say in it, by sending me your thoughts in less than 150 words by May 10th.