Saturday, April 22, 2006

Bean Counted!

We are not people. Not human beings. Not insolent living creatures who challenge the limits of nature's patience with every passing day. No. In our man-made world, of convoluted and complex human idiosyncrasies, we are all numbers.

And if we are the right number in the right place, we have right of passage. Otherwise, we're out of the loop and we will be stranded. After all its nothing personal. We're supposed to be the right number. Its just a numbers game.

So at school you are your rank, you are your percentage, accompanied by a full stop preceding decimals that could sometimes decide the future of your life. At the medical checkup, you are the right weight for the right height, the right chest size and the right chest expanded size for the right age, and the right heartbeat for the right type of activity. Otherwise, you are a loser, a failure, a has-been, an obese couch potato, and a slacker. In that precise order of judgement.

At school, you will always be the wrong shoe size, the wrong chest size, the wrong shoulder size, the wrong sock size, the wrong height, and the wrong waist size till you stop growing. And your parents will always be worried about buying you too many clothes before they grow out of them. Especially that lovely Osh Kosh B'Gosh Overall you wore when you were 4. But ofcourse you were the right age then, and now any age under 25 and over 6 is the wrong age.

And in class you are your roll number, and if you are the right roll number, you are placed with the coolest dude in class and so you will be able to hang out and get cooler. But if you are the wrong roll number, you will be with neither the geeks nor the dudes and will end up being the cat who walks alone, best favourite friend.

And in college, you are first a form number, then a fees receipt number, then an interview number, and finally a class number. If you start early, you might get some kind cute chick's telephone number, and that is always the best numbers to have. As you move on, ATKT numbers, hall ticket numbers, and travel pass numbers, and even more roll numbers, and black list numbers, and protecting your parents' phone numbers, and basketball jersey numbers, and NBA superstar's numbers. And remember, that without the right number at the right time, you will end up being called a dude, an ass, a chemistry handicap, a candidate, a lucky rich kid, an arrogant sports scholarship holder, a future basketball star, and a has-been basketball discard.

And as you progress through life, you are a PAN Card number, a Passport number, a Visa number, a bank account number, a credit card number, a vendor number, a boyfriend number, an office number, a telephone number, a gym membership number, a mobile number.

And yes, you are important. When these numbers are punched by strange fingers on foreign keyboards, doors of countries open for you, banks open their lockers for you, companies invest their money in you, governments assess taxes from you, janitors demand diwali bakshish from you, women demand attention from you because you just might be the one, and cell phone companies offer you more cell phones and more airtime, and gyms offer you extended memberships.

And its not because you are funny. Or because you are good looking. Or famous. Or intelligent. Or because you are rich. Or successful. or happy. Or obedient. Or friendly. No, in fact it even has nothing to do with your scoring rate with women. Or that you can bench press 400 pounds. Or that you can run 30 mins on a treadmill at 10 miles an hour. Or that you have a bad left knee. Or because they felt sorry for you.

No. We are offered all this importance because we are the right number in the right screen at the right time.

I can only hope that luck continues.



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