Sunday, August 23, 2009

Men In The Mirror

Everyday as I drive to office, I dread that one minute, the time to be spent in the lift. The lift in my office has reflecting surfaces on all four sides and on top.

Usually I am never alone in the lift. It’s a joy being the only person in that lift. You can look at yourself from all angles. Make faces. Plus there is that comfort of your own space. But such days are rare.

You keep waiting for lift to come down to the parking floor and by that time there are at least 5-6 fellow travelers who wait with you. You greet the ones whom you know. The doors of the lift open and everyone gets in. Nothing new about it. The process is similar almost everywhere.

But, we have reflecting walls in the lifts. Normal human beings, who greeted each other, now are in a very uncomfortable state. You can’t look anywhere. Six people entered the lift, but they find themselves surrounded by thirty virtual ones in various dimensions. Not only that, those thirty reflect each other and multiply exponentially. If you look straight, you would always find yourself staring at one of those many men/women. Quickly you turn your eyes and there it is, the same person from different angle. If the group that entered, has a mix of genders, things become even more embarrassing. Once, one of my reflections caught eyes of another’s reflection and both of them blushed and said “hi” to each other.

So, as a coping mechanism, a person tries to look at the digital display which shows the floor number the lift is currently on. But if you just see only that person in a video, he would look like an extremely nervous person, too anxious to get to his floor and only half trusting the lift to take him there.

Hence, follows the great guilt show. Everyone stares at the floor. Shameful, heads hung low, looking at their buttons/mobile/shoes/paunch. Once again, if you see this video, you would know that each one of them is sorry; sorry for their past deeds and sorry for bringing in so many intruders in that weird combination of real and virtual spaces. They feel, they shouldn’t have been there.

And whenever the lift door opens, it’s a feeling of liberation. Like a curse is broken. Even if it’s not your floor, you can still look outside the lift or look at those who enter and exit on the pretext of making space to stand. Then you notice the same phenomenon with the new entrants. They look all around for a fraction of second, get scared, and then look at the digital display and then finally join the guilt parade.

One day I entered quite defiantly in the lift resolving that I would not allow the circumstance to make a fool of me. So I stood upright that day. And as I looked at all those heads, I had to bit my lips real hard to stop myself from laughing. It was funny. And I asked myself :Why the guilt ?

Since then, I’ve learnt to hold my own and not be shameful for reasons beyond control. Repetition has taken the humor out of the situation. Instead, a spiritual feeling transcends every time I see all of us, and our reflections which seem to be having a life of their own. The way every one behaves, trying to be non-intrusive, thereby expecting the same from others, it leaves you feeling that deep down inside we are all one. Thoughts and experiences are different, but Mother Nature has nurtured us all on the same principles of evolution: mental, physical and emotional. We are all just another manifestation of the unique miracle called life.

I am sure,with time, a new perspective would replace this one and I would update this post when that happens :).

45 comments:

Harshita said...

Another intelligent and deep post from you.

It started on a rather hilarious note but the last few lines sums it all up with all seriousness.

Thank God!! I never had to take that lift... but yes, there are other funny things that happen in a lift... like ppl staring at u and u catching them doing tht purposely...

THAT look on the guilty's face is worth it :D :D

AJai said...

Looks like you've been 'lifted'!
;)

bondgal_rulz said...

A very very interesting and different take on a thing as mundane as this could not have been expected from anyone but you.

Loved reading it. :)

Cheers

Preeti Shenoy said...

Whenever I am in a lift if I like the looks of somebody I make eye contact and smile. Usually it is reciprocated (advantages of being a woman):) If I don't like somebody I make up stories about them in my head :P

Very nice observations but I must say here that it is slightly limited as I am guessing you have not been in lifts with a child :)

Children proceed to study people guilelessly. If you haven't trained them well, they proceed to embarrass you with direct questions as well. (My friend's child asked "maaa--why is that lady so fat?")

And the worst thing about lifts is if somebody releases you know what :) YUCK and UGH--not breathing till you reach your floor is very hard :)

Cheers
preeti

Choco said...

Spirituality could be enhanced/found inside a lift...Who knew :P
But I empathize..I hate sharing lifts...and have had some strange experiences in it..So thank you thank you for the spiritual angle...Can't wait to try it out! :)

gayathri-vishwanathan said...

oh my god, who on the earth could imagine that lifts of all the places would actually be a topic to blog about...too good bp! i am enlightened.

BrownPhantom said...

@Harshita,
Thanks :).
I don't know how that look looks . But surely most be worth it :)

@Ajai,
Sahi baat..High level tha :). Thanks.

@bondgal
Thank yuo so much for the praise :)

BrownPhantom said...

@Preeti,
Hee hee.
Well this is a official lift and hence no children, neither eye-contacts with strangers :).
But yes, in normal lifts, things can be funny and intolerable :).
Thanks :).

@Choco,
:). Strange experiences. Maybe you should blog abt them. My life in lift has been eventless :). Thanks

@Gayathri,
:). It is not an ordinary lift, mind you :). It reflects .
Thank you so much :).

Arslan said...

Lol! :D

I read somewhere that a building had slow lifts and so they hired a technician to fix the problem. The guy installed mirrors inside after which the complaints for the slow lift dropped. The story may be apocryphal though. And pruning in front of the mirror only works when you're alone, as you've pointed out.

Interesting post to say the least. :)

TinTin said...

kaafi interesting aur funny observation from our everyday life..

awkward guilt parade it is :)- true.

posters and notices inside save us sometime..

Vipul Grover said...

anothr gem of a post:)
Man u cn write about jus anything frm evryday life nd make it sound so funny n philosophicl at same time!
(this was hopefully d last cmmnt eulogizing u, in future i'll try 2 cmmnt only on d cntnt of d post:)

Diya said...

Nihilistic Determination at the end! LOL :P And spirituality at the end! Thats the height of what a lift can offer you ;)
Is this to make everybody realize that somewhere or the other we are the same guilty souls trapped into a human body... eh? ;)
Great post.
Cheers :)

Aparna said...

Sharing your lift with 6 other people can be truly an uncomfortable experience.

I always look down at my shoes and wait for some vision to appear there.Wish I could afford to make faces even when I was alone, but since the lift has security cameras, no such attempt has ever been made by me. I dont want to be referred to as '804 ki woh pagal madam by the watchmen'

Shruthi said...

And I shall wait for that post :) would make an interesting sequel to this one.
It’s hard to come across such keen observers BP and let me first ask you to take a bow for being one. Great post as always.
The spiritual touch had me thinking and made me look forward for an ‘elevated’ experience next time when in lift :)

pravanjan said...

My problem with lifts is the impatient guys pressing both the up and down button simulteneously. That pisses me off every time and then I try to find the scenarios in which the waiting personals are only going to waste more time by pressing both the buttons - of course I could only get to a part of all combinations before I reach to my floor.

Scattered Thoughts... said...

Hah.. a very different perspective I will say.. I can make sure you will never be out of ideas for writing this blog.. :)

BTW, thinking about it, isnt it a dumb decision to have mirrors all over the life.. what were they thinking of? a trial room ?

Scattered Thoughts... said...

Typo - all over the life = all over the lift

Prasant Naidu. said...

Nice!! there are some more problems one is when its a stuffed lift then you have to really think who are all in ur periphery and if its an opposite sex the more cautious u become. oh yes not to forget lovely perfumes doing a mix up in the atmosphere and you will always find some one blaring his music from his ipod :)

Nice and interesting read .
Keep Rocking,
PN

Indian Pundit said...

Very Interesting post.

Destination Infinity said...

It's quite hard to write an off-beat post that too about travelling in lifts! I guess only you can think of making it seriously funny! BTW you have been tagged on the topic 'Fast Furious and Danceable songs'

Destination Infinity

AJ said...

looks like, Adnan sami was there in this lift, when he penned his song "lift karadey"!!! :D

bad PJ...but good post.... :D

cheers
AJ

Anonymous said...

i love the last part the best

-Delphian Oracle

Nish said...

I agree with Pravanjan ..I hate when impatient guys press both up and down button simulteneously. We had a traditional lift with no mirror in my old office where a lift boy assisted us to reach our floor.We used to discuss his Job description when he might have applied for this job. There was a high level of uncertaintity associated with that lift and we used to discuss what will we do if this lift go for a free fall. one of the suggestions was : we should grab the railing above for less impact.I suggested to jump on the oldest man in the lift ..I know its cruel but probability of getting out alive was much higher. badhiya post hai bhai :) yahan singapore mein 10 second mein 37th floor par pahuch jaate hai, what a contrast !!

vins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Me said...

Phantom, you astound me each time I read your blog. you introduce sucha new perspective to look at certian situations..
you are right..we often fall victim to circumstance, feel guilty about things we never did...
"Deep down same inside"..true :)
it felt as if u had an out of body experience and overviewed the whole situation from above..
.. You've initiated a chain of thoughts in me..Danke Phantom :)

B said...

Very deep. Loved the way you summed up everything in those beautiful last lines.

I hate tiny, cramped up places with too much of junta. Then to talk of an elevator with reflecting mirrors where you see them 5 times around :)

preposterous girl said...

Woo Hoo.. Spirituality in a lift.. I mean of all the places - A lift..
Observation.. :-)
I read somewhere in some kind of lateral thinking example. that they put up mirrors in the slow lift..so that people don't complain.. Was that example lift-ed form your office.. :P

Stupidosaur said...

Maybe the building architect (or at least one who decided matter regarding lift decor) wanted everyone to be so friendly (like the hi you and another lift passenger said to each other).

But humans are funny.

numerounity said...

Hmmmm....the bai post was interesting. We have got wares more than yours and we are lazier than you. We? me n my roomie who are happile snoring when maids enter the house..hee hee...

There are strange things that ppl do in the lifts...by strange i mean strange!

Hey good to see you in Indiblogger of the month- My vote goes for you!

umangexuberance said...

lol
very very interesting take at something as mundane as traveling by the office lift.
We have lifts with reflective surfaces too, so I guess I do know what you are talking about :)

Mehar said...

Hello Friend,  Hope everything is fine.
I am a researcher from psychology department. Interested in bloggers and their behavior. My  research topic is "Blogging Improves Self-Identity".  In connection with my research I need your help.  If you spare your mail id, I will be sending  the research questionnaire's to your mail Id.   You can give your responses to the questionnaire. My mail Id is meharun@gmail.com. Kindly cooperate in this survey. Your response will be used only for research purpose.  To end with friendly note, I am always ready to help you if you have any queries or doubts related to psychology. Thank you.
 
Meharunnisha
Doctoral Candidate
Dept of Psychology
Bharathiar University
Coimbatore - 641046
Tamil Nadu, India
meharun@gmail.com

Kokonad said...

Heh heh! This is cool! I love being alone in elevators too! Except when it is a capsule elevator, and except when there is a power cut! :(
And yeah, when I was a kid, I used to love elevators so much that I liked pressing the button even when I didn't intend to use it.
I got really reprimanded once for doing that!

umangexuberance said...

lol
u did that too??
I remember i used to love riding up and down alone in elevators and my mom used to get so freaked about it. she was so sure i was going to end up getting stuck in one and dying of suffocation :D

santasizing...Fantasizing said...

Been hibernating for some time..and hence the delay..
and gosh i read this one yesterday...and since then everytime I have been in a lift,I have been observing people and guarding my own reactions...
so well captured!!!!
indeed was damn funny:)

santasizing...Fantasizing said...

Been hibernating for some time..and hence the delay..
and gosh i read this one yesterday...and since then everytime I have been in a lift,I have been observing people and guarding my own reactions...
so well captured!!!!
indeed was damn funny:)

BrownPhantom said...

@Arslan,
That must be the reason why they put the mirrors here too :). Thanks .

@Tintin,
Shukriya bhai :).

@Vipul,
Thanks dude :). It's ok if you continue praising the writer instead :).

@Diya,
Yes Diya; that angle is very much there too :). Thank you so much .

@Aparna,
Eeks, Security cameras :O.
My flat is number is 804 too :).

BrownPhantom said...

@Shruthi,
Thoda kum karo :). Thanks a lot for your kind words :).

@Pravanjan,
Haan re :).
1-2 din me aana chaiye kuch to.

@Scattered thoughts,
Thanks man :). Yes it is :).

@Prasant Naidu,
You seem to be having some interesting experience there :). Thanks :)

@Indian Pundit,
Dhanyawaad Pundit :).

@Destination Infinity,
Really ?? :) Thank you so much :)

@Aj,
Thanx dude :).

BrownPhantom said...

@Delphian Oracle,
Thank you :).

@Nish,
Durra mat duniya walo ko.

@vins
Really glad that you liked it. Thanks :)

@Me,
Wow:). Wise comment . Thanks a lot :).

@B,
Yes, it does feel claustrophobic. Thanks a lot for dropping by :)

@Preposterous girl,
Good to see you back after a long time :). Thanks .

@Stupidosaur,
Yes, may be :). Thanks dude :).

BrownPhantom said...

@umangexuberance,
Thank you for the kind words :)

@Kokonad,
I would have killed you :) Thanks a lot :)

@Satasizing
Good to have you back from hibernation. Thank you so much :).

Megha said...

Introspective...I think its silence that created the scene. one gets nervous when he knows even his breathing would be heard....what should he do ?

Meghana Naidu said...

strange, just last week i was wondering if lifts, in some para-meta-physical way, resemble the vehicles that take us UP on the day of reckoning.
and considering i dont believe in "a day of reckoning" i decided to look at the lift man straight in the eye instead of counting the number rips in the linoleum
what HE made of that well i cant tell
BUT ofcourse im glad i didnt write about it or else it would have looked like YOU ripped off MY story

vanity no apologies
:D

OK, ill admit it,I couldnt humour like you, No one can do dry humour like you, in fact its so dry its getting your readers all parched (erm..) im sure!

and brilliant imagery. i WAS in the lift with the post ;)

BrownPhantom said...

@Megha & Meghna,
Couldn't stop myself from putting you two together :).
Many many thanks :)

Meghana Naidu said...

megh-A-na

cut-copy-paste child

:P

@megha: howdy half-namesake ;)

BrownPhantom said...

@Meghana,

Oh yes. Just how dumb can one be. I was tempted, and hence checked some of the older posts where I thanked you. The 'A' wasn't missed in any of them . Of course, one goofs up only when one draws attention.
By the way, you bring a lot of visitors to my site through google search results :). They get to hear your snorts instead. Serves them right, not all of those searchers have good intentions :).

Meghana Naidu said...

only when goofed up.. of course ;)

and LOL! does it now!
well you never cease to amaze me ;)
and for that
proudly presenting
*drum roll*
err..
check your inbox
;)