Sometimes we don’t relate to the environment around us. Sure, we recognise it – days, months or years of being in it makes everything look familiar, yet there are times when it instantly becomes alien. We tread through it, interact with it, transact with it even – almost subconsciously – zombie like as if some well-oiled gears somewhere have automatically been programmed to respond to the environmental stimulus. Somewhere beneath, however, the sense of it all being foreign nags persistently.
It is perhaps the overexposure of the environment and our implicit unconditional acceptance of it all. So much so that we tend to ignore small changes that happen in our environment – often tripping over them, nearly falling down, steadying ourselves, only half-noticing the small changes.
And it is these small changes happening over a period of time, over and over again, which we ignore as too trivial to be noticed, that one day completely change the complexion and make us wonder why we feel alienated in something that we know so well.
You enter a train and you know everything around you – the smell as soon as you enter the carriage, the hard cushions of the seats, the scenes out of the windows, the familiar sound of the wheels on the track.
You are the same too – except a few crinkly wrinkles that have become permanent after years of laughter – the only sign perhaps – of how much you laughed once upon a time. And all the small changes zip past you – like the angles of the roofs of homes – built as if out of a mould, devoid of any sense of identity.
All this while, your eyes fixate the coach number.