Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hippies On the Plane

"Oh, they are for real!" That was my thought when I met this girl on a flight from Bratislava (Slovakia) to Charleroi (Belgium) .

I was always fascinated by the word Hippy. The image of rebellious free souls indulged in their own world and having attitude of a lone warrior against all evils was something which always intrigued me.

That day, when Alex sat next to me little did I know that I was going to meet a "tree hugging hippy".

She couldn't find a place to keep her handbag and I helped her by making some space. We took our seats.
She asked me why I was travelling to Brussels. I said I had an appointment there but it got cancelled, so I am just travelling. She asked what kind and I answered, and she exclaimed.. ah Engineering.

Alex - Do you like it? (Engineering)

I - umm.. it's complicated. What do you study?

Alex - Business Management. Are you from India? you look like one.

I - Yes.

Alex - Oh, you guys have such an ancient culture. I like India.

- Have you been there?

Alex - No, but my brother has visited India. One of my friends is Indian. I know about Yoga and Chakras. I wonder how it feels like when someone awakens the Chakras? Do you meditate?

I - As I know it, awakening the Chakras and be the enlightened one is a difficult process which requires years of practice. and I don't meditate. Most of us don't. It's because of the western people who are following Yoga now, that we (Indians) acknowledge that it's a kind of life reforming technique. Otherwise, most Indians do not follow it even if it was originated in India.

Alex - I see. Don't you believe in it?

I - We do, it's just that most of us are busy in making money and following the west that we tend to ignore our own culture. We want to become a developed nation like the US.

Alex - But why? I think that the western countries are polluting earth, if everyone starts to do the same then we will kill the earth.

I - I used to think like that, over the years my perception changed.

In order to earn respect, nation has to become strong. I have met no one who praised my country because we conserve our Tigers and our rain-forests. It's not an easy job to protect wildlife. Still, they call us third world country.

Now a days we get recognition because we are developing as a economic production house just like China. In order to earn respect and protect our borders my nation has to be heavily industrialized. No one cares if a weaker country gets invaded. We have to be strong so that the world would care about us because they will then have mutual interest in our sovereignty.

Alex - Why would someone will invade India?
The powerful people spread fear in the masses because they want to control us. They mix.. what is that chemical.. ah.. Fluorine in our water so that they could lower our IQs. The dumber we are, the more obedient we will be. Have you noticed the chemtrails.. these days?

I - What is that?

Alex - The white lines behind airplanes?

I - Ah, okay that what about it?

Alex - It lasts for hours these days. Earlier it used to get dissipated so quickly. They are spraying these chemicals above us to get the same effect as what Fluorine does to us.

I - I feel like those are conspiracy theories and they might not be true.

Alex - Yes, it's true.
They are polluting earth so fast. They don't want us to know. They are producing carbon dioxide and also extracting it from Ocean beds so fast to make money. You know oceans absorb the CO2, but we are producing it so heavily that it will remain in atmosphere for ages.

I - I agree on the CO2 production part. It's bad.. and no one is doing anything about it. But the genie is out of the bottle. You cannot ask the developing nations to slow down especially when it established that Industrial nations dominate the world. Who wants to be a weak nation and get patronized by a superpower?

They meet for Climate change conferences and do nothing about it. The carbon credit system was good. The carbon producing nations has to pay those who have forests to curb it. But I don't see its effective implementation. Then how it is going to stop? You tell me, what are you doing about it?

Alex - Well, I oppose consumerism. There is so much already available, we can use it instead of making more. For example, I buy second hand clothes. There is a shop in Brussels where you can buy used clothes. It's not that I cannot afford new one, but if we all buy used goods, we produce less, the less the demand, the less there will be exploitation of resources and people from underdeveloped countries.

Also, an airplane produces so much carbon dioxide. I don't prefer to fly because of that. I generally hitch-hike.

I - well, that's a noble thought. But, I think that when people buy clothes made in underdeveloped countries, they are kind of supporting their economy. I am aware about the exploitation, but I think it's better to have some food than starving without it. They will slowly move up from the poverty.

And hitch-hiking.. well it's easy to get ride for a girl like you.. :) what about guys like us in a foreign country?

And as I said, the chain reaction has started. If it's going to end in the apocalypse, then it will.. I don't think anyone can stop it.

Alex - We will stop it. I will stop it.. you will see. Smiles..
For now, I will study for my French exam tomorrow.

And then she went on reading her notes. I looked at her matted hair, the ornaments in it. I wondered if she will remain as hopeful as she is after the college or will become disillusioned about changing the world on her own..

It was like glimpse from the past, the hippy in me, now brick in the wall.. maybe the Fluorine works fast as one ages.

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