Thursday, February 23, 2017

Of the pavement

I've started a new column for The Hindu focused on the road. Here's the first:

There’s a phrase in Hindustani, ‘paidal-haal’. A pedestrian state of being. It is a metaphor, but it doesn’t suggest ordinary or unimaginative as it does in English usage. ‘Paidal-haal’ implies vulnerability and difficulty, a reduced state. Who, after all, chooses to go on foot if he can afford a set of wheels? And, if he can’t afford wheels, any wheels, why then!

The implication is that wheels make life easier. A car is better than a bicycle, three wheels are better than two, a four-horse chariot is better than a bullock-cart, and your own two feet are precious and must be used sparingly.

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