For the purpose of this essay, my name shall be Newton, and I shall propound my theories on ‘Loss of Motion’ which are based on years of experimentation and validation with my car on a variety of roads in India. The basis of the experiment is that I impart motion to my vehicle by pressing the accelerator pedal and then study the various mechanisms by which this motion is lost by braking. These various braking circumstances shall collectively be referred to as ‘Loss of Motion’ by scholars.
‘A body at rest shall remain at rest until acted upon by a force’ so wisely stated by Newton. The loss of motion begins right at the parking lot when I start out on my journey to office. I started out to office and reached the car park to take out my stationary car. There was resistance to its motion by way of thoughtlessly parked two wheelers, aslant in jaunty angles. With the application of my meager muscular force, I rolled them out of my path and prepared to set my car into motion. The sound of my car starting, sent a cat scurrying out from beneath the chassis and its gaze made it clear to me that I had incurred the wrath of this dainty feline, adding one more sin to my already weighty bag of sins.
The car was now upon the road, out into the open and challenging world. I dodged a lazing cow, squatted on the road, whisking away flies with its tail. A construction site, with construction long halted ,was the next barrier to surmount. The cone of heaped sand, gradually stabilized into a broader base, extending into the road and my car just about to stall, heroically overcame the loss of motion and resumed its adventurous journey into the realm of unknown challenges.
Stalking the prey ? In case you thought I was out hunting, you are wrong. I merely arrived at the highway into which I had to enter. My colony was located at a lower level than the road. This was so because the highway was a prestigious one and its surface was often re-laid. After successive re-laying, the road reached a considerable height over the feeder roads. I lost motion and stood at the point where I had to make a calculated and strategic entry into the highway. ..strategic because you can’t halt if you have started. Vehicles whizzed past on the highway and I waited at the start of the treacherous slope. I needed to make an irreversible forward push, since if I did not clear the slope, I would slide back, to the delirious shrieks of the drivers behind me. I needed to find a split second opportune opening when I could accelerate my car and get lodged in the gap between speeding cars, buses and trucks. I drew inspiration from the jungle carnivores depicted in the Discovery Channel, that stalked their prey and made an opportune dash. This inspiration is the one that invariably found me into the elevated highway, to pursue my journey. I gained a lot of motion and momentum, only to lose them soon.
Uniform Random motion
After a short stint on the highway, I enter the town that houses my office. It’s school time and the road is milling with students in uniform. I see bright faces in the morning sun, smiling students with heavily oiled hair , tightly combed or plaited ,depending on the gender context. Loners trudge wearily, under the load of their bags, with an unsteady swagger imparted by the load that needs to be constantly restored to the shoulder. I honk my horn which goes unheeded. I negotiate carefully and now come upon a group of social guys in their school uniforms. As I approach them, it appears one of them cracked a joke and made the others recoil into spasms of laughter. They pack punches on each other and the imminent recipient of the blow, scuttles away cleverly. I wondered whether this helter skelter motion of the uniformed bodies is what is referred to as ‘uniform random motion’ , though a paradox it appears to be. Any way, this random motion accounted for a further loss of motion.
Autos-possessed and un possessed :I am not speaking as an exorcist. It is the working of my analytical mind which began to discern from behind, as to whether an auto in front of me is looking for a customer or is already occupied. That is to annunciate, ‘an auto exists in two distinct phases-possessed and un-possessed ‘.An un-possessed auto in front of you would be civilisedly slow and would be scalar in motion, with no direction constraint. It would be slow and block your way. You had better be very vigilant about un-possessed autos-they would come to a grinding halt at the sight of a prospective passenger. If you had been lost in thought, you would ram the auto, to dire consequences for your self. I constantly lost motion to these meandering and wandering un-possessed autos. Once a customer is found and the fare fixed after a period of haggling, the auto at once becomes possessed. It races ahead, exploiting all narrow clearances in traffic , sending a chill down your spine. How a speeding three wheeled object could stay upright in spite of the complex orbit it undertakes, is an excellent case study on the stable equilibrium of individually unstable forces. Thus careers a possessed auto, I concluded and could from then on, tell a possessed one from one not possessed.
Swans on a placid lake Not all the denizens of the road are in a tearing hurry. I discovered those ‘Swans on a placid lake’. I catch up with a cyclist who pedals with the utmost economy of motion and is an excellent surveyor in that after every push of the pedal, he surveys the scene around him. He lets the bike move with its inertia until the cycle wobbles due to under speed and then he imparts another push of the pedal. Every attempt of mine to overtake him is thwarted by the approach of a vehicle In the opposite direction. Meanwhile the dhothi of the cyclist ,playing truant with his waist, demanded his frequent attention , which he bestowed with un harried disposition. At long last, I caught an opportunity to get past the ‘swan on the placid lake’ and see him with relief ,in my rear view mirror.
Mobile mobiles and Static mobiles I apply the brakes slightly and thus suffer a loss of motion, for there ahead, is a halted bike, not quite on the sidelines and eating into some space on the road. The rider had halted to attend a call on his mobile, so engrossed in conversation as to forget that he was in control of the road. To get past him was elusive for long, as the onslaught of on coming traffic held me back. Capitalising on my stock of patience which friends vouch as being ample, I finally get past him and am soon stalled by the presence of a slow moving bike. Bikes and speed are synonymous, but this one was pathetically slow. Closer observation of the acutely slanted head of the rider revealed that he was in conversation on his mobile and held the device pinched between his cheek and shoulder. I gain motion now, with a challenge .
Ox Power (vs) Horse Power I clear the town with all its commercial buzz and set off into the road leading out of the town. Just ahead of me, from a narrow lane, I hear the jingling of horns and the rumble of hoofs and soon a bullock cart makes its entry into the road ahead of me. I catch up with the bullock cart ( I congratulated myself for my speedy driving !).An opportune moment to overtake the ox cart eludes me. Just when the road widens and affords me a chance, a bike comes racing from the opposite direction and I re-position behind the ox. The road is again narrow and the ox strides the path. The cart driver half heartedly goads his oxen, but they know his vibrations and they maintain their placid trot. It was a clear case of ox power dominating the horse power that my car manufacturer boasts of. Now, I had pressure to deal with the ox. A huge ‘SCORPIO’ that raced up behind me, now honked impatiently from behind me. The mounting pressure was lost on the placid oxen that kept their leisurely pace. Silent horns of the bulls ahead and the blaring horns of the bully behind! The angry honking behind me, launched me into a rash overtake of the bulls, inviting the wrath and invectives of an on coming biker who I passed precariously. I mentally neutralized the abuses that I received ,against the various encomiums that were showered on me in official functions ! Looking through the rear mirror, I had the morbid satisfaction of seeing the SCORPIO now trapped and ensnared behind the ox cart, trying to find a sneaky opening.
Inanimate and animal challenges As I left ‘civilisation’ and embarked upon the exiting road, I found that the loss of motion was now governed and regulated by the terrain. Ditches and mounds took their turns to curtail my progress and kept my brakes in good trim. I passed more dogs and cats than humans now. The cats that wanted to cross the road took liberties first and then, when I showed chivalry to them, they aborted the attempt to cross. Dogs had an uncanny sixth sense. Some ignored me after summing me up by the corner of their eyes. Some others saw potential villainy in me and barked ferociously and chased my car, forcing me to up the window panes in protection.
End in sight . Just when I thought enough was enough, the gates of my office mercifully appeared and I entered to the smart salute of the sentry !