The Orchestreet

Gopika Velayudhan

I stepped into this street. It's mid-day here. The coolness of the morning, just fading away, bringing in the warmth of the sun. I see so many faces here. I see people with suits on their bodies and cases, in a hurry to catch the bus. And the bus driver, honking his winding way, taking them to their destinations. I see children in their red, white, and blues catching the school bus. And the mothers buying flowers for home on their way back. I see a hatted guy with a guitar, on the side of the street. And teeners tipping him for his beautiful song, in their attires, on their way to dance school. I see a girl painting a wall about animal safety and veganism. And I see farmers selling veggies, fruits, meat, and other fresh produce beside the subway. I see some college going activists fighting for a tree that's getting cut. And on the parallel lane, politicians running their rally for the upcoming elections. I see people jogging on the sidewalk. And a yoga instructor on her way back from a class in the park.

Now I can't help but think how important every single thing I see in this street is, and how all of them individually contribute to this intricate design that is our civilization. We often forget how far we have come from being insignificant apes to what we are now. We are not like the other living beings that mother earth has birthed. We are special, and we always have been. Our journey has been one such the world has never seen before, and we have come a long way. Though our initial journey in evolution has been the same as other animals, we are not like them anymore. Animals have no rules in life, they have no sense of right or wrong. They kill, steal, and rape owing no apology to anyone. Not that they are to blame, their biology is so. But we eventually changed ourselves. Evolutionary science has a lot to say about the increase in our cognitive abilities but not much to say about our moral developments. So it is safe to say that, it is something that we intended to develop. We have worked on ourselves. We have built rules, we have learned to cooperate with each other and to be of help to one another. And it has taken its sweet time and it’s still in process. We do have it ugly at times. We still have wars and famine, but the conditions are much better than what it used to be years ago. We have come a long way since the world wars and black death.

The intension here is not to inspire any more narcissism than we already possess, about being "the rulers of the world", in fact, it's just the opposite. The intension is to make us realize the role we play here. I believe we are no strangers to the phrase “With great power comes great responsibility." And we have so much that we owe to nature, that we owe to our ancestors and their years of hard work to build this life for us. Hence it’s cardinal that we know the importance and consequences of our every action.

This street here is not perfect. There are cracks and potholes in here. There are occasional speeding and drunk driving. Some of the markings on this street have been faded away. And let’s be honest, the traffic control is too poor. Innocent lives are often lost in this mayhem. But it’s our responsibility to be aware of these imperfections and use the talents and abilities we are gifted with to eradicate them and help each other have a smoother ride here. No matter how much we fight with each other, how much we disagree, it's important that we keep going on, on our individual journeys of truth to keep this orchestreet functioning harmoniously.

And this is why we need to encourage the generations that follow, to pursue whatever it is that they want to, to make this street a better one. For that, it's important that they know, everything they want to contribute is valid. In fact, it's necessary that we make use of all that we as human beings are individually capable of. Be it an ability, or a point of view, we need it all, in all shapes and sizes, in all bass and treble.

This mid-day street I see here is a reminder of that. We need our professionals to maintain public interests. Law, order, medicine and educators, they serve our needs and keep the money and resources flowing. We need our artists to remind us that we are still emotional beings. To help us through happiness and pain, and to spread awareness.

It’s also necessary that we keep challenging each other. Veganism has many benefits to the environment and in the alleviation of animal sufferings. But if the whole world goes vegan unemployment and malnourishment will increase in many parts of the world. We need religion and culture to provide faith and solace during uncertain times, but at the same time, we need to be on the watch when this faith is exploited. We need our politicians to represent our needs to the system and we also need activists who challenge the system. We need to help the young shops and vendors local to us, who are trying to come up, enter this street. Every talent deserves a chance, and let’s be honest, it’s often these little shops and boutiques that have the best stuff. We need Mars-colony enthusiasts, we need the tree huggers, we need tarot card readers. I would say we even need the flat-earthers. Let's be honest, it has had us all on our little google research to prove it's not true. It triggered more awareness. It's okay that we always don’t see eye to eye, it’s necessary to keep the fight on. When there is quietness, that's when something’s not right. We need both forces acting to keep this equilibrium going.

Among all the others, I also see myself in this street. Watching it all. Knowing how important it is that I witness this orchestra of talents and potential around me. And let another one know how important what he/she/they/them have to offer to this street is. It need not be perfect. I know you are a work in progress. So am I. So is this orchestreet. But it’s important that we all pitch in. Pun intended. Cheers :D

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