Me and The Art of Philosophizing While Driving

The past month had me thinking about a lot of things. I realized, that it might have been because I traveled a lot last month. Out on vacations in the most beautiful valley on Earth, every day I traveled at least four hours by car to and from our sightseeing destination for the day. And during these long hours, while half the time would be spent in answering my son’s increasingly persistent questions and taking in the breathtaking scenery, the other half would be spent in silent rumination, for by that time the sonny would be exhausted with his own questioning and the hubby would be gently nodding off from the safety of the seat belt in the front seat. I have always been taught that at least one co-passenger should be awake and alert when the driver is driving long distances (although, it beats me, who taught me that?) and so, even though sleep would threaten to blind my eyes and take me away into the land of distorted reality, I would fight it with all my might. And in the process, novel thoughts would begin to form in my mind. Thoughts about love, life and marriage. Thoughts about why the situation in Kashmir was what it was. Thoughts about why people behave the way they do. The mind would draw unique and interesting metaphors from the scenes unfolding beyond the shades of our car. Metaphors, like nothing I have heard or read before. And I would be proud of having coined them.

Coming to think of it, it’s not just the past month that I have thought like this. My mind goes into a philosophizing mode whenever I am in a vehicle, be it self driven or chaffeured. Many a story orΒ blog post has had its roots in the random ramblings atop a bike or inside a car. Especially on roads that are relatively empty, and surrounded by vast fields on both sides, and especially on days when Sun smiles upon us indulgently, not glares at us through fiery yellow glasses, I settle on to a comfortable 30-40 kmph on my bike, and my mind sets off on a journey of its own. At such times, I feel a bit like the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, that wise (or should I say cracked up) man who fitted the deepest of philosophies within the structure of fiction. So deep, that I would find my self consistently drowned and lost in its depth, before eventually giving it up as too much over my head. Yet, the way he philosophized stayed with me, for he too narrates the entire gamut of his philosophies perched on his motorbike in the book, on a cross-country ride from Minnesota to North California.

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Courtesy: UltimateMotorCycling.com

Yet, I wonder if such a feat would have been possible outside the leaves of the book. For if he did think it all up while driving his bike, it would have been one hell of a task to remember the whole thing and later reproduce in a book, not missing a turn of phrase here or a unique idiom there.All the more so, since I don’t think there were smartphones with apps like Evernote then. The very enormity of the task takes away the mysticism from these ‘Chautauqua’ (as he terms these discussions). It leaves the reader reminded that it is all, but fiction.

Even being in possession of a smartphone with the Evernote App in it, I find converting these thoughts to words a daunting task. As soon as the car comes to a stop or my bike reaches its destination, the machinations of the world take over, pushing my carefully sculpted thoughts to the deeper crevices of my mind. And although I promise myself to extract them as soon as I am able to get away and store them in the precious pensieve of my writings (read, my blog), by the time I get around to doing that, I have conveniently forgotten them. The thoughts get lost in those dark, unknown labyrinths. As for the App, somehow, using it is just not happening to me. No, I am not technologically challenged. At least, not that much. But I find, typing a whole post on the cell phone quite arduous. Or May be, I am just plain lazy.

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12 comments on “Me and The Art of Philosophizing While Driving

  1. I do my best thinking when I am driving. Not very safe as some must say, but I think we train half our minds to be alert where the other half ruminates and ponders and thinks ! Lovely post.

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  2. It is a strange sensation indeed. Philosophising whilst driving. Or being driven for that matter. But you can’t really stop your mind from wandering can you. For somewhere out there, motoring down the same road or hiding amongst the rolling hillsides or playing peek-a-boo through the dark, beastly forest or even spying through the surface of the shimmering lake, is the topic for our next post.

    But yes, silence is key. Unless you can miraculously tune out every single unnecessary sound.

    Great come back post Yamini. Looking forward to reading more.

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  3. i am learning to write, rather I am learning to drive (my lessons began just yesterday) But that does not snatch away my day dreaming instincts in the car that is chauffeured by someone else, especially if it is long distance. And the thoughts receive an abrupt end as soon as I reach the destination. Sad, most of the time I even forget about it, leave alone writing them down. Your unusual post brought me into ‘that “me” space “!!

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  4. That’s true. You automatically switch to thinking mode while driving. And the best part is while your body performs the driving part, your brain continues to think about various matters simultaneously.

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