MIDWAY: Alternative vehicles

While visiting Patan Museum with a friend, I came across a particularly well-sculpted statue of Lord Vishnu riding astride the Garuda, the mythical half-man-half-bird biman of the God

of protection. Though Lord Vishnu had not bothered to fasten His seat belt, the Garuda looked ready to take off at full blast, regardless of the Protector’s protection.

“A breathtaking journey,” I shared a loony banter with my friend, adding, the supernatural man-bird should fly supersonically! She, however, had something else to offer. Such means of transport should pollute far less compared to our modern-day vehicles — the grungy smoke-belchers and horn-blowers — that drive us up the wall, she wisecracked.

Such piquant fact had never dawned on me, I admitted. Neither had it on me, she giggled and continued, “Just seeing Garuda on the verge of flight made me believe that such vehicles should be pollution-free. Seeing is believing!”

A bunch of holy mounts started dancing in my imagination: Shiva’s bull, Bhrama’s swan, Ganesh’s rat, Indra’s elephant, Kumar’s peacock, and Agni’s sheep — you name it. Stupendously, none of these pollute our fragile planet. On the contrary, they all contribute generously in keeping the globe green.

Elephant and bull dung — the quantity they drop! — can go into making the best compost. Garuda’s droppings are an obvious rarity, but those ‘emitted’ by ‘vehicles’ like rat, swan, peacock and sheep, though smaller in quantity, help keep the earth verdant.

Even the mythical Pushpak Biman, it seems, was run on some sort of non-polluting fuel emanating from some divine source. Obviously, Gods are, and always were, eco-friendlier than their subjects: the wretched humans!

Well, the backroom boys are constantly plugging away at finding alternative fuel such as ethanol, but what about inventing some alternative vehicles too? With such make-believe questions on mind, we walked out of the Patan Museum enchanted and wished, we, even as mortals, had a non-polluting vehicle, preferably a Garuda look-alike, waiting for us at the exit. To our utter dismay, it was a rotten taxi from the seventies.