Having 'Chocolates' On The Train

Our city has often been defined by what happened in the train stations: frequent breakdowns, simulations of terrorist attacks, the human Tetris as people are pushed into spaces between bodies.

Today, yet another event happened - perhaps not that notable, perhaps not that breathtaking. It remains - strangely and hopefully - meaningful. It took place on the purple train line.

An old auntie supported by a walking stick boarded the carriage. She looked so frail, with a shock of white hair and veins showing on her arms.

On the nearest reserved seat, an old uncle, with an equally white tangle of hair, sat. A young woman - probably a stranger to him - was on the adjacent seat.

There was, of course, no obligation for them to give up their seats. The old uncle needed it. The young woman was not sitting at a reserved seat. She didn't have to give up her seat (and she didn't).

For a while, the old lady stood, one hand on the walking stick, another on the door support, her body quaking slightly. What could I do? The train was full and I was standing myself. Before I could decide, the old man stood up to give his seat to the old lady.

It was a swallow of hot chocolate, to see this old man give up his seat to an old lady.

At the same time, it was perturbing. Why didn't the young lady give up her seat? Was she pretending to be asleep? I shouldn't judge, I know, but I couldn't help it.

With a grateful nod, the old lady sat.

Then, the young woman woke up, perhaps disturbed by the movement around her. She quickly took in the scene, stood and offered her seat to that old man.

In this small corner of a carriage in a train that would make many more journeys even on this very day, people were smiling, some more subtly than the others.

Now, in front of the computer, I can't help thinking about this issue even though there is so much to do. Within two minutes, we can glimpse the past and future of our country.


Why The Moss Graffiti Paint Doesn't Work

November 15, 2014 , 4 Comments

Ever saw these wonderful photos of moss graffiti online? The green polar bear, the words of wisdom, even matrixes of squares?
Frankly, these designs look inviting, with the soft fluent green of healthy moss. 
The Q R code below is a thoughtful marketing idea. Imagine people taking photos of this dramatically interesting shape!
At this stage, you might be tempted to search for a recipe to grow, nurture and shape your own green graffiti. The typical formula offered by the Internet involves a blended mix of moss, beer, water, hydrogel, corn syrup, starch and yogurt/ buttermilk/ cream.

Like an excited child, I gathered the suggested materials - along with stencils and brushes - intending to bring the garden to life with miniature mossy creatures. My moss was collected from the very walls that I intended to grow my graffiti.

Three weeks later, I only have mould growing on the sticky paint. Mould, not moss. Black dirty bits. No soft green carpet shaped into gnomes and cats.

After trawling through a host of websites, I Cannot Find Any Evidence of the moss graffiti paint working. NONE whatsoever. Some gardeners, artists and professionals offer their views:

1) None of these moss graffiti is grown on a wall itself. They are pasted there. Oftentimes, the moss graffiti falls off when the adhesive fades.

2) The conditions of the wall - amount of exposure to sunlight and moisture - do not support the growth of moss graffiti even after they are pasted to it. They wither. They die.

3) Some designs are made from dried moss - much easier to handle, though less exciting. Dried moss, surprisingly, looks alive.

4) The moss paint gets washed off by rain. Not advisable to use it (especially in the tropics during the monsoon season).

5) The moss paint just doesn't work. It attracts snails and slugs which snacks on the paint you lavishly slathered. These organisms thank you for the delightful potion.

6) It supports the faster growth of mould. Everything darkens, all the minerals are used up. No hint of greenness.

For more evidence, let's take a look at this guy painting something before the QR code was grown. Does it seem like moss paint? Well, it isn't. It should be some kind of adhesive.
How do we know that the moss graffiti is not grown in-situ? Take a look at the picture below.  

Notice that the moss has patches pointing in different directions. This suggests that the graffiti composed of disparate moss patches. Should the moss be grown on the wall, every furry bit would be pointing in the same direction.

After the excitement of blending a potion of moss paint - looking forward to its growth - imaging mossy creatures slowly coming into existence - feeling alarmed at spots of darkness - pondering if it was even moss - realising that the moss paint wasn't working - wondering if it was due to my failure as a human being - searching for advice online, I've come to the traumatic conclusion that the virtual recipe doesn't work and the moss paint is a lie.