My Camera, My Chai, My Car: Meat Loaf


“if life is just a highway/ then the soul is just a car”                                                            …. Meat Loaf, from the song “Objects in the rear view mirror appear closer than they are”

This is a superb song. Meat Loaf is one of the most under rated, and most brilliant, singers we have today.

Yet, this is not a critique on Meat Loaf, or his singing. It is about that very intriguing song title, and about the lines I picked from the song.

When we are driving, we look at the words on the mirror reminding us that objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they actually are.

When are on the highway, we look at these objects and adjust our driving speed or lane accordingly. In India, this is a continuous exercise. It is a dance.

And, when we are on the highway, we often see the road whizzing by. We don’t pay attention to the warning, or sign, on our mirror.

Yet, if indeed life is a highway, and the soul is a car, then try and imagine yourself whizzing along it.

Imagine that the scenes that you see whizzing behind you in the mirror of your memory are the events of your life. You will suddenly realise that these are closer to you than you realise, even though they recede into the distant past and slowly disappear.

Unlike a mirror (or camera lens), which does not apply subjectivity, our souls do. Events that are distant mirages for some, are close by and real for some of us.

I wrote about the Mutiny of 1857, and the bloodbath of our Independence and Partition. The events suddenly became very close for me, and when I was growing up, the same events were far away.

Events we don’t like to remember, disappear into the dim and dark recesses of our unconscious mind faster than we think.

Those that we obsess about are there – closer in that rear view mirror.

Yet, the mirror may well be distorted. What’s more, the distortions change over time. As we age, we remember things differently, the way that we like them to be remembered. What’s more, my distorted mirror is not the same as yours. Which reflects reality? Or, is it that there are hundreds, thousands of real worlds that merge into hundreds, thousands of distorted mirrors?

Who knows?

Meat Loaf is onto something.

The next time you are on that highway, think about the soul on the road. It may make the landscape that much more interesting



    1. Oh yes. His music is really very good. He belongs to that tradition of singers, where there is considerable focus on the voice, and less on theatrics.
      Pink Floyd is an exception – superb music combined with stunning visuals

  1. Insightful post Raj. I too like Meatloaf. I’ve seen him in person once and he put on quite a show. He was sweating all over the place LOL. So true that everyone has their own mirror of distortions. In a way that can make us feel more isolated than bringing us together. Just one more thing to confirm that while we’re on this earth we are really alone in our bodies. Some day we’ll be rid of all that. That will be a glorious day!

      1. Ah! Well, we have no real concept of heaven in Hinduism. Nirvana is freedom, freedom from life and rebirth. Melting into the cosmos

      2. Well…. oh, and you have, kind of starred in my last Monochrome MAdness, post…

        Well, as per our philosophy, we are bound by our cravings, lusts, desires etc. These imprison us, give us the impression (if we are rich) that material wealth brings freedom, but in reality we are bound by them.

        If we are bad people, then we are reborn in a lower station in life. Could even be, as a cockroach! This, of course, negates the view that God created everything beautiful, but life is full of contradictions.

        It is only when our souls break free of these desires and entanglements – even from the desire for God – that we are detached and one with the universe. That is Nirvana ( not the Kurt Cobain variety, though), and then our souls are free

        Evidently, I have some way to go!

      3. I like this viewpoint a lot and thank you so much for sharing it with me. 🙂 I’ve often wondered about reincarnation. I do believe if we are bad people when we pass on we are further from “the light” or “God” or whatever the source is. Kind of like the planets in our solar system to the sun. Maybe reincarnation is to get toward that goodness or “nirvana”. Interesting food for thought this morning! Thanks Raj. Oh and me too….long way to go!

      4. Heh!Heh! The woods are lovely, said the poet, dark and deep… And I have miles to go before I sleep… miles to go before I sleep

  2. Great subject to pick on, the mirror effect and the mysteries of perception. As humans we like to analyze everything which is great but we tend to over do it and that is when everything gets too distorted. I say, enjoy the ride and the view, but not from the rear mirror, try the front windshield. And if it gets blurry use the wipers. 😉

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