One hour of the time I am awake, I spend on the roads.
That’s like 10 per cent of my day is spent on road.
It is this one hour a day that has taught me some of the most profound lessons of life. The metaphors are too many if you start with this analogy. First, apologies to Shakespeare.
All the world’s a road and we are mere travellers.
Flash cut: Aadmi Musafir Hota Hai, Hero… Aata Hai, Jaata Hai…
— Billa (Sanjay Dutt in Musafir)
What do I love most about the road and the traffic?
The philosophy that flashes from a traffic signal.
Stop. Relax. Go. Stop. Relax. Go. Stop. Relax. Go.
It’s those lights that provide a rhythm to our everyday lives. We set out, get caught in the traffic, some times overspeed overlooking beautiful moments, try to sneak past the STOP line as the amber comes on and ultimately STOP when we don’t have a choice. We RELAX for a bit and go again, resume the journey of life.
Yes, I find the whole thing spiritual. It applies to all of us. At every crucial junction of life, we need that constant reminder. Slow Down. Don’t Rush. Give others a chance too. Breathe. Go.
The way we ride makes us the people we are. Rash. Or Patient. Adventurous. Or Cautious. Disciplined. Or Going with the flow.
Go Slow boards. U-Turn signs. The speed-breakers. The cops. The guy overtaking you at the signal and the other honking behind when the light is RED. The old woman crossing the road. The beggars at the signal. The poor cyclist who has to fight for his space in the motorised world. The guy in the backseat of a Mercedes reading a newspaper oblivious to the world outside. The girl with the salwar covering her face to protect her from dust and the evil eye of men. The family of four on a motorcycle as the baby looks at you from the mother’s shoulder. The fishcart. The rash autorickshaw driver who nearly got you killed. And the girl inside it talking to her boyfriend. Characters from different ends of a spectrum, people and situations who make life larger than what it seems to be, all wait at the great leveller — The Zebra Crossing. For their turn to move on.
You can either wait patiently, or keep honking. But you can move, only when the light goes GREEN.
So, don’t take that hand/leg off the accelerator. Keep your eyes open. Your time, will come.