I have an award with me. The award is quite dear to me; perhaps I can go to the extent of calling it priceless to me as well. The award is, to put quite simply, my life. And the past week, I’ve had it nearly snatched away from me too. So it’s like I’ve got it all over again. And I feel like an acceptance speech is in order.
Life is a race. If you get held back, someone will take your place. That’s the motto of the world now. Our life, and of most others around us, is fast paced and multi faced. So to win in a race, not many look out for others along their way. For such persons, the others are not along the way, but in it. I wonder how I manage to radiate a smile each day as I live through this rat race.
India is fast growing into a superpower, if it isn’t one already. For a country like that, the people also live with that motto. Why get to your destination ten minutes late when you can reach five minutes earlier? The number of vehicles on the streets is overwhelming. And it becomes more each day. It is like getting drenched in a thunderstorm of vehicles. Just in case you’re wondering where the thunder is, you can just get the cotton out of your ears and stand at the zebra crossing of a street in rush hour traffic. The sound would be quite deafening. And if caught in a traffic jam, my sincere advice to all would be to stay walking on the main road itself if possible. Decide to take a side road free of traffic, and you might just get struck by lightning. Any fanatic of that motto would see the chance to put in maximum speed, and race through.
People are so occupied with the speed and time that they forget the courtesy of giving those “select few” like me who enjoy a good walk in the morning or evening even a little bit of those otherwise unoccupied side streets. To those “caring” rickshaw drivers and bikers who “nearly” showed me heaven, my humblest thanks. Please don’t bother giving an encore performance. I already have a heaven of my own, and I call it home. If you would be so kind as to hit the correct light on your indicators, or put to use some of those hand signals that got you through the written test for your driver’s license, I’d thank you truer and deeper than that too. To the “caring” audience who stood by as that rick just missed my big toe by a whisker, and then applauded with your icy stares and appreciative words such as “blind” and “where are you looking when walking?”, my thanks to you as well, for not bothering to help me up on my feet or maybe wave a fist in protest at the rick which sped away. You might know just how thankful I am to you once you’ve been in my position. And last but not least, how can I forget to thank the “caring” people who were there in that rick, for not stopping even a minute and perhaps let me at least stick it to that fool of a driver. It is people like you who make the roads so much safer to walk on. I’d be immune to the likes of you if it wasn’t for the fact that I absolutely love NOT getting creamed by a big pile of moving metal.
That brings to fore the outcome I’ve now confirmed after three successive days of experiencing it. “The road is now for the riders. Pedestrians stay away.” I’m quite serious in this. To the wonderful traffic police that keep our streets moving, to the government who approves such expert drivers and approves multi million rupee projects like flyovers and bypasses to keep the traffic non-congested, I have just a last request as I end my vote of thanks. “Forget the flyovers for vehicles; get some for just the pedestrians.” It’ll be worth all the moolah, trust me.
© Leo 10/August/2011