Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Next turn, please!

"You know whether the country you are in believes in reincarnation by taking one look at behavior on roads.", my yoga teacher jested, during a session on reincarnation. "The wild abandon with which people conduct themselves can only be from the surety that even if they die, their soul persists and life will recommence in an other form in an other place." A new beginning. A new adventure. Sparkling and spanking new. And improved to boot! What in heaven's name could be wrong with that right? Right.

My driving classes, I have observed, are an abiding testament to this remark.

My life on the road: It is a well proven fact that I am a girl of no patience. And I take no time to panic. If my panic was a car, I'd go from 0 to 150 in 2 seconds. Bad joke I agree, but the metaphor is essential. When I see a hole in the road, a car trying to overtake or a traffic signal blinking yellow threatening to move to red, my spontaneous reaction is always the same. I rev. And zoom faster than the wind.

This is disconcertingly (though predictably!) followed by the instructor slamming the brake and the clutch and a harsh, forceful veer of the steering wheel. And surely, a litany of insults follow of how I am ironically hasty to jump into trouble. And to think she is the one who continually stresses that the driver must ensure the comfort of the passengers. Hyprocrite!

But I realize that when I drive, my overarching sentiment can be summed up in 3 innocuous word. 'Come what may!' In an unsure or even threatening situation, rather than wait and act tactfully, I impulsively jump into it and try to scramble my way out with the cheeky hope that everything will be fine. I have been thinking of why my innate reaction is such, to most of life's events.

It is today that I discovered the link between my actions and a commentary on all cultures with a certain belief system. Its indeed fascinating how conditioning can influence and dictate the most basic of thoughts actions and reactions.

Let us now look at our counterparts in any voyage.

Tom, Dick and Harry: In India, the road might as well be the footpath. And it most often is, with the number of humans on a road outnumbering the number of cars by the tens in smaller towns and cities. It must be the courage of the collective, because I cant think of why else people walking on the middle of a road would dare to continue doing so, even at the sound of persistent horns. It is almost as if everyone's in  some La-la-land with fields meadows and streams, oblivious to big machines with giant rubber wheels that can move and trample.

The four legged sort: Animals on Indian roads are a funny sort. They seem to love dirt dust and pollution because their favourite spot is the middle of the road. The sound of horns and people yelling is their lullaby and maybe the smog is what they get high on! You would think that cows would lust after green pastures and blue skies but apparently crossing the road and staring at traffic head on is what gives them their cheap thrills.

It is interesting to note that a recent study proved that it is possible to conclude whether a community in India is beef eating or not by counting the number of cattle that you can see on the roads.
(Don't ask me what the source is.) If cows are allowed to wander on the roads with onlookers gazing at them reverently as they cause a near collision and almost force another entity into reincarnation, you can be assured that you will be slaughtered if you even attempt to slaughter for a steak. Forget the number of people these cows kill with accidents. You'll be damned if you try to keep the cows off the road!

Partners in Crime: I honestly sometimes wonder what is going on in the minds of drivers and riders as the surge forward without a pause at a stop signal, overtake through the right and ignore any rules about lane driving. At best, driving here displays an utter lack of etiquette and is a blind race in a bumper car contest at worst.

Which leaves me to conclude: Thank God for provisions to reincarnate! And as for my next life, I call dibs on being born a cow!

1 comment:

Thank you so much for being here. You must know that I love reading your comments more than I love the idea of baby bunnies eating frosted cupcakes sitting atop a cloud. They make me happy when skies are blue, yellow, pink or grey. ♥