If you have noticed the chaotic Indian roads, you would be terribly worried for your life & safety especially if you are a foreigner!
Over the weekend, I noticed a bunch of cars, bikes going on the wrong side of the road as the traffic signal was green and they wanted to go fast! It’s also fairly common to see traffic that is supposed to be on “their” side of the road, driving at high speeds, on your side!
I thought of doing this too, but somehow managed to stop myself.
Driving through after my turn came at the signal, I was asking myself what is it that I have learnt?
Having said that, Indian roads do offer a great amount of life lessons if you observe. Let me share my two bits with you:
1. You don’t have to follow people who are following a wrong path: I realised the dangers of riding on the wrong side of the road. Albeit many are doing, and apparently successfully too, with the least damage of a Rs.100 fine by a ‘unusually non-truant” traffic cop, I did not dare to! Yes, I reached my destination late: by a minute or so, but in the larger scheme of things, where the overall life expectancy is around 65+ years, a minute did not matter much to me.
2. Be compassionate towards those on the wrong side: I admit, sometimes, I displayed anger at guys who were on “my” side of the road (which is the wrong side for them to drive!)
by not letting them pass and forcing the to stop in front of my car, expecting them to reverse and move into their lane! I have long since seen the futility of this. It only makes my heart beat fast, see the anger rise, and the mood go sour! I now happily let the guys pass me! An occasional, all-knowing smile at the errant driver is all I do these days! Helps me to keep my cool and my mood.
3.Pray for everyone’s safety: A few years ago, I used to have this attitude that an errant driver should be punished! A cop should catch him and fine him or probably even secretly wishing that he learn his lesson after he meet a nasty accident! Ever since i started believing in those invisible omnipresent fairies who keep blessing us for all our wishes (tathasthu fairies), I made a modification to my wish! Now a days, I pray for his safety, and hopes he never meets with an accident, despite his unruly traffic sense, but still hope that he is given a ticket by a traffic cop! I realised that the moment I have prayed for his safety, I was feeling more relieved and calmer!
Life’s like driving on Indian roads.
There are several who are on the wrong path of greed, manipulation etc., and we don’t have to follow them. We can pray for their well being and show our compassion towards them, in the hope that one day they will change for good! This attitude builds patience and tolerance in ourselves, but definitely should not be mistaken for apathy towards life. If I am apathetic, then there is no reason to pray for the errant or show compassion towards him!
Not sure what driving teaches you. Would love to hear your thoughts!