Friday, January 29, 2010

Traffic signal..

Time is precious, every moment of everyday is like a jewel… don’t squander it away… Time means a lot of money to greater souls. But a lesser mortal like me staying in a metro has a lot of time to spare while waiting at numerous traffic signals across the city. Traffic signals today are essence to a city and a must for each one of us irrespective of the mode of transport.

Our wait is made easy by telling us the amount of seconds we have at hand before we can put our foot on the pedal. I read this article, the other day saying traffic signals could contribute to the risk of heart attack. So much for life in a metro…

Last 3 seconds before the green, is like a derby race with horses waiting to gallop at the sound of the shot gun. For an average driver like me, things can get maddening with vehicles zipping to my left & right and the ones at my back honking away to glory while the ones in front don’t seem to have anything called lane discipline.

Today’s busy life does not give us the pleasure of leisure time. Every one of us has plans for leisure time. But those plans are not the ones we can implement in a traffic signal. This is the time when we get to communicate clearly on the mobile phone or even dig our nose giving an awkward site of us to the on looking people. It’s also the time some adjust the pallu of the saree or the waist belt. There are also those who take off their helmet to fiddle with their hairstyle (if any) before putting the helmet back on. And there are always a few romeos who let their eyes wander for a glance at the pretty girl (a few of them manage to focus on the face too). For those with a burden at heart, its time to introspect on the happenings in life. 120-180 precious seconds to spare at the place we least expected to be.

While we are lost doing one or the other of the above, we are rudely disturbed by a kid selling flowers or Chinese made plastic toys. Before we can recover from the shock of something being forced onto our field of vision, a clich├ęd term is thrown upon us “Uncle, no food since 3 days uncle. Please buy uncle.. Please uncle….“ No matter what our age is the word “uncle” feels like an ugly insult. Some have the courage to counter the insult “how dare you call me an uncle.. Get lost”, some fail to recover from it. The depth of the hurt varies from person to person. This does not leave us much time to even consider the ‘thing’ that was thrust on to their field of vision. The insult is too much for us to take. Each one of us have innovative ways of shoo’ing them away.

I cannot say the same to the other challenge that most of us come across on the roads of Bangalore today. “The other gender”. Few traffic signals have become well known for this challenge. They are always in groups and wait round the corner to pounce on us once the “red” is forced on us. A red light goes on inside our brain at the sight of these individuals. As they come closer, our heart rate goes high. So much for those who said loved ones raise our heart rate.. Our eardrums react more to the clap and creates the effect of a pound inside the brain.

We have heard our elders say that we should stay away from the wrath of these individuals and their curse can be highly effective. These words haunt us when the sound of the clap gets closer. Suddenly thoughts are racing in the mind.. “Should I give, should I not”. We don’t want them cursing us do we? The adrenaline rush does not let us make a decision and before we realize the challenge is on to us. Even before we decide to part with the precious coins in our wallet, a horrible thought comes into our mind. Are these individuals really of the other gender or they men dresses like this? It’s not a comforting thought.

While we are fiddling with this thought and we try to pull our hand back from the wallet the original thought comes back to the mind. What if they are really of the other gender and they curse us? We rather give the precious coin instead of taking the risk of being cursed. Unwillingly we let our hands continue and reach for the wallet.

While all this challenge is running in our minds, we give an impression of a likely prey to the seasoned hunter. Coins are not sufficient and demand comes for something more. To make things worse, we find ourselves at the centre of focus. Few giggles here and few smiles there. This does no good to the series of thoughts racing our mind. Then, out of the blue comes the “touch”, a “Googli.. woogli. Woosh” on the cheek. It looks really good on TV but not very funny when it’s being done to us by the other gender at the middle of the goddamn traffic signal.

Unwillingly, we let the coins slip back to the wallet and reach for that precious note. We just want to let go of this precious paper and also of the curious gazes of onlookers. As the note slips from our hand, and as we start heaving a sigh of relief out comes the final insult. A smile reflecting a sense of victory is sweetly presented to us and a touch releasing a series of giggles from onlookers. It’s the final nail in the coffin. After this our eyes search for the electronic board showing the number of seconds left. We do not want to look at anything and anybody, just want to get out of there.

We let pride flow back to us and put up a brave face. Green light feels like heaven and we race away from all the gazes.

Back to our regular lives!!!!