Thursday, September 8, 2005

A surprise on the road

Today when I was driving my scooter, I accidentally came in the way of another scooter. Neither of us were in any great speed, could be just around 10 kmph, and therefore there wasn’t any danger. But the criss-cross path was enough for us to brake suddenly and stare at each other.

Such moments are of great apprehension for me.

The amazingly high level of rage -- many motorists fly into when they think their forever-indisputable right on the road has been violated – is not just an unbelievable waste of energy and time, but never gets any one us any where. Traffic on any Indian roads is chaotic, to say the least. Ludicrously unimaginative and painfully slow investment on much-needed infrastructure, especially roads, is making matters only worse.

With bumper- to- bumper traffic, of such volume that our roads just can’t take, it is only natural that our vehicles might take a gentle brush or knock from another vehicle. There’sn’t any point in faulting one motorist or the other. But what happens is the vehicle is stopped, one driver rudely, contemptuously, shouts at the other, calling into question his road sense and, if the argument drags on, even mental balance.

The other motorist, as if he was waiting for this chance, takes up the cudgels all too gladly, and heaves back the abuses in equal measure if not suitably amplifying them in every way, catalysing a chain reaction. Meanwhile, the traffic piles up on both sides.
Mercifully, I haven’t been got caught in the duel; only in the traffic jam caused by such duels.

Back to the present scenario.

As we two scooterists stared at each other, I, for a moment thought, this guy was going to park his vehicle there and confront me. And, I feared all those meaningless flights of rage. But he just smiled. Not just that, he said, “Sorry,” too.

My heart sank in gratitude, and wee-bit admiration too for this gentleman. He just melted away in the traffic. If I could meet him, I would have showered praises on him. I would have been so glad to have met and got introduced to a soul, the likes of which we so badly crave for, but we so badly miss.

A smile. A sorry. They don’t cost anything. Simple stress-busters. Simple solutions.


  1. hi pradeep,
    thanks for this really insightful post.

  2. Sometimes people take you by surprise when they act like this scooterist. Here you are all ready to defend yourself and he disarms you his gracious apologies. May his tribe increase. We need more people like him on the road.

  3. Indeed, the world could use a lot of this kind of grace to simply transform a situation with so much scope for rage. see what could have easily become a war of words got defused into a situation of mutual respect and understanding.
    Feels very nice to hear such stories.

  4. I agree with silverene completely, we need people like this in great numbers.

  5. :-)
    I personally have infinite capacity (Almost infinite) to float around on the road without getting worked up about anything.
    There have been times when i have lost my cool. And every time i have felt as if I had just wasted my time, energy, emotions on something totally worthless.
    Stop for pedestrians, let the cow cross the road, make faces at children in the school buses.
    Life is soo cool.