Monday, February 24, 2014

drive to die another day

A family rides on a motorcycle. It's not just a husband and a wife. There are two kids sandwiched between them, fast asleep while their parents negotiate the snarl that is Indian traffic.

A family on a motorcycle prepares to subvert politeness and courtesy by squirming through a path traced between cars waiting abut and behind one another at a traffic light. The husband, wife and three children are banking on luck (which usually favours such ventures in this country) to get them past this point.

Young motorcyclists practise their racing and navigation chops on roads at the risk of scaring and confusing drivers trying to get home. These beacons of danger are wearing helmets. They're making sure they take all the precautions while putting others at grave risk. They also don't realise that physics does not take sides. All it takes is a little nudge to the equilibrium for us to hear squealing brakes and screams and watch another young life get snuffed in a matter of seconds. Or worse: someone maimed for life, left alive to regret their mistake forever.

Selfishness abounds regardless of the dimensions of the vehicle. Each person wants to rise above the unpleasant jam that he or she is faced with and does it by edging ahead and around, eventually creating another version of the jam further ahead. A motorcyclist and the driver of a cement roller agree in this regard. The larger your vehicle is and the more likely it is for it to create more mayhem, the more likely you are to go ahead and effect chaos. By circumventing the problem instead of confronting it and dealing with it by courtesy and fairness, they only contribute to its growth every minute of every day.

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