Thursday, October 12, 2006

The 160 Seconds at Traffic Signal

It’s very funny how the world works. Sometimes, a single event that happens in your everyday life makes you realize that there is a big difference between 'observing' and 'looking'.

Last week I was returning from my office to homeat around 8.30pm. I was driving my bike through the heavy traffic that was flowing like stream of water flowing through narrow lanes and getting connected with another stream at different traffic junctions. I felt like a drop of water in that stream that is trying to get through whatever space is available. I reached the Trinity circle traffic junction which is at the end of MG Road, near Taj Residency Hotel. The traffic Signal just went red and the countdown on electronic traffic signal started from 160.
While waiting , I noticed this little boy across the road. He looked energetic, in his rather over-sized clothes, the brownish coloured shirt was torn at places and as the sirt was over-sized it was reaching till his knees. He was playing happily with some of his friends across the road. Suddenly a car came on adjacent road and stopped for the signal to be cleared. The boy went near to the car window and then suddenly his happy expression changed. It became desperate, like picture of the poor hungry urchin on the road. The transformation was suden from a playing boy to a homeless, orphan, forced to the streets, in an age when he should have been in school and he played his part well. As the light turned green again, the car went off and the boy was back to his old world with a smile and started playing with the other boys, clutching the loose change in his hand, waiting for the next traffic light, next transformation.
As I watched this drama I realized that what I felt for this kid was not sympathy. It was a strange kind of respect. This child, hardly aged six , had already learnt to live, he had learnt that important lesson in life that most of us don’t. That this world allows the survival, only of the fittest. He has learnt that in order to live in this unfair world he has to act. This unfair world has put him in past and he needs to be faster.
Most of us- the so called “privileged kids”- are expected to be good at dealing with challenges of life. We are told and trained by our parents, relatives and teachers what to expect from the 'real world' and we are sent to good school, colleges, institutes etc to get trained in howto face life/world and when finally the time for facing the world comes most of us get knocked off. But no one trained these kids, they were infact born into this 'real world'. They know it very well and deal with it everyday, every minute and each second and they do survive. No one applauds or give awards to these brave fighters. But they keep fighting and survive because there is no alternative. They live their lives, from one stop at the intersection to another.
The countdown at the traffic signal became Zero and the signal turned green. I started my bike and was on my way to home and once again I looked back and saw the boy standing near the next car with his next transformation. Amazing that though I used to look at these boys daily, on that particular day at that particular moment I was observing 'Life' rather than 'Looking'.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

An excellent picture of what we see in our daily life , but many of us would have taken the place of the person sitting in the car which stopped there at the signal and don't even look at these children and never realize, fearing that we are going to loose something whereas the fact is none of human beings own anything , so that there is nothing to loose .

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Shankar said...

Sudhi.....missed a chance to take a snap of that guy.. who knows.. may be our future MLA, CM or may be PM... ahahahahhaha

3:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its difficult to react to this! he learns to live..now it seems so innocent and admirable! but who knows what he grows up into.. a usual man, a fruit seller, a thief , a rowdy.. who knows?? its quite scary if he turns out to be something negative! I always wonder like this when i see kids like these. Also its noticed that begging has grown a lot in bangalore lately.. even able people doing it. its a sad thing that some of us are not capable of doing anything and capable ones are not doing anything abt it!

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ningaluda kayzchapadu nallathyathyathu kondannu engane okka eyuthan kayiunnatyu. annathe pravarthikall athupolethanne eyuthunnatu kondu mathramannu ethu vayikkan nalla thalpariyam . eneyum ethu pollathe nalla nalla sugakaramaya eyuthukall pratheeshikkunnu...........sushin

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me appreciate your ability to bring a moment of awareness into usual scene of almost all traffic intersections in cities of India. But, in that moment of awareness, I usually understand that I am that beggar and I am the giver. Since there never used to be a separation from him and me, I know my style of begging is sitting in an ac room and using different language at different point of time. His way is being polite always.

Bill Gates is the best beggar of this world as per the big beggars running magazines like Forbes, Fortune etc. In "begging"(what we see and call as it is), the service what he sells is “A feeling to one self as you are better than him". ARE WE?????????? My bike also moves on…………with a head of "I am him and he is me".

Rajeev

7:48 PM  

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