November 21, 2016 by Preeks
Last week, I became a part of a revolt.
Unknowingly, unwittingly, I became a part of a mob.
It seemed like a turning point in my life of sorts.
It so happened that I was driving along the famed Silk Board Junction in Bangalore during peak hour traffic.
For the unacquainted, in Bangalore, Silk Board is the equivalent of a black hole. It is forever in a jam, be it morning, evening, night, Saturday afternoon when the whole world naps, Sunday night when people retire early to bed – It doesn’t matter to Silk Board traffic, it is in a perpetual jam mode.
In fact, we have a famous joke here:
Interviewer during job interview: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Job Seeker: Hopefully, i would have crossed Silk Board traffic.
Interviewer: Wow, you dream big. You are hired.
You get the picture? That’s how it is here.
Anyway, so I was driving along Silk Board and one of the crossings there, was being manually managed by a Traffic Policeman. As is the rule, a sequence was being followed.
First, he let the people driving straight go. Then he let the opposite right turn cars go. Then the opposite left turn cars. Then the diagonal left to right cars. Then the diagonal right to left cars. Then the people from the South of South East corner going to the North of North East corner. Then the people with birthdays in November. Then the people who know how to walk on two hands. Then the people who like butterscotch ice-cream more than chocolate. Then the people traveling back home from Mars. And so on.
In this extremely long sequence, he missed our turn.
Oh, the outrage.
Oh, the anger.
Heat. Peak hour traffic. Getting late to work. And this unjust treatment meted out to us.
As soon as we realized he had mistakenly missed our turn, a couple of minibus guys around me honked to get the Traffic policeman’s attention. He looked at us and gave an angry scowl.
“How dare you tell me how to do my work?” is what I assumed the expression meant.
Not that we had much option. We sat through the whole sequence again.
The people driving straight. Then the opposite right turn cars. Then the opposite left turn cars. Then the diagonal left to right cars. Then the diagonal right to left cars. Then the people from the South of South East corner going to the North of North East corner. Then the people with birthdays in November. Then the people who know how to walk on two hands.Then the people who like butterscotch ice-cream more than chocolate. Then the people traveling back home from Mars.
We turned on our ignition in anticipation at this point. But hey, revenge is best served in the middle of a traffic jam. And so, the angry Traffic Policeman skipped us again.
And then again. Three times in a row.
Once, we let go. Second time, we all honked. Third time, revolt happened.
The minibus drivers started shouting and telling people to skip the instructions and just go. Many people started following their lead.
I sat for a while thinking how ok it is to break a rule, especially in front of the authority. Of course, I didn’t have much time to think. Within 3 milliseconds, someone was honking behind me, till I gave in to pressure and broke the rule.
The traffic policeman looked in horror as mayhem broke out. We were out of turn and heading straight into a deadlock in the middle of the crossroads. By this time, cycle stand effect had happened. So the others on the remaining roads, to whom no real injustice was meted out, starting imagining something had happened to them too, and so they too started breaking the sequence and before we knew, we were all caught in the middle.
The people driving straight. The opposite right turn cars. The opposite left turn cars. The diagonal left to right cars. The diagonal right to left cars. The people from the South of South East corner going to the North of North East corner. The people with birthdays in November. The people who know how to walk on two hands. The people who like butterscotch ice-cream more than chocolate. The people traveling back home from Mars.
All stuck in a cozy little jam in the middle, because of our revolt.
And I didn’t even want to be a part of it. But there I was. A part of an angry mob, displaying their emotion by breaking rules and making their point by causing more chaos.
At that moment, I wished I was on Mars.
Maybe that’s why Elon Musk wants to go to Mars. To start from scratch.