Road Rage and the Cycle of Life
By Dr. Ali Khwaja, a Banjara, a perpetual wanderer who is never in a hurry, for he has no destination
Every person who leaves his home to go for work is inevitably going to return some time or the other. In the morning he may be in a hurry to reach his workplace, and in the evening he may be very tired and yearning to get back home and relax. Hence there is a rush to go one way and then the other. In this rush we forget that we all have the same destination in life. It is like the cycle of birth and death. No one can take even a few minutes from another person’s life, nor donate his time on earth to someone else.
Yet when we are in urban traffic, we wish to cheat the other commuter of a few seconds of his time by pushing our way through, overtaking recklessly, blocking the way, or speeding through when we are supposed to stop. We rarely stop to think what we will gain by this rashness, other than a few curses from all those we have squeezed past.
Long ago I had read a quote that said, “Man is building faster and faster cars so that he can reach home quicker, and then sit wondering what to do with his time.” This adage has become even more significant in the second decade of the 21st century, as we hurtle into a mad rush of the rat race, alternately fretting and fuming about delays, and then sitting down to waste time watching TV or gossiping.
It is inevitable that when cities grow, so does traffic. People need to commute longer and longer distances, children have to go to school, home makers have to go out and buy provisions, working people need to reach office on time. But the sad part is our failure to recognize that, like the entire universe, we are bound to each other in a cyclical pattern. No one can take away another person’s commuting time. A recent example was the red-light beacon car of the VIP that came hurtling down the wrong side of a road divider to overtake the long line of people waiting at the red light. Unfortunately the VIP car reached the junction just when the opposite side traffic was given a green signal, and they all piled up in front of him. Neither could the very important gentleman move ahead, nor could the dozens of car he had blocked – until the police came and un-entangled the traffic mess much later!
Road rage has been taken for granted, along with corruption, violence, terrorism etc. It is a sad reflection of what we are deep down – animals masquerading as civilized human beings. At an intellectual level we understand that we are one big family of living beings, ‘Vasudaiva Kutumba’, but in moments of uncontrolled madness we think nothing of harming another human being just to edge past, save a few seconds, and perhaps prove to ourselves that we are superior to others.
I learnt a good lesson from a stray dog the other day. On a hot summer afternoon the road was jammed with traffic, and tempers were soaring higher than the temperature under the blazing sun. Every second person was blaring his loud horn, some were shouting and cursing, others were trying to squeeze their vehicles where there was no space. As I looked out of my car window, my eye caught sight of a stray dog who found himself stuck with no space to walk ahead, promptly went to a heap of sand, dug a nice curved hole in it, curled up and dozed off. Every time a vehicle would blare a loud horn, he would open one eye, give a disdainful look, and promptly go back to sleep! I really wonder what impression he carries about human beings, and why we do not learn from superior creatures like him.
There was a time when we used to talk about culture and etiquette, courtesies to others, respect for elders, concern for the sick and children, but all that gets pushed under the carpet when we are in the urban traffic chaos. Today we talk disdainfully about the two Nawabs of Lucknow who both missed the train insisting “pehley aap (you first)” when they were to board the compartment. Now we do not care who misses the train, as long as we get in, reach where we want, and immediately start getting restless about getting back.
The world rotates at its own pace, plants and trees grow at predetermined time span, the mother delivers a baby only after nine months, let us learn from nature that we can all move and march hand-in-hand, since we all have the same final destination in life. Come, lets begin this new journey together ……
Some of us enjoy our work and look forward to the mornings, feel contented at the end of the day, and are relaxed.
Others also work very hard, are fully committed to their responsibilities, fulfill all their obligations, but start and end the day without feeling great, and in fact feeling a burden on their heads.
There is a concept of “work-life balance” which runs on a thin line. How do you know that you are balancing your work and your life in the most appropriate manner? It is possible that we tend to ignore, get caught up in daily routine, and not even realize whether we are undergoing increased stress, which may even lead to a burnout. If you are a busy person involved in your work or in home-making, check out how many of the following are applicable to you”
Do you feel……
If even two or three of these are applicable to you, then understand that you are not maintaining good work-life balance, and do something about it.
Have you noticed the extent to which we use labels and try to categorize people based on their traits, personalities, and more so if they have any quirks or idiosyncrasies? It is a fad (and perhaps very satisfying too) to put a rubber stamp calling someone Narcissistic, and calling oneself an Empath.
I do agree that there are a few very unreasonable people around us, some of them being extremely frustrating or painful. Yet, as the proverb says, “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” We can certainly look for ways and means to find the path of least resistance, of taking matters more in our control, of finding ways and means to protect ourselves.
We can improve matters for ourselves only if we focus on our healing and betterment. As long as we are spending time analyzing, labeling and condemning the person who is hurting us, we are neglecting our own self. Even if some people are bad to us, at least we can be good to ourselves, isn’t it?
Parents’ Role in Exams
Introspect for yourself:
Help the child:
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We will not only be teaching you through weekly sessions the practical ways to work with children and ensure their balanced growth and development, but will also give you sessions with qualified and experienced Mentors who will review and guide you every week on the activities you may try out with any child. This learning will be very useful far beyond the current pandemic, and will empower you to work towards bringing up a new generation of mature, sensitive and balanced children who will face the future world with confidence.