“I will be home late,” I yelled to my mother as I stormed out of the house. I know the connotations of my vocal attitudes weren't as welcoming compared to other days but, sometimes ‘control’ goes away beyond the border. Well! I had a dream – trust me, I was dating Bala – I mean in my dream.
Ever had this experience where you dream something that could never happen and that short in reaching for the possibility makes you furious ? That was the lone reason behind irregularity in my vocal connotations. I hopped in my car, keys in, fixed the three mirrors and steered out. Jump-cut, Kwakeithel bazar traffic point, I swear I saw the seconds counting down from 9 seconds from the sight of my consciousness. But trust me, I stormed up – the accelerator went all in – the speed went all up, then before reality proved my virtual speed & distance calculations wrong – the yellow flashed then the red. I pulled up the hand-brake to its max, the tires squeak loud enough to give a scene but trust me, all I thought was – I could cross it, well ! Blame my dream for all. Now, coming to all seriousness, my car was way beyond the zebra cross. And as usual, the rest of the cars behind me pulled over beyond the zebra cross because – you know why? Everyone does that in Manipur.
I will be honest here, I am not proud of what happened – even though it’s something that happens to every other cycle of traffic light. Now, what I am about to say might sound filmy or stupid but it really did work and I have never seen it work.
As I and the rest were all ahead of the zebra crossing – most and all were expecting a yell or a fine by the traffic police officer but leaving all the rules aside–he looked at me and smiled. He said nothing–just a slight smile. And then to all those who pulled over beyond the zebra crossing.
For the first time, without any words and without anything forceful–we looked at each other and started reversing the car to clear up the zebra crossing. All the rest did the same. Trust me, it might not work all the time but there is nothing more powerful than a smile. I know it will be super hard to keep smiling to all those who break traffic rules. But not that one, for the first time I felt pain in breaking the traffic rule, it must have been the same for the others too. And as soon as we cleared the zebra crossing–he whispered, “thank you.” We could not hear that but we were not so bad at lip-reading. That takes it all, a slight smile and a thank you saved the traffic rule that day.
Again, it might seem hard to thank those who break the traffic rules but, if we appreciate the little efforts people make with a smile and a thank you –I guess, it will help a mile.
Yes, all the complex traffic rules cannot be simplified with a smile and a thank you but, when given at the right moment – there is nothing more powerful than those two. I am the example. All those driving or riding goes with an ego sadly. So, a smile and a thank you is one of the best ways to bring back their ego to ground zero. It’s not just about breaking traffic rules but even during frisking as well, if one stops a car with a smile and thank you. Trust me, I came out of my house with a story, so does everybody–this might sometimes get too much in our heads and stop thinking about the rest which at times will lead to committing public disobedience. At times like this, rules become just formulae of yesterday, only with a smile and thank you can really change the way people connect outside.
The writer is a major in International Business Marketing from Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada. He can be reached at [email protected]