Traffic light woes

Traffic light woes

I wonder from where these sellers get the tit bits that are shoved under our nose.

Traffic and traffic light woes are a topic of not so thrilling a discussion of many a Bangalorian. The traffic lights seem to stop us at shorter and shorter distances for longer and longer times! What was earlier a breather of 60 seconds has now passed on to become 180 seconds and sometimes even more. What does one do apart from gritting ones’ teeth and sweating it out till the formidable red light changes to the relieving green?

To help pass the time I found for myself a new vocation…observing people of different sizes and shapes from small to big to old…trying to make a living off the 3 minutes traffic breaks of our lives! From the babies bundled in rags and precariously held in the hands of an emancipated looking adult begging for alms to young children with disheveled hair, the sick and sometimes not so sick men and women with outstretched hands, all try to strike an altruistic chord in us so we lighten our wallets by a few coins!

Added to them are the innumerable sellers of various wares, wares that are quite often pretty, petite and colorful. I wonder from where these sellers get hold of the little tit bits that are shoved under our nose even as we whisk them off and pretend not to throw a glance at their fancy wares. From squeaky toys emanating light and sound to the two cuddly almost human looking baby dolls, to colorful balloons and wiping cloth, the list can be endless. They all beg for your attention the moment you are trapped in a traffic junction!

I admire the patience and perseverance of these people some of whom I have seen for decades in the same traffic light junction toiling under the blazing sun, pouring rain and biting chilly winds. A new bunch that have now added on are those selling strings of jasmine and for people like me who have a soft touch for flowers that look so bright and smell so right, we are easy targets for their sales pitch. The jasmine entwined between leaves of green and orange of kanakambara bring to my mind the colors of our national flag. Where is the Asoka chakra then? Well, you will find it in the twinkling eyes of these youngsters selling their ware!

I must say that these marketers on the road make material for management books. From whither have they got their communication, influencing and negotiating skills? The tactics adopted to outdo, the other competitors seems to be done in a copy book fashion executed flawlessly. If ever their deal is not closed by the time the alluring red light changes to green the brief pathos of losing it, is replaced instantly by the Never say die attitude…there is always another customer at the turn of the light!

As I watch their legs wriggle out of the moving traffic, I look at them in marvel for carrying out this feat with such effortless ease… even as I send a silent prayer for them that they remain safe from the relentless chaos of Bangalore traffic.

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