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At the crossroads

I crossed over to online shopping where I had to deal with internet traffic
Last Updated : 18 July 2023, 20:22 IST

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The act of crossing a road in other parts of the world may be quite simple and safe, but it can be a harrowing experience in Busy Bengaluru. It can also provide one with some deep insights, as I realised a few weekends ago. I was a pedestrian, merely trying to get across to the other side of the road outside my home to buy some groceries.

Pedestrians receive scant respect, if at all, as they seem to be perceived as a nuisance by motorists, especially by those on two-wheelers. The riders always appear to be in a hurry, as if to catch a train or a flight; or perhaps to attend to some urgent, life-saving task. Whatever their expediences, my modest walk to the supermarket always ranks lower in importance.

In my experience, one can explore multiple ways in which to cross the road. Running solo at Usain Bolt’s speed may provide instant gratification, but the risks are too high. One could also buddy up with more skilled road crossers, always positioning oneself so that the incoming vehicular missiles are likely to strike the buddies first.

I normally test the waters by putting one foot forward on the road and immediately withdrawing it. Sometime that litmus test is followed by a zooming biker near-missing me and calling me names, which are typically unparliamentary. But if, after the test, an uneasy sense of calm prevails that no harm has yet occurred to me, I proceed with
the adventure.

Despite these precautions, a motorbike happened to bump into me while I was committing the crime of crossing the road on that eventful day. There was no major injury, only a small scratch on my leg. Unlike my previous experiences, this biker was extremely courteous and apologetic. He offered to take me to a doctor if required, while I assured him that it was nothing major and I was fine. We shook hands and he was about to take off again, but I couldn’t resist asking him why he was riding so fast.

“I am late for work, Sir,” he responded politely. When I inquired what kind of work he does, he replied confidently, “I am a driving school instructor.”

The irony escaped him as he
sped away criss-crossing in the snarling traffic.

And after that incident, I crossed over to online grocery shopping, where I only had to deal with internet traffic.

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Published 18 July 2023, 18:49 IST

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