I am not a human nor am I an animal. But I exist on earth, in India. I am of utmost importance to these humans, at least in places such as cities and towns. I stand and see everything that goes on but can’t move to lend a hand to anyone in need; nor can I stop anyone from wrongdoing. I am just there, a permanent fixture assisting the flow of traffic. I am …a traffic signal.
Day in and day out I flash red, green or amber and everyone watches me, because, frankly speaking, a lot depends on me. I mean, I am not being proud or snobbish, just stating facts. The day I am not working everything goes topsy turvy. Not that when I am working everything is absolutely fine. People don’t really like it when I stop them or warn them to stop, they just don’t want to be bothered in their daily pursuit to nothingness. Rush, rush, rush is all they know, unconcerned with anything else other than their own lives.
I see all kinds…the rich in their fancy shining cars, the poor hanging around me begging for money, the not so rich in their normal average cars or two wheelers, or some, even on cycles and some on their feet. Some pee on me, some of them spit, some even bathe next to me and some just consider me as their home.
I see these humans day in and day out but still haven’t been able to decipher them. What moves them, what drives them, the rich, the poor and the others alike? I am simple, when I flash green I mean go, red I mean stop and amber I mean slow down. That’s what they have made me for, right? Right…but sometimes they don’t stop when they should, go when they need to stop and don’t practice caution even if their life is in danger.
What’s up with them? Is it a sign of an underlying theme going on with humans? The fact that they throw caution to the wind and instead of the “stop” signal they see it as a challenge “not to stop”. I suppose they don’t like to be told what to do. I mean I am sure they are like “what does this signal think of itself, telling us to stop…who cares.” Men and women both give me the third finger most of the times, and here I always thought women were more intelligent and smart. Well, I guessed wrong, didn’t I?
There are some who do follow my signals, poor fellows, they have to pay for their sins. No one in India likes people who follow or make rules. They are the mutants, the abbreviations, silly folks who do what they should be doing. They get honked at from behind for stopping when I show red, and even more loudly when I’m amber. Some get run over for going in green, because the guy to whom I show red does not follow me. Sometimes, I feel, these guys should exercise more caution than anyone else.
I have realised that this is how humans live their lives. Breaking rules, scoffing at the poor souls who follow rules, believing etiquette is for fools and least disturbed by the horrible things they see around them each day.
But you know, there is good among it all, they have just hidden it inside of their fearful, stressed out, frazzled states. The ones who help the street children who flock around me every day, the traffic cop who helps the old woman across the road, the wife who scolds her husband for not wearing his helmet or breaking the traffic signal, the young college kid giving a ride to the man trying to hitch a ride, the family which helps the lady who fell off her two wheeler, warm my iron heart.
So many of them give me hope, hope that things are not as bad as they seem. And the colours that I flash do mean something to these humans. The other day this boy was reading a book right next to me and I couldn’t help but take a peek too. There was someone who had written about me:
Traffic signals can be analogous for to our life’s behaviours.
Green: The anticipation of impending accomplishment or the start of a new and exciting venture — all systems GO!
Yellow: A loss of momentum created by adversity and doubt — caution, slow down.
Red: Failure, rejection, disappointment — regroup, stop, start over!
However, rather than empowering life’s “traffic conditions” to define our behaviour in terms of go, caution, stop, we should believe nothing ever really stops us, unless we stop ourselves. While we may see what feels and looks like the red light of failure it is not a call to stop and start over, it is actually a challenge to find a way to keep moving even though our confidence and our spirit may be dampened at the time. It the commitment to perpetual forward motion that enables us to reach the outcome we desire. Even the good people, who do stop on red lights, take things as they come. They understand that this may not be the right time for them to proceed but their time shall come too.
I am honoured. Life’s analogy to me is a proud moment for me. Life or just a simple traffic aid, like me or not, but please don’t ignore me.