Wisdom in a Traffic Jam

I often get caught in instalments of traffic jams. I pass through relatively free areas but there are pockets in between work and home that I’m stuck in for ages. I don’t often mind, I have my music to keep going. And when I’ve had enough of that, there are funny bumper stickers to read. Sometimes there are art installations that just magically appear around random street corners.

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Roman Soldier with missing bust carrying a blackboard saying “No Fuck” on the Outer Ring Road

Last evening, while in one of these Bangalore traffic stops, I heard an auto-guy saying “What do we need money for?” in perfect English. Taking it as a sign that I was meant to listen, I turned off my music and peered into what turned out to be very eloquently spoken wisdom. I got a glimpse into my very own TED Talks on the street.

A very well spoken auto guy was giving life advice to his passenger –

“We go through all our lives hoarding and hoarding and hoarding. What for? You see that dog across the street? He has 6 children. To take care of them, he needs Rs. 3000 per child and this is just for the first litter. That’s a total of Rs. 18000 a month. He doesn’t earn that much and yet he is able to nurture them, take care of them, feed them and keep them safe. So why are we, as a species, such greedy creatures? Isn’t spending time with your family more important than cooking up ways to evade income tax? Isn’t doing something you feel passionately about more important than your market value? Happiness is more important than hoarding cash we don’t even use. Buying the latest phone is more important than creating memories with the people we love. When life throws problems at us, we sell out. We are afraid to take any leaps. Forget adventure, use your common sense they say. If common sense meant I should follow societies idea of what success means, then I wouldn’t be sitting here, driving an auto, travelling through Bangalore with a smile on my face. Sometimes I wonder how we screwed up our priorities so bad and how we continue to be blind and just go on living life following the same routines that we followed last year”

It amazes me how you can learn more in the 2 minutes you’re stuck in a jam than you could do in your 3 year degree course!