With the sun shining luminously across the road, my dark brown glares cover my emphatic eyes as my left hand grips the steering wheel. My right arm sits on the windowsill as my right hand’s fingers run through my wavy hair. No frizz today! The humidity is low it seems. Soon my fingers find its way from my black hair to my black radio. The volume is up. The song is rock. My heart is content.
“What even!?”, I say to myself softly as I turn the music down. It seems to me like a white Sedan is trying to grab my attention for no reason at all. It is coming from behind me. I’m in my lane I think, feeling mildly perplexed.
“But why?”, I say these words as I look into my rear view mirror with a sudden, grotesque expression.
“BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!!”
I open my eyes dramatically. Feeling awfully cold, I realize I had thrown my fuzzy blanket off the bed sometime during the night. I grab my cellphone and stare at the alarm ringing on my phone screen.
“Beep beep!!”, it goes.
With a dismal look on my face, I begin to dread the abysmal commute to work this morning. Thinking about ubering, I head into the kitchen thinking I’m going to need EXTRA coffee today. As I pull out the coffee maker from the upper left cabinet above my dirty sink that I promised I’d clean last night but didn’t cause the traffic got me home too late, I look out the window next to it and say “Ew”. Unlike my dream, there was no sun or a clear road ahead. Only a road overcrowded with big cars, small cars, buses, autos, bikes, and bicycles. The only thing common to all was it felt like they all screamed “Don’t even think about it today”.
But when you have a devilish boss like mine, your angelic counterpart is compelled to think about it.
For all those mornings when so many people across India feel this way, on behalf of them is a letter written by me to bad drivers.
Dear bad drivers,
Hi. Or wait, I think I should greet you with a blaring “HONK HONK!”. The deafening sound you choose to greet me with at any time of the day. Be it me driving home from work, to the grocery store, taking my friend home or even to the hospital. You are annoyingly omnipresent.
Respect is a virtue we Indians egotistically pride ourselves in at every chance we get. Maybe the word ‘Respect’ redeems us of all the actual jarring faults of our country. So out of respect for the word ‘Respect’, I am requesting for you to respect me- a normal person who is allowed to use the same roads as you do. Whether you’re a middle class man rushing home to his children to take them to the park they always wanted to go to or a high-profile businesswoman racing her Zomato valet to her house who is supposed to be bringing her, her favorite Mexican bowl….
I don’t care. Your mexican bowl or paucity of time for your children is neither worth your life nor my business. So let me explain to you, your business.
As a normal human being who is expected to value other human beings at a minimal level atleast, your driving habits speak for you otherwise. Every single time you cut me in, make a face that makes you look duller than my worn out jeans from 2012 or honk at me when you know I’m an equal victim as you in the same cycle of traffic, you instigate 10 other people to be worse than you.
But they don’t. And this is why.
Basically, they use a rarely found concept called logic that allows them to unlock certain avenues in their brain which automatically relax their nerves despite the stressful situation of them waiting to get home.
In other words if you are the type of person who judiciously uses their cellphone and social media while driving, their brains broadcast a DM to be “calm af” and plays a YouTube video inside the body titled “What an idiot! I wish he would learn how to drive”.
So friend, before you hammer the hell out of my universally valid argument, I’m not asking you to be selfless. I want you to spend time with your kids and heck I love Mexican bowls – bro you need to get that! But, can you please for a second just adopt a lingering sense of courtesy that might actually improve your chances of getting to your destination with a free smile on someone else’s face?
I know I sound like the anomaly considering that we are all so used to people rash driving and driving on the wrong side that when you tell them to stop, they look at you as if you don’t belong in this world. It’s true. i’ve experienced it.
But you’re the true anomaly in a world perpetually trying to redeem itself with words like respect. Be kind. Be normal. Be fair, please.
With love and a distant handshake from my car window to yours,
From people who care about others too.