Every morning and every evening (except Sunday evenings), people tried to kill me. They were all unknown to me and had no reason whatsoever to do so. And yet, it was perfectly obvious that they hated me, viciously. As I drove to work, the motorcyclists harassed me from my blind side, trying to push me into the path of the truck which apparently wouldn’t mind mowing me down to allow it to get ahead of the passenger bus. Meanwhile, an SUV was charging at me from the opposite side, speeding at a 100 km/h on the wrong side of the road, horns blaring and headlights flashing in enormous contempt at my insignificance.
For years I allowed myself to be hunted. I felt sorry for the vulnerability of the motorcyclists and put myself in danger to avoid killing them. Meanwhile they created an abstract art of criss-crossing scratches on my car as they rudely zoomed past me. I felt empathetic towards the angry bus driver with a family of six children and a nagging wife at home. I felt sensitive to the basic psychology of the nouveau riche SUV owner who was acting aggressive just to cover over his basic inferiority complex and feelings of inadequacy. I braked in the middle of the road to allow tottering old men and leisurely sauntering cows to cross the street. I tried to be the nice guy in a game played by assholes. And in the process, I had stopped enjoying my driving, which had become a highly stressful activity. I was also beginning to lose my self-respect.
One morning as I approached a quiet crossing, I saw the light turning red. I conscientiously stopped right before the zebra crossing, while a couple of motorcyclists whizzed past me as if the red light did not even exist. And immediately I felt a monstrous impact. An SUV had banged right into me from behind at nearly full speed. Later on, the driver said he’d never expected me to stop at such a quiet crossing – the fact that the traffic signal had been red was of absolutely no significance to him.
“And everybody talks on the mobile while driving” He reiterated.
As my car was being overhauled to the garage, I reflected deeply on the situation and I realized that the SUV driver was right in telling me that I had brought this situation onto myself. In a world where nobody is playing by the rules, you stand out like a sore thumb if you insist on playing by them. And its a natural human tendency to hurt a sore thumb further, especially if it belongs to someone else. Human beings are not built to resist such sadistic temptations. I lapsed into a deep internal meditation, realized my qualia temporal space in the Universe (as recommended by that supreme ass-soul, Deepak Chopra) and by the time my car came back from the garage, my strategy was in place.
Overnight I had metamorphosed from a staid, gentle tortoise to a snarling wolf. I zoomed from 0 to 80 km/h in a matter of nanoseconds. I hit the highway without measurably slowing my speed. My one aim was to get ahead of the vehicle in front of me – the idea being that the only way to avoid being crushed by the traffic is to stay ahead of it. In achieving this aim, I did all that was necessary. I swerved through the traffic, zig-zagging through cars, carts, trucks and SUVs. I paid no attention to motorcyclists, often cutting them off to the extreme left of the road as I overtook the car ahead of me from the wrong side. I stopped at red lights only if there was a policeman around. Old men on my route began to recognize my car and stood respectfully on the divider as I shot past them. The cows murmured “Holy cow!” in admiration. I began to enjoy driving. Each drive was a thrilling adrenaline rush, and I reached the hospital in an exuberant cheerful mood. My receptionists began to get attracted to my forceful personality and started fantasizing about having orgies with me. Okay, that last part probably isn’t true. But the truth of the matter is, that I became a happy, confident driver. Its been 2 years since the time I had my Bodh Gaya moment, and truly, I’ve not had a single major or minor accident after that. From a miserable nice guy who followed traffic rules subserviently, I’m now the masterful asshole who rules the traffic.