In certain countries, Tokyo and small English villages for examples, the way that people interact in traffic is so courteous and polite that you can easily develop a deep reservoir of frustration and anger. After even just a short time in the middle of a traffic slow-up, I find myself fighting the desire to yell words of encouragement to somebody, anybody, to drive aggressively so that we can get to our destination. I keep silent, biting my tongue, because I know that the politeness I am rebelling against is far more than skin deep.
The contrast is readily apparent when you try to drive in cities like Bangkok or anywhere in India. One of the more out of control cities is Bangalore. During the past twenty years the population of the city has more than doubled while the roads are almost exactly as I remember them from my childhood. If one tries today to get from point A to point B it is very probable that you will find yourself buried in scooters and motorcycles for with and against you, cars defying every rule of the road, and construction underway with no obvious purpose in mind. Chaos reigns!
Coming in as an outside observer always triggers questions that reflect on scenes full of metaphors. Why are people running so fast? Who are those that patiently guide themselves through the randomly moving spaghetti? How would I behave if I was driving?
The answers that come always reflect the scene, however I wonder if I am willing to learn from them. You see, “the wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions.” (Proverbs 28.1) Chaos always reigns where hope waning. People take notice when one walks the talk, no matter what else is going on.
I am about to go out into the chaos they call Bangalore streets. Knowing that the scenes are going to replay themselves is a given, the question is what role am I going to play and why.