Many of you would have heard about the worse traffic situation in Bangalore, and would have even been a mute spectator in story sessions, where people tell stories of how it took them so long to traverse normal distances, or how meticulously they plan weekends or evenings keeping traffic scenario in consideration. And during those sessions, if you happen to live in this place, then you might let those sounds reach the brain, otherwise even you won’t know where they vanished just after falling on eardrums. But I’ll tell you something other than this. The phenomenon may sound weird, but it’s not.
Ever since I moved to this IT capital, I noticed few things that are different from our financial capital. For me since comprehending Marathi was not so easy, therefore Kannada is akin to solving Irodov. However, the idli and dosas in this place are mouth-watering and the coconut is revered entity. I guess, liquor shops would be the only place where coconut is not present in any of its form. Footpaths are as wide as they could be with huge trees leaving negligible space for roads, and the weather makes walking out of AC rooms irresistible. Of course, not to forget the traffic. The life of Bangaloreans is so much wound around this word that one could understand only after spending some time here. The roads are predominantly occupied by huge Volvo buses and Indica cars, and they both in unison make traffic congestion even worse as if they have a relatedness that drives them crazy at the same time. Unlike Mumbai, one can board the bus from any point, irrespective of whether it is a bus stop or not, for the bus drivers gladly respond to the hand waves by halting bus right in the middle of crowded road. But this generosity is not ubiquitous. Barring the friendly bus drivers, most of the other people as a result of perhaps their crawl on the streets almost daily, choose to speed up whenever and wherever possible. Even a 20 feet open stretch is not spared and speed breakers are rather insignificant.
All this makes life tough for pedestrians. Crossing road is a nightmare in daylight, and if this is the situation for so called humans, just imagine what it would be for street animals, many of them shrieking and dying amidst human rage to speed.
Few days back while returning from office, I saw a skinny individual, who looked to be in his late twenties, dressed up neatly with nicely combed hair and dark eyes holding a sign and standing in the middle of the road. Yes, he was standing right in the middle of the road which is among the busiest ones in the city. His intrepidity attracted attention from everyone who saw him, and left most of them with awe. As we approached this fellow, my cab driver hurled abuses that made me realize that possibly Hindi was driver’s mother tongue. But perhaps, he didn't knew how to read English, else his reaction would have been different. The sign board above the head of this person read, “Smile, You’re Alive”. As people read the message, he eagerly gazed the onlooker’s face expecting a smile, with one on his own.
The smiling man with the sign board was infectious; everyone left him with a smile. Fearless of the speedy wheels mounted with iron skeletons, he was standing there to spread a wonderful message. He certainly would have been aware of the risk he had taken to pull many of us out from our calendars and mailboxes, just to remind that we were alive. Despite of smoke, sound and headlights, he was smiling and making others smile.
Life is a gift from the Almighty, and perhaps we can payback with smiles – how many we bring on the face of others, and how much we could have for ourselves. Amazingly, the most unique aspect of the smiling face is the transmission power - people catch it at a lightening pace. Smile is a human attribute that manifests Divine, and therefore let us smile as much as possible, and thereby spread it even more.