My favourite story of optimism
My favorite story of optimism happened when I was returning from work a few years back. Bangalore is notorious for its traffic. Getting from point A to point B can take you hours even if walking between them is five-minute job. The roads are narrow and unprepared for huge traffic that the IT industry has suddenly brought in its wake. So all people like me have accepted our fate and resigned ourselves to endless hours of waiting in the traffic twiddling our thumbs.
That day was no different. I was just approaching a main road and hoping that maybe today this lane will surprise me by clearing up faster than normal but it didn’t seem to be happening. So I stopped hoping and cranked up the music. There were cars coming from the other side, passengers crossing along with dogs and cows; and of course vehicles going from the same direction as mine, all at the same time. The lane was so thin that perhaps just a car passing through it without a scratch was a miracle. Everybody was in a hurry as if they were headed to save the world from a meteorite attack. They all wanted to go first and pay no heed to others trying to do the same. Of course this didn’t help the matter as everybody was jointly stuck together in that crazy traffic like every day.
Suddenly something happened that jolted me out of my indifference. An old man in his running T-shirt and shorts stepped out from one of the alleys and took the center stage. He started maneuvering the traffic slowly. At first people didn’t even notice him and continued to do what they were doing but then gradually people started paying attention. He first let most of the passengers get across, then he asked the bikers to cross over and at last one by one he let the cars move ahead. Within ten minutes of his taking over, the traffic cleared up slowly. What just looked like a huge bottleneck was now a free flowing street.
As I drove home, I couldn’t help feeling filled with optimism and positivity. Without hopes for anything in return, the man had helped so many people reach homes sooner and saved them of stress. His selfless gesture in so much pollution, noise and given his age was so touching and uplifting that I felt a lot of good hope for the future.
Soon I would see him at the same cross section often. He would come there and relieve the traffic for an hour and then go home. Many times other people would help him too. even if it was a small action restricted to small geography, it touched many lives with selflessness and hence this is my favorite story of optimism!