WAS sipping tea in the back seat of my car when my driver suddenly braked, throwing scalding hot tea from my glass all over me, “Sorry sir,” he said as he looked in the rear view mirror.
I rubbed the hot steamy liquid of my stained shirt, and grimaced with pain as I felt my skin already beginning to burn.
“What happened?” I asked angrily. “Driver in front braked sir,” he said. “But I saw the traffic stopping in front of him, didn’t you?” “I was just watching car in front sir!”
I wiped the stains off my shirt with water from my flask and pondered over what he had said: I realized like most drivers his eye was only on the vehicle in front of him.
His glance never went beyond. If the driver in front braked, he braked. If the fellow in front swerved, he swerved; his reactions were fixed, fixed by what was immediately ahead.
But years before I had had a good fellow to drive me around, a man who saw the whole road: Who looked far ahead and saw traffic jam forming and decided on course of action, sometimes moving car into bylane, oftimes hugging kerb and getting by. His shrewd eyes were always ahead, watching the whole scene, noticing patterns and being warned by them.
I straightened up in the rear seat felt my tender burned chest carefully, found it was okay and settled down to watching the road outside, thoughts slowly forming in my mind. How like life, I thought, driving was.
Most of us speed through life looking only at the moment ahead, we press our feet down on accelerator, tear down the highway of each hour each day, each year, till suddenly we come to a screeching halt as something gives way and we smash ourselves flat!
We don’t look ahead to see warning signals.
We do not see the effect on our body as we indulge in habits that slowly wreck us, we work like mad horses, party like crazy animals, seeing only the present moment, not being aware of the days ahead, till one fine day as we lie in hospital bed or are wheeled into an addiction centre or stand outside the portals of a divorce court we wonder how it all happened.
Ask my driver how it happened, and he’ll tell you he doesn’t know, but maybe just maybe you’re different; you want to look up and see the road ahead, you want to become aware of telltale signs and fasten your seat belt and slow down, check your engine oil, listen to the sound of your body and asses the state of your life.
Maybe, just maybe those sudden brakes my driver pressed today may save your life or mine; then I will feel tender burnt skin on chest and say; it was worth the experience, it was well worth the pain..!