WATCH: How To Stay Zen When You're Stuck In A Traffic Jam
Big cities are notorious for the amount of traffic that clogs the roads. I live in New Delhi, and I suspect that “city lights” is simply a romantic euphemism for “tail lights” of the scores of cars that jam up the city.
Up until a few years ago, one could rely on being stuck in what I like to call the “clutch-brake mode,” only during rush hour. Now, however, rush hour has become extinct. Perhaps at 3 a.m., the ungodly hour of the ghosts and spirits, you’ll find a road to cruise on… if you’re lucky. No,
really. I speak from experience. In the last year, I have been stuck in jams at 11 a.m., 1.30 p.m., 2.15 p.m., 4.00 p.m., midnight, and the oddest - 2.00 am. Of course, I’m not counting rush hour traffic.
Traffic is an unavoidable reality in you are a city dweller, and it comes with a host of problems - backaches, stress, wasted time, rage, delayed meetings, missed dinners, and having to pick a limited number of tasks in a given day. Some people have the liberty to cultivate a lifestyle where they have to spend minimum amount of time in a day on a carseat. But, if you don’t have that option, or luxury, if I may, what are you supposed to do? Surrender to a lifetime of frustration and shrunken muscles?
The hundreds of hours I have spent stuck in traffic have taught me an important lesson: One can’t speed up the traffic, or make it magically disappear. But, one CAN utilise the time wisely. Instead of wasting breath on being frustrated about it, I would utilise the time catching up with friends over the phone (before you judge me, let me tell you, I would always always use hands-free), listening to a podcast or a book, or often, simply staying with my thoughts - simply THINKING.
How often do you just sit and think? If you ask me, thinking is a luxury in this day and age. Not empty roads. There are people out there who love going for drives, even in this day and age. It calms them, they say. I never understood such people until I started getting stuck in unwanted jams. Having no choice but to sit in the car forced me to start thinking. It started with angry thoughts about the state of the city. But, how long can one be angry about something? Once acceptance replaced anger, I began noticing that I was thinking about all sorts of things - my eating habits, the guy I dated in college, where I see myself five years from now, possibly
winning a Pulitzer one day. Having no choice to do something with my body or mind reignited the childlike imagination that I had lost, thanks to the responsibilities that come with growing up.
The irony doesn’t elude me. Neither does the epiphany that most things in life are what we make them out to be.
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