Monday, March 2, 2015


The age old question we ask while never exactly knowing the true answer. Let’s be honest, do we even know why we ask the question? In India, crossing the road is a true art form. After spending a little time along the roads here, I have come to believe that a real chicken will not have the opportunity to cross the road. It will be transformed into a most excellent curry dish before having the chance to contemplate the possibility. If, for some reason, the chicken escapes the clutches of certain death-by-blade, it will likely meet its doomed fate within the first meter of attempting to cross the road.

For the human, crossing the street here is an everyday opportunity to walk the gauntlet. (Picture that scene in First Knight where Richard Gere tempts fate with his bold walk through the gauntlet.) There is no need to wait for traffic to completely clear or you will be the chicken that never crosses the road; traffic is just not going to clear unless it is late at night or early in the day (i.e. still dark out). When attempting to cross the street, one must look both ways (mostly out of habit because that is what we are trained to do and because you will continuously be shooting glances up and down the street anyway), then direct your attention to the closest ten feet of road. When the first ten feet are clear enough for a launch attempt, you say a prayer, commit to your decision, and quickly glace the other direct to make sure a random auto or bike has not decided to go rouge. Once you clear the first ten feet, you re-assess your position to determine at what pace you should finish your act of courage. Sometime you slow down to let a vehicle pass, other times you speed up to avoid being run down by an on-coming bus. With swift and agile movements you proceed across the street, never for a moment letting your mind wander from the task at hand. This whole beautiful, exhilarating dance of human and machine should be done as quickly as possible; it is a quick-step, not a waltz. The most important thing to remember is to commit to your decision. Once you start, you got to keep going. Keep calm and dash on.

Once you reach the other side, send up a prayer of gratitude before resuming your may resume your ponderings on the age old question of why the chicken crossed the street… noting that you cannot be classified as a chicken for conquering that death-defying act.

This is your gauntlet.

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