Saturday, 7 June 2008

It pays to do the right thing

Long time, no see eh? What? You were happy I wasn't blogging much? No I didn't quite hear that. Stop mumbling and go on to read the next post.

This happened a few days back...
My cousin and I were returning home one night. It wasn't what you'd call a long ride... about 10km or so. I hadn't been sure of the amount of fuel in my bike, so while I was checking that, he left. He had a headstart of 5 minutes or so. Once I was convinced that there was sufficient fuel, I was off. I'm the younger one here, and the one with the smaller (engine displacement) bike. Thought it would be fun to catch up with him, and ten km would be a long enough distance to make up the lost five minutes...

Six odd kilometres of fast riding (not rash, mind you, fast and rash are different), and I'd finally caught up with him at a traffic signal. A bus separated him from me... As the signal went green, he got off to a nice headstart again, and I got bottled up behind the bus. By the time I'd overtaken the bus, I'd lost sight of him again. Now, this is the part where you need to refer to the map. I caught up with him again, at another traffic light (The orange dot on the map). Now, to get home (blue dot), I could either take a right turn, and ride up a one way, or I could follow traffic rules and go straight. The straight was obviously longer. I hoped against hope that he would pick the straight road, giving me a crucial kilometre or so to overtake him. But he didn't. He decided that it was late enough for him to take the right and go against the one way. So he ended up taking the red path, the shortest way home. I thought about following him. Then I didn't do it. A younger cousin was sitting pillion, didn't want to be setting bad examples... Took the straight road.

Now, the straight road leads to a junction at which some construction work is in progress (It's been on for a while, no one has any idea what they're up to) . Due to this, the way home is the yellow path. Very long as you can see, not a chance in hell of making it home first. Resigned to my fate, I proceeded. And then, the gift of the gods! That very day, a straighter road had been opened up for traffic (the brown part). Suddenly, I had another path, the green one. It wasn't as short as the red, but it would defintely cut a couple of hundred metres and eliminate the time consuming U-turn. Yelling and whooping (I'm afraid I must've made quite a scene of myself that night), I made my way home. My heart was pounding in my chest, adrenaline pumping through my system... would he have made it home? Would the ride up the one way have delayed him long enough? Nervously took to the right turn, and then the left... to see...

No bikes parked in front of my house! I'd beaten him! In spite of the five minute handicap, in spite of the fact that I took the longer way home, I'd beaten him home! It was a good two minutes before he arrived.

It's a valuable lesson... Don't break traffic rules. It's dangerous, not only to you, but to countless others on the roads around you. There is no time limit for traffic rules. They're always in effect. I'm happy that nothing went wrong that day, but how easy would it have been for a car to be speeding down the one way, and to have hit my cousin?

(At this point, I'd like to make it clear that my cousin is no slowpoke on the roads, and that the displacement difference was a good 40cc (or 25% more) , which is large enough on Indian roads)

Remember, it's good to follow the rules. The gods will bless you!


anu said...

Would you have been given to thinking the same way if, by chance, he'd arrived prior to you that day?

greySith said...

The point I'm trying to make here is not the elation of getting home first, rather I'm trying to say that you don't want to break traffic rules. Ever.

Would this post be here if he'd reached home first? No.
Would I continue to fanatically follow traffic rules in spite of getting home after him? Yes.
For two simple reasons:
1. Like I said, ignoring traffic lights, breaking other basic rules are a cardinal crime. You might get away with it most of the time, but that one time that you do screw up, you screw up not only yourself, but another poor sod, who would have been well within his rights and following the rules to a T. I've been a victim of this, I know.
2. Most of us swear at people who don't follow the law. In my instance, following the law allows me to swear at the errant rider without it resting on my conscience, that I do the same thing occasionally.

anu said...

precisely what i wanted to know.
points taken :)