When the brakes fail



Life flashes in front of your eyes. Depending on the speed you are at, either you become the news people read in the paper the next day, or you live to tell the tale.

What brought this on? Happened to me yesterday. Made me wonder. Those few seconds (if I was any faster, it would have been fraction of a second) were a whirlwind of thoughts. Of course in between all those thoughts, I did manage to switch off the car and use handbrakes. Lived to tell the tale.

But while I was sitting by the roadside for two hours, waiting for the tow to arrive, I was thinking. The thinking was a continuation of a lot I have written in past posts. Is this what life is about? We build our lives around people, around acquisitions, around things we like to collect and hoard. And all of it can go poof! In a fraction of a second it can stop being meaningful. Become useless. Makes you wonder isn’t it?

Our lives are like automobiles. We drive our lives. Sometimes at a fast speed with open uncluttered minds or the life gets stuck in a jam. Jam of emotions, circumstances, people who want to come in our way, slow us down.

There are times when the car is full of people and there are times when we drive alone.

I always get confused between analogy and metaphor but life and automobile, they are kind of interchangeable. It’s about constant moving from point A to point B. Mundanity is defined by where you travel. If it is all about home to work and back home, the route is predictable and boring. So is life. 

Do we ever travel from point A to point Z? Do we even travel to point D?! I very much doubt that.

We put miles and miles on the odometer of the car, travelling to same old places year after year (and then we change the car and do the same thing). Similarly we go through the years of our lives doing the same thing over and over. In life actually we continue with the same life since we got only one life. Till the engine just shuts down.

I have put many miles on my life and those two hours made me wonder. Yes this drive has given happy moments. Have driven on expressways and also through potholes. Have been stuck in jams frequently but as it happens, there is always a way out of the jam eventually.

There are still many miles left on this old warhorse. The trick now is to explore Point D or E or….

The road ahead is defined by what you see from the windscreen. Not in the rear view mirror. The rear view only shows you wants coming behind you. Far too often we are choosing our left or right basis what’s coming from behind. Whereas we are supposed to navigate what’s ahead and keep moving forward. 

We would all like our roads (and life) to be an expressway but it doesn’t happen. Just as it is tough to find a free road, similarly in our country governed by all the archaic societal traffic signals, our progress is slow. There are bullock carts (rules of the society set in 18th century) and then there are Audis and BMWs that are whizzing ahead and around us. Whoever said driving is easy and life is easy, think again. One bogs you down and the other creates expectations which you can’t match and get left behind.

But then we do get through. We may not travel very far. But can we make the most of the drive? Aim for point E?

Will we wait for the brakes to fail?

(Image courtesy AA1car.com)

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