Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anjali And The Traffic Signals - Constant Source of Consternation

It has been over a month since Anjali learned about traffic signals at her school. The first few days were spent in educating us (as always) about the traffic signals. 'Red means stop,' she said emphatically thrusting out her hand. 'Orange means get ready,' she said revving up. 'And green is for Go, Go Goooo,' she said, opening the flood gates with a huge smile. We nodded, confused the colours for her, refused to stop or go and did all things adult with her as she reveled in her new found knowledge.

In a few days Anjali figured a new signal game in which she could ride her small bicycle at home and we could tell her the signals. So it became a favorite pastime of hers to ride from room to room and finally come someplace where the signals were to be. The designated traffic cop was to shout Red, Yellow and Green and she'd stop, rev up and go off with a big smile, satisfied with the progress her students were making. Sometimes the traffic cop would be busy reading the paper or a book or watching tv and she would wait at the signals, completely disgusted. 'Nanna,' she'd warn if it was me. 'You are not telling me red. You must tell em na nanna. If there are no signals there will be a dash.' Suitably admonished and lectured by the three year old I'd return to my duties, wondering what would happen if all the traffic sops were admonished like this by us. They'd probably do their job better.

Soon her interest turned to the signals in the real world. The moment we get out of our house in the car she expresses her desire to 'see the signals'. The first signal we run into on the main road is defunct and it is daily tale of sorrow, of the state we are in, of the callousness of the traffic police. 'The signals are not working nanna,' she exclaims everyday with a concerned face tinged with disappointment. 'Do something. Tell them to repair.' I promise her everyday and fail of course. I f she continues like this Someday I will have to remove it secretly myself. On the way to her school there is another traffic signal which is also defunct. Once again the familiar cry of indignation goes up. 'The signals are not working nanna, mamma.'

But the day she sees working signals, and she can spot them from quite some distance, she is thrilled to bits. 'Red, red, red,' she screams. 'Stop, stop, stop.' Sometimes she gets confused between the red of one direction and why everyone is going away despite the stop signal. 'Mamma why they are not stopping,' she asks. 'Now yellow,' she says in anticipation but some signals skip the yellow, teasing her. (Must be adults.) But its okay since the next colour is green, her favourite signal. And then we get a full throated 'Go, Go, Go,' and a big smile at the thought that the world was back to its best, everything is as it should be.

This enthusiasm does not  scale down even a notch. It is more than a month or even longer but the sight of traffic signals probably never got so much joy to anyone I have seen. And so the world goes around, like a multi coloured signal for Anjali stopping, getting ready and going, going, going!


Hmmm said...

Child is indeed father of the man eh! Have been following your blog since say around 6 months. Never compelled to comment except because of your Anjali ;). Oh well, that's also the name of one of the main characters in the script am working on! By the way do tell us how do you discipline yourself to write continuously and consistently!

Harimohan said...

Indeed, indeed. Anjali was the name of the characters in two of my novels (one published and the other on the way) - even before Anjali arrived and claimed the name. Good to hear that you are working on a script - I wish you all success with it.

As for discipline, I have chosen writing over conventional jobs, so I write as seriously as I would do any job. Early years I wrote 8-12 hours a day and it paid off.
I also realised that writing more and that too in a public space, helps my writing evolve because you know others are reading as well.
In fact the column in the newspaper is something that makes me very aware because of the all ages of people it reaches - and that responsibility helps sharpen the thought and skill. I blog a little less seriously - as far as writing goes, but it helps form thoughts, to record.
I guess that's makes me write more often. Also writing is what I consciously chose to do with most of my time so...

Anonymous said...

Hi Harimohan,

Wonderful blog again.

I came across u r blog just 10 days back and I am totally addicted to it, so much more to read here. Thanks for all the wonderful writings.

Something similar is happening in my house right now, I am having my traffic classes one more time all together again :)

As Anjali and Shyamali(my baby) says let the world be in green mode always, go go go.....


Harimohan said...

Hi Anon,
Thanks. Yes, go, go, go - with that irrepressible enthusiasm that they have - wonderful philosophy to imbibe and practice from the Shyamali's and Anjali's of the world.