Everyday, as I make my way from home to office, I see a guy in a dusty, torn, black uniform, with a cap on his head, blowing a whistle after every 5 seconds. He stands at the exactly same place, a few inches from the divider, staring into the abyss, whistling. I have been seeing him do the same for the past 2 years now. At first, I mistook him for a security personnel. But as the time went by, I realized that there is a lot more to him than it meets the eye. Many times I wished to take a pause and see where he goes. But I did not intend to make him uncomfortable. Everyone living in that area seems to be used to his presence. No one bats a eye at the pointless continuous whistling. No one seems to believe that this could be changed or he needs some help. He seems content and focused. I wonder how long would he continue doing the same. I wonder what was his story.
About a 100 meters from where he stands, is an assembling point for police. I ride through a sea of cops in the morning, all of them sporting a smile, chuckling at each other’s jokes. Few years back, when I encountered a cop on my way, I used to get nervous at the very sight of him. Even when I had all the documents, I still got worried. Why? Because I had seen and heard many unpleasant stories in my childhood, involving police. Story of power, arrogance and torture. Stories of innocent people harassed, who approached the law rightfully. But that doesn’t hold true anymore. This city has changed my outlook. Now when I see them, I feel safe, not worried. Seeing them daily, on my way, is a part of routine. A very happy part.
On my route, I encounter busy signals. The one manned by multiple traffic cops and still not running efficiently. People here are, inadvertently, impatient and angry. And then there are a few crossroads, where no one follows the signal, and still there is no hustle. People here are more empathetic than others. Who are these people? The angry ones and the calm ones. Are they different? Not at all. The same red light which irritates you in the city, seems to lose its purpose when you are traveling. The object holds no significance. The situation does. Some turns will bring a smile to your face while the others were dampen your mood. You just need to keep riding, waiting for your happy turn.