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As a youngster, my dream and definition of success was owning a Pajero (because our former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi used to move around in one and I thought he looked quite handsome and manly in his Pajero) and a Mercedes (for the sheer awe, celebrity looks and status factor). God has been kind to me and I have eventually owned both the vehicles. Now that I have fulfilled my dream which epitomised my success, have I been living happily ever after?

The answer is a blatant ‘No’.

Here is where an honest introspection is much needed.

I was commuting with my best buddy from the US of A in my new first-hand Mercedes from Gandhinagar to my office in Ahmedabad. Roughly about 45 minutes’ drive. Once we reached, my friend helped himself with a large serving of latte, sat on a comfy couch in my cabin and asked me if I had 10 minutes to listen to him. Zaroor, I was more than keen to listen to him after almost two years of hiatus.

“Amit, are you happy that you have finally bought a Mercedes?” he asked. Slightly surprised with his query (since he drives a BMW X7; you got the point), I replied, “Yes of course; it’s a dream come true for me.” He smiled at me as if he was about to launch a skirmish with my mental perspective and continued, “I was observing you while you were driving your dream. You were upset with the road conditions, complete lack of traffic sense, people talking and texting on their mobiles while driving, no cops at the traffic signals, traffic jams… And you got into a verbal tirade laced with cuss words with a lot of people for flouting the traffic rules. In fact you were almost about to hit a person who was driving on the right hand side of the road at 50 kms. an hour and was not giving you side to overtake. All those 45 minutes you were ventilating your frustration on one or the other. In the process, you did not enjoy the smooth drive of your dream Mercedes, its music system, its plush interiors and fancy automated functions.”

That really hit me hard. But then he can so easily do lecturebaaji since in the States people follow traffic rules to a tee (except junkies, who can blemish the applecart). When it comes to driving, Americans are so sidhdha like fafda and our guys are always teda like jalebi. How can he even imagine the ordeal that I go through every day while driving my car. Didn’t someone say, “Indian roads are filled with idiots?”

My friend went on to prove that I’m a bigger idiot than all of the above idiots combined.

He continued with his gospel 1.1, “Because you and few more like you have at least rudimentary knowledge about how to follow traffic sense with safety as a primary concern, you expect everyone else to follow the suite as well. And when you come across anyone violating the traffic rules, you get pissed off with them and get into an altercation. And that is where you go wrong.”

I was thinking, arey bhai, hamare shorts kahe uttar raha he. Baffled, I just nodded my head in agreement to the sermons of NRI baba.

Gospel 1.2 continues, “You get exasperated and try to correct their conduct either through peaceful or agitated means. Now you are trying to modify a person whom you don’t know! Do you think that he will unexpectedly start following the traffic rules just because you corrected him, enlightened him, brawled with him and once in a while got violent with him? Maybe yes, but just for that instant. However, even before you say ‘Jack Robinson’ he will overlook what you pointed out and continue to disobey the rules all over again. Arey, one does not listen to their near and dear ones, especially after being eligible for a driving license, how can you expect anybody to heed to a complete stranger?”

He was making a good sense of his observation and I could forestall what could come next.

Gospel 1.3, “Now you are getting all impatient and livid for a person or a situation that you cannot change (at least permanently). So your knowledge makes you understand the traffic rules and tells you to follow them as a responsible citizen. But the awareness says that, do not expect others to have the same knowledge and follow the rules. And more so, when you try to correct them, barely few will feel ashamed and amend their actions. Remember very few people can admit their mistakes openly and timely; for, every individual thinks that he is always right. So having knowledge is fine, but having the right awareness is your next phase of advancement. Do not expect anyone to change their traffic and safety discipline just because you gave them a nice little tip or a dose of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ or wishfully scared them. Also, you will never ever be able to make them feel guilt-ridden for long and change their behaviour for good. So it is simple as dimple. You follow the traffic rules and safety and let others do what they want to do. Do not expect anything from them nor try to point out their mistakes or change them.”

Hmm…Dude is right.

Gospel 1.4 (the last one by the way, phew!), “Had you been aware, you would not have got distressed at the people on the highway and the road or signal conditions. Rather you would have admired your prized possession and enjoyed your drive in the car of your dreams. What’s the use of a Mercedes if you cannot love the journey in it?”

This has endured with me ever since. I try to follow this viewpoint; not that I am successful all the time. But every time I consciously do it, I feel as if I am living in a different endearing and satisfying world.

I am sure every one of you can relate this example with some similar instant in your life. With this new perspective, you can retrospect that situation and how you could have handled it better had you been aware rather than just knowledgeable.

To end this, awareness over knowledge is the next step forward in your evolution and it can become the elixir of your peaceful and happy life.

Lamberghini chalayi jaane o (Driving away in Lamborghini)

Lamberghini chalayi jaane o (Driving away in Lamborghini)

Dil mera kadd ke lai gayi naal sohniye (Dear you have stolen my heart)

Tere pichhe lagge hoya saal sohniye (Dear I’ve been after you since many years)

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