I'm normally very terrified of traffic cops, owing to past experiences where mild ignorances ended up being translated as trespasses of the law. However, I'm working on that. And yesterday, a rather ordinary incident changed my perception of these men in white and khaki.
The traffic was insane. I didn't mind, Khaled was singing into my ears. It was hot but I had my shades on and AC high. Cars were everywhere-left, right, back, front. Horns blaring, sun searing, confusion reigning supreme over the scene. Something was wrong with the traffic light and as usual, no one had a clue, so they were doing what we in India do best-race ahead at the expense of everyone else even if we have nowhere urgent to go to.
This traffic policeman was all by himself. In that debilitating, destablising sun. He had no Khaled or AC. All he had was this mess before him, around him. He was not sheltered by a comfortable cocoon perched high above the craziness. He was walking around, weaving around this cars, purposeful and ever-composed, as if the noise did not exist and collision was impossible. Me, I would've bolted or screamed my lungs out at these unruly inanimate personalities (Cars always seem that way to me. I cannot relate them to people controlling them from inside).
No, he was calm. With a wave of his hand and a nod of his head, he stopped one section and allowed the rest to zoom off. He didn't growl or wield his scary baton. He seemed to command the respect of me and my fellow travellers, soothing us all into patience, rare on an April afternoon in Chennai. The mess vanished, leaving a gloriously empty road ahead. Another wave of his hand, he deemed as free to pass. And so we did, slower and calmer. Our destinations could wait. It was all good.