Monday, October 18, 2010


Sitting in my car with my mom driving, I was waiting for the doctor’s clinic to arrive. Everything was moving at a snail’s pace and not just because I was very sleepy or was under a hypnotic drug but because there were hundreds of traffic lights between our destination and us. The sun was
scorching hot. As drowsy as I was, I quietly drifted into deep slumber. As I opened my eyes, I saw myself somewhere else.
I blinked my eyes and saw myself at an absolute alien place, as if I was casted into an animation movie. I was standing on the edge of a road, had no idea how I had come here and most importantly where was mom? There was no one around me.
No soul to be seen. While I was pondering over these questions, I heard some sound. The babble was coming from some distance. My feet started pulling me towards the sound. The noise was happy noise, very cheerful, of people playing and hooting. As I drew near to the sound and looked around, I could not digest what I saw. They were not people playing but some traffic light poles drifting their way on the basketball court, beautiful lights cheerleading and spectator old fused ones watching the game (probably remembering their good-o-days!). TRAFFIC LIGHT POLES..!!!  I was very much taken aback by those moving things. They had  two skinny metallic legs, a less than size zero body and were playing basketball with their two hands (metallic again!). Very intrigued, I continued to watch and observe their game. It was nothing like I’d ever seen, not even in my wildest of dreams.
As very customary of their traits, they were showing their three patent colours, some of the playing poles were showing red, some were green and the ones sitting on the bench, observing the game like me, were showing the yellow colour. So I took up the courage to go and talk to the yellow ones. They were sitting very quietly with their long legs spread all over the bench so that no one else could come closer. I guess they were reluctant to talking. I asked one of them “Hey fella how are you doing, who are you, and what place is this?”
The one showing yellow turned more yellow with my questions, as if shirking away from me, but gathering up some nerve he answered, “I am Mr. yell. And you are in Bijli city, the city of lights. Are you new here? Never seen you before around the crossroads”
I wonder if they required a tri-colour card (just like the green cards in US to be staying here). I replied “Yes I am new...but it has been quite some time, aren’t you on duty? Don’t you have to turn green? “
He then told me that they were the idle ones and only occasionally changed their colour to green to hoot for the teams playing. This was all very baffling for me. They were very shy
initially but started to open up soon. From them I gathered that everybody(every traffic light) here was free today as there was very going to be very less traffic in their area today as predicted by the great
Maya , The fortune teller pole. They told me why they were showing different colours. Apparently the colours on the traffic lights represented their moods.
He pointed out to a fellow light with red head and said “Red usually stands for anger and aggression.
So, the ones who were losing in the game were showing red due to extreme anger. And the ones in red just on their metal cheeks are the ones in love!! They have a very different pole language (synonymous with body language) from the angry ones. They seem drunk, and are blushing most of the time. You can even find some lights in love carrying a red car light in their hand. That’s what a rose is here.”
He then pointed to a green one dancing on the other side of the road. He said, “She’s extremely cheerful as her marriage has been fixed.”  Usually the green ones represent a happy and peaceful nature. I was told that green also stood for jealousy but again the jealous ones were easily distinguishable from the happy ones.
I asked them, “Why are you yellow then?” I was so absorbed in their world that I was almost being rude. But they said that it was okay with them to share the details of their world. No human talked to them that much as they went about their work. Then they told me that the yellow stood for shyness (as I had half-expected). They were sitting and not playing the game as they were too shy to approach the leader.
“How does it feel to move about so freely?“ I asked them. We’ve always been like this,
they answered. “How is that possible!! You were always static till someone injected me into this bijili city and electrified you!! “
They were shocked to hear that in my world the traffic lights poles were fixed at one place, could not move and did not even have a life. They said that they couldn’t even imagine a life with out mobility, let alone imagine a lifeless life. How would they be able to control the traffic then? I told them we had traffic police for that. They had not heard of such an alien concept. They had police in their world but for solving real crimes. They told me that they controlled the traffic in their world. They had defined a set of rules which every human had to follow. If any person would try to jump a light or exceed the defined speed limit, they run after the vehicle and suitably punish the crook. No one wanted the wrath of a traffic light. But all in all, theirs was a much peaceful place as far as the as traffic accidents were concerned. If at all there was an accident, there was no need for an ambulance as the traffic light would themselves pick up the injured and run them to the nearest hospital. It was almost a perfect setup.
The basketball game was coming to an end and so was our conversation. The ones I was talking to started to get up too. One of them had an appointment with her electrician as she had some loose connections in her circuits. As I was bidding farewell to her, I suddenly heard a screeching sound.
When I opened my eyes, I found myself back in my car. The sound had come from a speeding car in front of us. An accident had taken place just ahead of us. There were two casualties and the ambulance was one hour away. And the thought crossed into my mind that if the traffic lights could move, the world would definitely be a better place. An easy hassle free traffic drifts....our traffic needs that for sure!!