Monday, May 12, 2014

Let's Race!

I commute to work every day on my Bike and each day I wade through the irritating traffic under the blessing Chennai sun. Not a day goes by when I haven't wished the traffic would just vanish and the sun god would take rest behind the cool clouds when I am driving to office. But since that prayer gets answered very rarely, I resort to diverting my attention away from the traffic or the sun. I either listen to music or I engage in mock races with my fellow travelers on the road.

This morning as I was driving to office I engaged myself in one such mock race, with a guy on a TVS Apache. I chased him from behind and went ahead of him in a matter of minutes... and to my surprise the guy caught up with me and went ahead. I chased him and beat him again; he chased me and went ahead again! I realized the guy on the Apache was having fun too and so we kept racing each other for close to 10KMs. He had his moments and I had mine and we were toe to toe on the points table. Just when I was taking a turn that would lead to my office, telling myself the race was over, he made the turn too. To my surprise (and his too) we were both heading to the same building. We both realized the race wasn't over and we raced each other again till the parking lot.

Now, the building has a lot of speed breakers laid out (must be specifically to stop racers like us :D ) and going through them is a real pain. I was in the middle of a race and the thought of losing out to my competitor was something I did not like very much. As we climbed over our first speed-breaker I saw another ahead of me. I could see that the speed-breaker actually had a small gap toward the corner (See pic). I thought to myself that if I could navigate my way through the small gap at the corner, I wouldn't lose speed and I could win some precious seconds that would help me win the race.

So I began to navigate toward the small gap and I had to be careful because there was just enough room for my bike to pass through. I honked a passerby away and with immense focus and determination I drove through the gap and came out. For a second I told myself "Well done" but the next moment I realized my fellow racer had actually gone over the speed breaker casually and was going on ahead of me! I had just lost the race. In the few extra seconds I had taken to try and navigate through a tricky opening my opponent had won. I thought I could avoid the speed breaker completely, only to realize that had I faced it head on I could have actually won!

Most of the times in our life, the problems we face are like the speed-breaker. We strive hard to avoid them, we worry about how they would impede our progress, and we focus all our energies in finding out a shortcut to ESCAPE from problems... Today the speed breaker taught me something valuable; it taught me that not all speed-breakers are bad. Sometimes, you have to face them and go over them to become better and to win! Sometimes facing a problem puts us in a much better place than avoiding them. 

I might have lost a race today, but I won a much bigger fight inside me!