There is a signal I must cross each day before reaching my Institute gates. It goes green for exactly 32 seconds, where pedestrians and cyclists can cross in any manner they want to, as the vehicular traffic comes to a standstill (think of a rectangle, and all possible routes along the sides and diagonals). Now we come to the interesting part. I need to walk/cycle a part of my distance before I can see this signal, and there is corner involved. So that means, till I reach that corner I am not able to see the signal or its status. Even after turning the corner, I need to walk for a minute to get to the crossing line. The same goes for the return journey. Our Institute main gate is locked, and side gate is kept open, so we cannot immediately see the signal till we have come out on the pavement. I generally cross this signal at least twice daily, most days four times (when I go home for lunch), and on Thursdays six times (when I have to go back for my yoga class in the evening). Now on this particular Thursday in question, it was raining, which in turn meant no bicycle. And on the way to work, just as I turned the corner, I saw the signal go green. Meaning which either I had to dash very quickly (a small sprint) or wait for the next signal (a delay of 3 minutes – precious when you have to log in before a particular time, since my workplace is the last building on the campus). I did what any Mumbai girl, who has caught locals all her life, did. I sprinted. And managed to make it across in the nick of time. But to my chagrin, for the next five times on this day, I had to cross the signal, it had turned green a few seconds before I made it to the cross line. Which meant more sprints, heads turning, and generally a spectacle of myself, for one and all to see, arriving huffing and puffing and out of breath on the other side
From that day on, I resolved that I will not run. And do what the Scientist has done all this time. Not looking at the signal till the crossing line is reached, and waiting patiently for it to turn green. That meant taking full advantage of the 32 seconds rightfully allocated to you. This has taken quite a weight off my shoulders. You can’t imagine the relief I feel that I don’t have to dash. Perhaps, it’s just a matter of undoing my Mumbai instincts..