Getting Nuanced

Getting Nuanced

Crossing the road any major Indian city is an art; a challenge; an act of daredevilry.

Yesterday evening, I came to a halt at the sight of a line of crazily veering vehicles – only to feel a tug at my arm.

I turned my head.

“What are you stopping for?” asked a querulous voice.

It was my daughter. The same little girl I would instruct, in serious tones, to “not try this when you’re alone” on the rare occasions we’d dart across a busy intersection.

This was a weird reversal of roles.

“Let’s go” she cried, stepping confidently into the approaching stream of cars and scooters, motorbikes and cycles.

Crossing an Indian road

Numbly, I followed.

Every driver slowed down a tad, and we scurried safely across.

“If you wait for a clear road, you won’t ever get to the other side.”

Late at night, when I was free to think, I pondered over her remark – and her typical response to my urge for caution – a casual “YOLO” (You Only Live Once!)

And I realized this had to do with, possibly, a fundamental difference in the way the young think about things than older folks.

To her, it’s a binary choice.

You either live. Or die.

So measure risk in that context.

To me, it’s a multi-dimensional set of options.

Being healthy and well.

Being dead.

Being injured and in suffering for a while.

Getting hurt and suffering for the rest of my life.

Shades and layers within these broad groups.

Maybe that’s what it is.

Growing older is about getting more nuanced.



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