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.
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 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.