Crossing roads

I am embarrassed to admit that I have not really crossed too many major roads in Delhi. Being the pampered daughter of NRI parents, wife of a wealthy real-estate dealer, and now a well-paid professional has ensured I have always had wheels under my feet. Most of the time, there is also a chauffeur to drop me door to door.

Today, however, I stepped out of my comfort zone for the first time, literally, for two reasons.

One, I pampered myself with a purchase of an Eina Ahluwalia Containment neckpiece yesterday for Dhanteras. This required me to deposit some money in a bank that was luckily just half a kilometre away from my office. But – oh horror! – the short walk required me to cross two roads, the Outer Circle and Barakhamba, both traffic nightmares!

Two, due to having recently moved home, I no longer have the services of my parents’ driver. Else, I could have just sent him to deposit the money. So, in order to get my gift in time for Diwali, I simply had no excuse but to go myself as soon as possible.

After checking in at work, I stepped down to the main road, giddy with fear. But within seconds, the pedestrian signal went green, and I managed to cross not one but both roads in one swift waddle (yes, unfortunately, my wide hips ensure that I waddle, not glide). Waves of thanks went up from my heart to my Lord. “That was smooth,” I thought. The sun was bright but bearable; passers-by stared at this obviously novice road-crosser in a silk kurta, large bag and high heels. But I was happy, I had conquered the road. The return journey was just as easy.

The very short outing today gave me an opportunity to uncover some truths about myself. I realised that though I have walked the streets in many of the world’s major cities – London, New York, Berlin, Singapore – I have not really ever walked the streets of my home city. Sure, I do walk in the colony (at times) but never on the main roads, like regular people. That is both a blessing and a curse (which is also a blessing in disguise). I have not really known Delhi through its streets, something I insist on doing when I travel abroad. Watching people, dogs, traffic, buildings, from down up, I felt a bit like a tourist in my own city.

I often tell myself to collect experiences, not things (though, please note, I continue to be a thing-collecting spendthrift). What a lovely coincidence that the very piece of jewellery I had purchased came with this meaning:

“We search for fulfillment in material objects and yet spend our lives feeling unfulfilled. Until we come to the realization that true containment can only happen within ourselves . . .  and no matter how much we materially accumulate, when we die we (our ashes) are finally actually just contained in an urn.”

This Diwali, buying something also led to a learning experience. May the trend continue! Tathaastu (so be it) 🙂


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