Thursday, September 4, 2014

Holy Cow! There’s a bovine in the fast lane.

Holy cow! There’s a bovine in the fast lane. And you’re heading for it.

Holy Cows Meditating in the Fast Lane

Dusk is never a good time to drive - especially when you’ve been on the road for a good 12 hours. We had driven almost 700 km. Tired, attention spans becoming smaller, concentration wavering, we just wanted to reach our hotel – the bread omelette place our friend had recommended.
But before that, at the outskirts of Udaipur, Cow almost did us in.
We were in the middle lane and a Maruti Alto in front of us was testing our patience. We wanted to overtake it. But a delivery van moving parallel to the Alto and going at the same speed was blocking the fast lane. Inspite of it being the grey area between evening and night, the street lights hadn’t come on.
Then all of a sudden the van sped up and veered into the middle lane ahead of the Alto. The fast lane was clear now we thought, surprised by the consideration shown by the driver of the van. We accelerated and swung into the fast lane - only to find a cow staring into the headlights of our car, barely a few dozen yards ahead.
No wonder the delivery van's driver had been so nice.
The cow’s image flashed in front of us, our collective gasp rent the silence inside the car, the right foot crushed the brake pedal, the wheels screeched, the hands worked the steering wheel desperately. Everything happened in microseconds. We couldn't take a single rational decision. All reactions were instinctive and automatic. Where was the time to think?
Our car responded like a well trained Labrador and shot through the gap between the cow and the Alto. And that saved us.
Otherwise it would have been terrible for both the cow and the front portion of the car – the radiator, the bonnet, and the engine thingummy under the hood.
The emotional reaction set in later – dry mouths, trembling legs, wet eyes, fluttering heart and that sort of thing. Much, much later sitting over a cup of strong tea at Matts Hotel we looked back at the incident and the lessons it threw up.
Life Lesson 1 – experience counts. Practice counts. All the driving over the years alone led to the instantaneous, instinctive reaction that prevented the crash into the cow. No credit to us.
Life Lesson 2 – the subconscious counts. All through the journey we had seen cows straying on the highways and subconsciously we had learned to expect any such obstruction at any time. So we didn’t freeze when we saw the cow in front. Trust your instinct. Let out your inner voice.
As Anne Lamott, that wonderful writer writes in her book Bird by Bird, "Listen to your broccolli..."
Life Lesson 3 – God’s grace counts. Period.

That's why we believe cows are holy.
PS For other adventures on the Delhi to Poona trip check out Miracle at Billimora and Snakes Alive!


Sarang Sahasrabudhe said...

That was close...
You did well!

SA6591 said...

Yes, it most certainly was. The perils of driving in India.