“Oh no, not again today. Why do these last minute tasks keep coming up at just the wrong time”, Vivek thought as he rushed out of his office in a hurry. The watch read 5:15 pm. “I might just escape the evening traffic.”, he murmured as he started his car.
He had traveled around 15 minutes and the traffic was smooth.
“So far so good”, he uttered as he approached a traffic signal, knowing that a real busy stretch was about to commence. He waited for the signal to turn green, which happened after around 90 seconds of waiting. But alas, even as the signal was green, the car in front of him didn’t move.
“What the …? What’s wrong with this …?”, he shouted as he rolled down his glass windows. “Why do people take their cars out if they don’t know how to drive?”, he said, his voice getting louder.
It has been 15 seconds now, and was only 30 seconds before the signal would turn red again. He honked, and then honked some more but to no effect. He decided it was time to give the driver an earful and got out of the car.
“Can’t you see the green signal in front? Will you bloody move……”, he stopped his angry tirade as he saw that the car in front of him had no driver in it and was empty. “Maybe it had broken down and the driver left it here to find help.”, he thought.
Realizing the futility of his honking and shouting now, he got back in his car, took a little reverse and then went around the car with no driver. He crossed the signal just as it turned red again. “What just happened?”, he said to himself as he drove off.
“If all it required was to take a little detour around the car in front of me, then why was I shouting and honking and getting angry, even when I know I am already running late.”
…. Silence …
“And where did my anger disappeared when I saw there was no driver. After that it was just common sense to drive off around the broken car. But where was that common sense before. How does it matter whether the car had a driver or not. I could have still drived off around it.”
This kept on puzzling him till he reached home an hour later. Later at night while having dinner, he suddenly shouted, “I got it. The car is always empty.” “Yes, it is always empty. Even if the driver is there, it is always empty”, he said it out aloud in excitement like he has just had an eureka moment.
Everyone around him on the dining table sat puzzled, wondering what has just happened to Vivek.
— End of Story —
Here is the thing – Whenever we encounter people and situations which don’t turn out as we ‘expect’ them to, we are finding an “empty car”, but we don’t always see it that way. We think that someone ‘else’ has spoiled our expectation when what is happening is normal, just plain normal life. We might judge them, curse them, and find other ways to justify ourself but the truth is that they are just living their lives as we are living ours, and they just happen to be ‘in our way’. Just like we also are in other’s ways multiple times a day.
This is a tough task, to separate the actions of the world from our judgement and ours always thinking mind, and see them just as they are. If we don’t get angry at the sun making us sweat, or the dust making us dirty, and we just do whatever is required, the similar is true for other empty cars too.