I would like to start today’s article by quoting one of the famous Bengali poems written by Sunirmal Basu. How this poem is relevant for today’s article , I will come into that later. For now, let’s have a glance at the first para of that poem.
“Akash amay shikkha
Udar hote bhaire
Kormi hobar montro ami
Bayur kache paire
Pahar shekhay tahar shoman
hoi jeno re mouno mohan
Biswa jora Pathshala mor, sobar ami chhatro”
If translated, it goes something like this-
I learn to be liberal from
the vastness of the sky,
I learn to be a relentless worker from the life of the continuously blowing air,
I learn to be majestic yet silent from the mountains,
The world is a school for me where every aspect of nature is a teacher.
So basically the crux of the poem is, if we have urge for learning, then source is limit less. We can learn from even smallest and most odd of things. Even from a bike racing game. Yes, you heard me right. A bike racing game can also be a teacher if you allow itself to be. How? You are just there. Please carry on.
So it was in last week that I happened to install a bike racing game called ‘Traffic Rider’ on my smart phone. As informed from the review section of the app, the graphics was quite great and cool. Besides, you have the luxury to choose from different fancy bikes available in the garage. All in all, you can get a real time experience of bike racing with this game. Accelerator, horn, speedometer, two lane roads, speeding cars, lorries and buses. You can experience each element of a bike journey here. Overtaking other cars with high speed, rash driving, ramming into other cars and meeting with accidents, they are also part and parcel of this popular and addictive game. One may say, how this game could infuse some lesson into people? Rather if taken badly, it could spoil young people and cause more accidents. But if taken with a learning attitude, it has some interesting insights to offer.
This game consists of some levels which you have to cross to get to the final destination. And to cross each level, you need to successfully pass the missions. Similarly, each mission has some challenge for you which have to successfully execute. For example, you may be told to ride 6 kms in 110 seconds to go to the next mission or you could be told to overtake 10 cars in 45 seconds. Sounds tough, right? Yah, rightly so. And in order to pass every mission, you have to be quite fast, strategic and extra careful. You have the accelerator and brake both in your grip, but how you use that two will define your fate in the game. One bad move or losing control for once, you would go straight ramming into other cars and Bam. You lose your chance. Not that you get out of the mission, but your chances would practically be over as the clock never stops ticking. Once you get into an accident, you can almost never recover as the time left is not sufficient to bear the brunt unless something exceptionally unreal happens.
While I was racing at a high speed riding on the bike and thinking about the strategy to reach the goal, I was startled to find an uncanny similarity between this game and life. What is our life if not a big race? And what are we if not those racers with bike? The only difference is, this game you play by your choice, but life? That is a game, we all have to participate in willingly or unwillingly. Just like the game itself, initially it is all good and pretty. You do not see any racers around you, you do not have to think about overtaking others or you do not receive any notifications reminding you of your goal. It’s just you, your fancy bike and beautiful surroundings. Is anybody thinking about their childhood? Well, I also did.
But it does not last long, soon you find other racers around you, you find some more cars , some overtaking you and some coming at you from opposite side. At the top of that, you will find reminders about your goal in bold red letters. You feel a little uncomfortable at first, but somehow you manage to escape unhurt, now you have hardly any time to enjoy your cool graphics. The only thing matters to you, whether you can reach the goal within the time limit or not. Just like our life, the more we grow old, the more we get interwined and involved in the race to survive, in the race to reach our goal, and eventually we forget to enjoy the journey, we forget to have a glance at our beautiful surroundings. We get attuned to the hectic and challenging race that it is.
We swerve in and out, we accelerate and sometimes we press the brake to proceed towards our goal safely. The time clock at the top of the screen continues to remind us about the deadline. We press the accelerator a little harder, letting the grip in the brake go a notch looser. We continue to overtake other cars more easily now. Wow! It is fun! We are overpowered by the addiction called speed, we increase our speed a little more, we go past our surrounding at a lightning speed, We feel the power, we start enjoying the power, and we forget the moment when we let the brake go loose. The brake does not hold any existence to us anymore. But suddenly, you lose control, and you forget to apply the brake, and BAAM. You ram into another car and you collapse. But unlike real life, you do not die here however fatal the accident is. And eventually when you again get up and ride on your bike, the clock is already counting down the last few pulses left. You feel helpless, you have no time left. Still, you try, harder than ever. But that does not seem enough. The clock stops ticking and your mobile screen shows up-
“Your Game is Over . Better Luck Next Time”
Just like the game, sometimes in life, we forget to take note about the control system called brake, we go overboard. We go overboard with our career, we go overboard with our love life or a particular ideology. We take every thing else as granted. We tend to overlook the objective of our life, we forget the little things that should matter to us. We forget to apply the brake accordingly. And finally one bad move and we meet the hardest rock there ever was. The world around us starts spinning. We collapse and get wounded severely. A big scar appears. The type of scar, that takes time to fade away and sometimes does not fade at all. And eventually when the scar dries up and we again return back at the race track-the destination seems far away, you see yourself slouching behind all. But you do not give up. You cover your scar desperately and again start racing, this time you are a bit more cautious. But your scar starts to bleed, you stop midway. You see everyone else surpassing you, you get elbowed and trampled. Before you know, you are out of the race.
Unlike the game, here you do not get the chance to start afresh, fix your mistakes and win the race. All you are left with a peddle of tears and regret. And a faint yet clear voice of your teacher who used to say –
“No need to hurry. Slow and steady wins the race.”