Caution! | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 12, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 12, 2019

Images through a theodolite


The traffic light goes from green, yellow, red; and yellow again at the dead end of the night, as it does on a bright summer noon.

At times when the roads seem empty, we feel a rush of adrenaline and tempt to over speed, or override all that was taught in driving school. The green — yellow — red; all seem to lose their importance, and driving on the streets seem like a green channel, no questions asked.

It is quite easy to understand the significance of red — a big no; to the mild green that allows safe passage; it's the muddled yellow that seems difficult to comprehend, and muddles everything around — not just road safety.

Yellow is associated with vigour and energy; it represents the zeal of life, and possibly, that is why we associate it with spring, the season when life blossoms. Without any doubt, yellow stands out against almost any hues, and perhaps that is why it also indicates caution —hard to miss, even from a distance; giving us time to avoid the hazard.

Life is not much different from the roads that cars ply on — day in; day out. As we age, we gradually learn to drive on the streets of life. We may well deny our responsibilities and simply blame it on immaturity till a certain time, but as we mature — not necessarily associated with adulthood — we are expected to take responsibilities for our actions. That is possibly the worst part of growing up — as we cross the watershed moment of crossing 18, we are expected to take decisions, and accept the consequences — positive, or otherwise.

We are taught to differentiate colours from infancy; but the colour codes remain untouched. It is expected that we learn them ourselves, as we start taking baby steps, to start walking and then running.

But how long does one run, is an important question everyone needs to answer to. As long as our running does not become a rat race, where we are willing to sacrifice everything we hold dear at the later, in hopes of momentary glory, remember — the cautionary colours change from green to allow, and not a red!

When life seems smooth, continue to progress, but do know that unlike the traffic lights, the hues of warning in life cannot be seen; only felt.

As human nature, we will transgress — just like any other night when the road seems empty, we tend to over speed. The more we control that urge to cross the speed limit the better. Yet, even after being in a red zone, life takes us back to yellow…to green.

This is the paramount lesson.

In a speech given by Abdullah Abu Sayeed at the convocation of a university, he urged students to go for everything, give their all-out effort at everything they wish to pursue…simple because they can! Yet, in all his sagacity he said, “tomra dourao…kintu thamte shekho'.

And that is where yellow comes in, because it tells us not to, but pause. Remember, the colour to follow is green — the go ahead!

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