Mistaking serenity for chaos

Late yesterday afternoon I realised something astonishing. We were walking along a bustling Delhi street: at first glance it seemed like total chaos, with cars, motorbikes and tooktooks hurtling here,  there and everywhere. Drivers seemed to just go wherever they pleased, and the idea that there were actually rules to obey seemed ridiculous. But then I realised, nobody was getting angry. In London, I would expect such a situation to be accompanied by intense fury, with drivers hurling all kinds of obscene abuse at each other; but here, everyone was totally calm. What at first I took to be chaos was in fact serenity: drivers waited patiently as people cut in front of them, as if they expected it, as if it was just part of driving. Horns were hooted liberally, not as a form of aggression but merely to alert other drivers of ones existence. That realisation was incredible to me, and it made my jaw drop. They may have been going all over the place, but nobody was getting hurt or injured or angry. It was utterly amazing, and it struck me that we could all learn from it.

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