Wednesday, April 6, 2011


“Hi Samudra” Nishani waved at one of her batchmates, Samudra, and waited for a belated wave back. Then she watched her walking slowly towards her along the pavement.
“Hello Nishani, where are you going?”
“Where else can I go at this time of the day? I am going to work. What about you?”
 “I’m going on a shopping spree,” Samudra sounded excited.

“That’s wonderful, wish I could join you,” Nishani said.
 “Oh! That is fine. We can go another time. By the way, are you going to cross the road?” “Yes, I need to”
“Then let’s cross,” Samudra grabbed Nishani’s hand and hastily ran to the other side.
 “What did you do just now?” yelled Nishani.
 “Why, you said you wanted to cross the road, so we crossed,” Samudra flashed a mischievous smile.
“Is that the way to cross the road? It is pure luck that we are still alive. The dumbest thing you can do is to cross the road at places other than pedestrian crossings,” Nishani was furious and with the outburst, she felt her face blazing
 “What is the big issue? We can cross at any point! It takes time to look for a pedestrian crossing,” argued Samudra.
“It does matter.

Those few minutes you spend to look for a crossing can save your life,”
 “Why is it so important to cross at a pedestrian crossing?” queried Samudra. “Listen! At a pedestrian crossing, drivers do anticipate pedestrians. They slow down and hardly even attempt to overtake. However, in other places they do not. Therefore, the probability of meeting with an accident is high at other places,” explained Nishani.
“What you just did is known as jaywalking,” she said.

“What is jaywalking? This is the first time I heard that term,” she mumbled.
“That is an informal word to explain the action of pedestrians, who cross the road from anywhere other than the pedestrian crossing.”
“Nice word though. How did it come into existence?” suddenly Samudra was curious.

“The part ‘jay’ refers to an inexperienced person and then the part walk. Now you know what it means,” smiled Nishani.
“It seems like jaywalking is a serious and common problem. I wonder how drivers feel about jaywalkers,” said Samudra thoughtfully.
 “You are in luck, I can see Tharindu walking towards us,” said Nishani.

“Hi ladies!” greeted Tharindu, another batchmate.
“You are right on time. Where’s your car?” Nishani asked, while eyeing the key he was meddling with.
“I parked over there,” he pointed towards the public car park. “Anyway, what is the big issue?”
 “We were talking about jaywalking. Do you have any thoughts about it?”
“My god! I have tons of experiences about jaywalkers. Basically, I hate jaywalkers” Nishani looked at Samudra. She blushed as she realised that she was at fault.

“They cross the road when we least expect them. Generally jaywalkers are female shoppers darting across the street from one store to another,” said Tharindu.
 “We agree,” murmured both girls.
“What do you think will happen if 100 pedestrians cross the road at 100 places?” questioned Tharindu, the girls just nodded and remained silent wondering what to expect next.

Tharindu continued talking, since the girls decided to remain silent. “If 100 pedestrians cross at 100 places, we won’t be able to drive at all. We will have to stop and wait until each jaywalker crosses the road. Sometimes they take their own time to move. I have seen people crossing while gossiping with each other. They fail to realise that there are drivers waiting till they get across,” he explained aggressively as if he was almost ready to slap one of the jaywalkers right at that moment.
 “Hmm... I realise the gravity of my mistake. I’m sorry Nishani,” Samudra murmured and Nishani nodded with a smile.

“By the way, how come you two big gossips are talking about jaywalkers all of a sudden?” Tharindu was genuinely surprised.

The girls looked at each other, and both yelled in unison “No. Nothing special at all,” and shared a good laugh. “Hey, I’m getting late,” cried Nishani while looking at her watch.

“I have some assignments to complete before our big boss arrives. See you!” she wormed her way through the crowd and disappeared.

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