Stop. Listen. Go.
But..listen ? Where did that come from ? When the signal is changing from red to green, it doesn’t do so with a Zubin Mehta flourish or a clash of cymbals by a live orchestra ! What does one listen to ?
This was clicked at a junction in Madurai. Now, you may want to think that the populace of Madurai is so musically inclined that even traffic signals are opportunities to demonstrate a keen ear.
I hate to disappoint you. The keen ear is restricted, by and large, to the loud cacophony of horns, engines and tyres as motorists get ready to zip, fantasising a formula 1 track ahead !
I inferred that ‘Listen’ seemed to be a literal translation of the tamil word ‘ ‘gavani’ ( Pay attention) !
But there is another theory. In fact, another fact. Which i present to you.
In Madurai they had a practice of policemen wielding microphones. Traffic cops. And they shout into the microphone with the huge speakers amplifying it for everybody in this street. And the next two streets too !
“You in the white car, that’s a no parking area”
” Oye Rickshaw, keep moving”
” Yellow shirt, walk on the pavement, not on the road” etc !
The first time i heard this, i thought it was super cool. And they http://healthsavy.com/product/provigil/ even built a perch for the cops to place themselves in, get a vantage view and speak into the microphone.
And the cops were a pretty happy lot too. At least their faces seemed to say that. They didn’t have to blow the whistle. All they had to do was to shame a person ! “Oye you in the white shirt, cant you understand simple language ? Are you educated….. ?”
If at all i had any problem, it was this. That they had many speakers in many streets. With one policemen doing the rounds. Obviously in one street at any point in time !
So you know what happens !
‘Oye yellow shirt’, the speaker amplifies, ‘walk on the pavement’. And every gent around, in a street many corners away, does one thing for sure : checks the colour of his shirt & looks for the pavement !!
‘Rickshaw’ he bellows into the microphone, chastising one rickshaw puller who seems to have broken a no parking rule ! The entire neighbourhood reverberates with his booming voice. And rickshaw pullers in the entire vicinity tidy up their act !
Suddenly “Stop. Listen. Go” makes sense.
Do you think this can be adopted as some kind of a standard operating principle in the world ?!! Hmm !