Yesterday, during the long flights while coming back from San Francisco, I remembered an incidence that happened many years ago, when we had gone to attend a Samagam in Chicago. After the Samagam, we were supposed to stay at Dr. Kalra's home. It was quite late at night. I had never been to their house before so he asked me to follow his car. At one point, he crossed the yellow traffic lights but because of the distance between our cars, when I reached near the crossing, the lights turned red. I was not familiar with that area; neither had the GPS nor their address, so, in a state of panic, I crossed the red signal. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a cop came behind and pulled me over. I explained to him the situation; that I was following a friend, that I did not have his address and that I had small children with me, but he did not listen and gave me a ticket anyway.
Next morning, when we were driving back to the Bhavan, we saw a funeral procession at a cross road intersection. There were almost hundred cars following behind the casket van. The traffic signal had turned red but every one kept going thru the red light. There were two police cars at the side road, looking at them, but they did not proceed to stop any one.
"Look, they are all going through the red light. How come the cops are not stopping them"? The kids asked.
I said because these cars are following a funeral procession.
"So “my daughter said," is it OK to go through the red light if you are following a dead body"?
Strange, isn't it? You can cross the red lights if you are following a dead body but not if you are afraid of getting lost and following a living person for directions.
It seems strange, but that's how it is.
That’s the way we are in our day to day life as well. The past always looks glorious to us.
We praise and worship the dead ones while we envy and resent the living ones.
We usually try to glorify the great people, heroes and saints from the past but we do not have much regard for the contemporary saints or heroes. We are usually jealous of the learned and talented people who are with and around us, we may even hate them, but once they are gone; once they are dead, they will become admirable and worthy of our praise and respect.
We are a ‘living’ society that admires and worships the dead ones.