Roundabouts came onto British roads round about the same time I came about.Many a driver with an ‘L’ plate has had his heart racing and his car stalling at these ubiquitous traffic landmarks. The dictionary calls them ‘traffic calming devices.’ Calming the traffic? Maybe, but at the cost of perspiration for many driving instructors. Is it a ‘roundabout’way of getting back at these much loved professionals? If you have conjured up a picture in your head of me as head of the ARS (Anti Roundabout Society of England) or someone who is eager to demean driving instructors then let me assure you that you are far from the truth. We are all driving instructors in our own right, much to the chagrin of friends in whose cars we choose to negotiate roundabouts on British roads. I think I flew off on a tangent there. Let’s get back to today’s business ie roundabouts. I have a huge regard for roundabouts.
They have taught me a lot about life.They are not just about traffic.They go much deeper. In fact, I would call them a philosophical goldmine. The most crucial lesson roundabouts have taught me is that there is always someone to your right, someone in a better position than you.More importantly, as we moan and complain about what is on our ‘plate’, a quick glance to the left makes us feel thankful for we are always much more privileged than millions of others. Life is not just one roundabout but a series of many, many roundabouts and there will always be someone on our right and always someone on our left.The crucial question is whether it is the same people having the right of passage all the time. Roundabouts in life may appear to slow you down.Perhaps they do,but they make life a more level playing field.They teach you to give way to what is right, to whosoever is on the ‘right.’
Exiting roundabouts may be classified as an extreme sport by insurance companies.Perhaps it is for those with an L plate! In life you do enter roundabouts and don’t know which exit to take. Do you go round again or take any exit? Before committing to an exit, it is sometimes useful to buy some more time till ‘time’makes it all much clearer. Beware,however, of the ones who go round and round with indecision. Life’s roundabouts provide windows of opportunity. Please grab them. If you, however,miss them,don’t despair.There are many exits to life’s roundabouts and many roundabouts to life.
Prof Minesh Khashu