Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Holy Cow!

Cow is a sacred animal in hinduism and hence is considered holy (no pun intended). But there is a totally different emotion which is conveyed by the phrase Holy Cow! in the English speaking world. I won't go in to explain that because the nerves in my spinal cord are very tired to be surprised by anything these days.

I've been going to driver's education classes since past couple of weeks and trying to learn driving the way it is supposed to be learned. Not like the way I learned to drive a motorcycle where I got the hang of gears and brakes two years, three accidents and four permanent scars later after I got the bike.

So today in class, we were talking about identifying sources of potential conflict (read collision) when one is driving a car. The correct way here would be to see things on the road, process the acquired image in the brain and try to figure out a conflict. But with lazy and unskilled drivers (read me), it happens that even though one sees something on the road, he is not able to process that image and extract from it the sources of a potential collision with another car or a pedestrian. In other words, dimag ki batti gul ho jati hai. The brain cannot make sense of what the eyes are seeing and as a result one is not able to take proper measures to prevent a collision.

!!! I did not realise when I enrolled in the drivers education class that there would be lectures on neuroscience too.

To illustrate his point, the intructor showed us an image and asked us to identify it. I am attaching the picture below. Can you identify what is there in this picture? I've already given you a clue.

O.k. Stare at the image for 5...4...3...2...1...0. Got it? Good! No? Here is the answer.

The more interesting part in the whole episode was when the instructor told as to imagine a real cow on the road while we are driving. A cow? On a road in America? I don't know how it easy or difficult it was for American kids in the class to imagine a cow in the middle of the road. But for me, it reminded me of matrabhumi. No pun intended here as well. Here is some help for my American classmates at drivers ed classes if they actually comes across this blog.

Holy Cow!

On a not so unrelated note, I got this message from a friend which says a lot about multiculturalism and the associated feelings of chauvinistic nationalism:

"Being British is about driving in German cars to Irish pubs for Belgian beer, going home, getting Indian curry or Turkish kebab to sit on Swedish furniture to watch American shows on Japanese TV.
And the most British thing of all? Suspicion of anything foreign"



Alex said...

I got it! but first I imagined somewhat a figure of a basketball player who is trying to reach a basket on the left, and after reading "i've already given you a hint" understood that it was cow...

well, maybe it is because we also have cows on the roads in Georgia. It is very common. Even on highways - the farmers do not care: they used to lead cows/sheep this way decades ago, and they continue to do it now.

You have rather challenging driving lessons ;)

Huzefa said...

You are hung up on the basketball practice we've had with tennis balls and trash bins in our study spaces!

shruti said...

interesting, difficult for people like me to relate things so unrelated