As #monsoon is enjoying being mean to #Ahmedabad, I feel that I still have time to consolidate my reputation as a soothsayer.

I can safely claim that on the day rains will arrive in full force, mostly likely in the evening of a working day, we shall yet again see scenes of utter mayhem on our city roads. There will be massive #trafficjams and total chaos.
Completely normal and sane people will turn into maniacs breaking #traffic signals.

Roads that normally see a smooth flow of movement will be completely chocked, and everyone will reach home later than they normally do.

Let me clarify that my prediction that it will be evening time is based on common understanding of climate behaviour in tropics, and my prediction that it will be a working day is based on Murphy’s law, so there is a possibility that I may be wrong there; but my prediction about the chaos is based on an ancient human instinct and hence I am ready to put my hard-earned money on it.

The reason why normal citizens go berserk is buried in our old brain where we still exist as ancient apes that lived cosseted in a small clan in the comfort of a familiar territory.

The mad rush that we see on the roads during rains is nothing but this ancient ape waking up within each of us and fleeing blindly to return back to home turf.

Whenever an ancient instinct rises to take control, there is always a #survivalthreat linked with it. As survival is brain’s paramount objective, it takes no chances with even smallest of threat.

As I look at threat-perception linked with rains, I don’t see any hardwired ancient fear. In fact, most of our ancient scriptures and tales are full of cherishing and enjoying this wonderful gift from the sky.

But, if I shift from ancient to modern, I see a complete change in the narrative and associations.

Rains, since the proliferation of visual media like television, have become completely different. While real rains bring life-giving elixir and a season of plenty; televised rains bring death and destruction.

Rains that fall from TV and other screens that we are hooked to bring nothing but floods, water-logging, open gutters and car-engulfing holes.

There is no denying that news of this nature are real and important, but we also need to grasp that all the good that rains bring can’t be converted to news. It is only the death and destruction caused by rains that is worthy of reporting. So, while media is doing its job, we need to recognise the inherent problem with the issue.

Not just for the rains, but for every problem reported by #media, be it rise of religious intolerance or decline of women’s safety, news is what is an exception and not the norm. The normal world we live in on day-to-day bases does have killer gutters and sick-minded rapists, but not with the same frequency they appear in the news.

Unfortunately, our old brain is not really able to make this statistical distinction. For it, any information about a possible survival threat is a behaviour-altering input that it must cognise. So, we like it or not, our brains are getting re-programmed around the news-based reality where rains are a killer and streets are unsafe for women.

There is no doubt that such an altered and extreme threat perception of reality may bring greater safety from rare events that appear in news.

But, it will surely rob us of a lot of good things in life.

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