• Piyumi Kapugeekiyana

Slow Tuk: A Meditation

Say what you want about tuks. Rundown rust buckets. Tiny deathtraps. Three-wheeled toddlers of the road. I can't help but love them.

Maybe it's how each tuk is an expression of its owner/driver. Maybe it's the sheer dare-devilry with which they cut a path through traffic. Maybe it's their cheerful colors and can-do spirit. Maybe it's because these vehicles lend themselves to scrappy inventiveness—makeshift flaps for the rains, disco boomboxes wedged in the back, jacked-up seats, motivational slogans slapped across every viable surface. Maybe it's because tuks were non-existent when I was growing up in Abu Dhabi and my fondest childhood memories are of vacations in Sri Lanka where I'd finally get to ride in one of them, wind whipping through my hair and all. Obviously I'm not alone or my talented friend Akila wouldn't have incorporated a tuk into the logo of Lanka Comic Con.

Words would fail me if I had to write of the times I've received a nugget of wisdom from a tuk driver. (Thankfully, they far outnumber the times I've had to deal with a weirdo.) But today isn't one of those stories.

My driver today was quiet. Lankan flag off to the right, a twinning peacock sticker on the top left. Blue shirt to go with a blue tuk. He chuckled when I realized I'd forgotten my phone at home and we had to turn back. As we turned into the main road, I realized it was going to take us forever to hit the usual goal posts of my journey. This wasn't a well-oiled, nimble tuk-in-its-prime. It was an aging machine, quivering and heaving, serving well past its time. My first reaction was impatience. I'd start late and wouldn't be able to squeeze as much work in before an afternoon appointment.

A second thought followed swiftly on its heels.

If the going is slow, you might as well enjoy the ride. It may take a while, but you'll get there eventually. Honor the moment and the means by which you get to your destination—everyone, including you, is doing their best.

So, that's the story of how a slow tuk taught me a lesson in patience. Perhaps someone else needed to hear it too.


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