[Essence of Life] Escalier

1 min

My classroom is on the third floor of my school, and reaching up there every morning is a tedious routine, especially as my school mates forsake etiquette for expediency. Apparently, I’m not the only one on the staircase; there’s a troop of bustling students and teachers climbing or descending. One fine morning, a student behind plans to overtake, and signals me for the same. Although I am walking at a normal pace, our friend either finds me slow or is in a hurry to skip the steps. Having passed him, another enthusiast, descends the staircase from the opposite side. Now, everything I describe occurs in a fraction of a second: considering that he is holding the hand-railing unlike me, and that he is descending, he probably assumes that I will move to the left and give him way. On the other hand, I hold on to the thought that I am the one ascending (which requires much more effort) and therefore I deserve my way. At one moment- and this happens frequently – we halt in mid-flight after realizing nobody is going to shift the path. At this point again, both make a flawed decision and shift left and right simultaneously till the third successful time when the path is finally clear.

This occurrence is frustrating, but after enough experience I am now attuned with the mentality of the descending person, and as a result I often give him way. Sometimes, negotiation works wonders. But that doesn’t come at once. For that one needs experience. As such, this simple routine helps me understand a much larger model of the escalier. Out there exist endless such staircases. Climbing at my own pace, maintaining a balance between etiquette and expediency, is the key to ascend in life.

Shyamal Anadkat
Shyamal Anadkat (a.k.a Zostale) is a student in Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, USA. Innovation, creativity, and the art of critical thinking are few of the ingredients that craft his way of life. For the rest of his day, he enjoys gyming, playing lawn tennis, mixing music, and penning his thoughts even at 3 in the morning. His lifetime motto is 'to learn, progress, and serve’.