Yellow to Red
The traffic lights turned red from yellow, Juggernaut applied sudden brakes and pulled back his car few yards to make sure the safety video cameras records that. The so called safety video cameras installed recently at the busy intersections in town were to provide safety to the drivers from drivers running through red. For every red-light infraction recorded by the camera, the city sends a notice of traffic violation with a hefty fine over one hundred dollars. Just over the last three months after installation of traffic cameras, Juggernaut received three letters of violation with a total fine of over three hundred dollars for running red light while taking right turn.
“How safety was compromised on turning right on red if there was no upcoming traffic,” thought Juggernaut counting ten loudly while stopping at the stop sign before turning right on red. Even if it were safe to take right turn, the drivers have to stop on red for at least ten seconds before turning right to avoid receiving a traffic violation in mail. People believe that there was more than safety involved in installing the traffic cameras; it was all about revenue enhancement. Since installing the traffic cameras, the city collected fines over a quarter million dollars. This kind of money, the city could never collect from raising taxes since raising taxes of any kind was a taboo in politics.
The driver behind honked to alert Juggernaut to get going since the color changed to green while Juggernaut was thinking about the cameras. Video cameras at traffic lights were deemed illegal in many communities in the country. The courts found out that no lives were saved nor safety was enhanced as result of traffic cameras and it was a pure ploy on the part of city officials to collect money, lots of it from the citizens through illegal means. “If the safety was not compromised by removing cameras in other communities, why the cameras are still in operation here,” thought Juggernaut.
For some reason, colors yellow and red stuck in Juggernaut’s mind after paying hefty red light violations. Then all of a sudden, his thoughts went back to decades ago when his mother made bright red Kumkum powder from bright yellow turmeric powder at home.
Kumkum is bright red powder used in Hindu rituals and also the main ingredient in making sindoor or tilak; Hindus use sindoor to make red-dot on their forehead.
Kumkum powder in various shades of red is in fact yellow turmeric powder. Juggernaut’s mother, like many Hindu women make Kumkum powder at home. The process was simple though laborious. The turmeric roots or rhizomes sold in the market were ground into a fine powder. The yellow turmeric powder is the base for making curry powder that’s why Indian curry is always yellow from using turmeric. To turn yellow turmeric powder to shades of red or vermillion, the turmeric powder mildly boiled with lye or caustic solution, this would turn the color from yellow to red, and then the wet red Kumkum powder is sun-dried. The intensity of red depends on the concentration of caustic used.
The color change of yellow turmeric to red Kumkum by caustic is a simple acid and base reaction. Yellow Turmeric is acidic and red Kumkum is alkaline with lye. Sacred red Kumkum is a symbol of divine and yellow turmeric is symbol of Indian curry.
“Wait a minute, I was burnt with hundreds of dollars of fine from red light violations recorded illegally. The violation at traffic color change was illegal while the color change from yellow to red kumkum is divine, something is wrong here that’s why the traffic cameras should be barred,” shouted Juggernaut while driving home.