Well, to get to the other side. But did it really want to go over? If you had asked Newton his answer definitely would have been, “Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest while those in motion cross roads.” Maybe the greener grass on the other side provides a lucrative incentive to the chicken, but is it really worth to go over to the other side for the sake of grass. The simplest answer to the riddle seems a euphemism for death. People walk towards their own doom as easily as crossing a road (it’s a pity the source of the riddle hadn’t travelled on Delhi roads otherwise crossing the road would not have seemed such an easy task!).
There seems to be a problem with our Gods. Just to mess around with people throughout the ages, they must have decided to let loose rather non-sensical pieces of words joined together to form a complete sentence and then sit down with a beer and laugh out loud on the stupidity of mankind involving a simple situation. Humans have this particular rationale of not seeing the lighter side of things, but turn them into complex situations. For some in India, these turn into political agendas with election manifestos shouting in bold letters that once this government is elected the whole country will have the answer to the riddle. Since when did knowing an answer to a riddle become an important issue for people!! Scarcity of basic necessities have haunted the people of our country, but with these kind of gimmicks the most dreaded nightmare of the citizens becomes that of a chicken crossing the road.
It takes calamities for people to realise simple things. The Great Depression led to the birth of macroeconomics, a strong thunderbolt perhaps led to the greatest discovery benefitting mankind. Now maybe a chicken attempting to cross the road, but beheaded by a passing by truck leads to the greatest recipe of Tandoori Chicken known to man. Colonel Sanders would surely not be missing that one! Maybe the other side in the age old answer to the riddle refers to this death.
Why make things complex when we can have a simpler perspective of looking at things. We all know that feeling when we know an answer to a question in the exam but avoid writing it believing our answer to be simple and write down a mechanism involving cams and levers for a question that wanted the steps required in making tea. Poets like Robert Frost also challenge the human conscious by writing things like: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference”. It could have simply meant that he found gold on this road and now is living in a mansion off Malibu!
People should not turn an ignorant eye towards life’s simpler problems. The simplicity of any task lies in its aspect of being simple. As it is, all of us have greater things to worry about. Some love stricken poet writes a malady and we find lovers committing suicide just to be together. Even if someone figures out an answer to a question he now fills his head with more questions and gets perplexed further. So if you have figured out finally why did the chicken cross the road, do tell me about what came first the chicken or the egg. –
By: Karan Anil Dhar