The travails of city dwellers!

Time can come to a standstill but traffic will never be! Can anyone dare to contest (no nomination required!) this statement?

Consider the typical traffic scenario on a “normal” day: A swirl to the left and a turn towards right, cutting lanes at the wink of your eye with regular “predictable” screeching halts, the Indian motorists (number of wheels and size of the vehicles do not matter!) have perfected the art & science of driving and riding. They have the knack of crisscrossing the lanes and by-lanes, with occasional slip ups of course! It is easy to predict a politician’s jump from one party to another, but it is well nigh impossible to predict the motorists’ intended path!

The two wheelers are like the sweet kheer (payasam) that is taken at the end of full meals: they find space even if the road is jam packed! However, there is still room (err…house!) for four-legged mammals with and without “horns” (unmindful of the urgency of the motorists!) that jostle with the motorists and pedestrians alike for the remaining space.

The ubiquitous cycles  and rickshaws, which were part of the city landscape (at least portrait?) a few decades ago, are dwindling in numbers and will soon be confined to the museums! Discovery channel should make a special feature about these dodos!

Blaring the horns (louder than a vuvuzela!!) in the “No Horn” zone are the “past time” of those motorists who consider that only their “time” flies “past” faster than others! Every change from red to green signal (of course, the colour does not matter to most of them!) will be followed by a road race (rage?)  that will put even the F1 legends like Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna into shame!

A recent innovation is the zooming and vrooming of two wheelers in the footpath, “originally” meant for pedestrians; invented by the Delhiites, of late the Bangaloreans have taken the invention with a missionary zeal (as it was left unpatented!!!) leaving the hapless pedestrians with no option except to learn to fly!

Do you think the four wheelers are left behind in this discussion? They give a “spirit”ed challenge  to their two wheeler counterparts, literally! The four wheelers, which come in various hues and sizes, will not even leave the platform dwellers to “sleep in peace”; if permitted, they will even conduct memorial service to their victims so that their souls  can “rest in peace”! They are never short of “spirits” even if a State is declared “dry”!

The pedestrians, the two-legged creatures that dominated the road for a long time, are not to be underestimated! In spite of being without any heavy armour in their kitty, most of them are like Biblical Moses. Do you know how? Just by waving their hands   towards the approaching vehicles, they make them to stop! Even if the civic agencies are “generous” enough to construct skywalks and underpasses, it will remain a ghost town as the pedestrians give them cold shoulder!

Do you think at least the road conditions will keep the motorists happy? Potholes   and humps compete with each other in the narrow roads; some potholes are so deep that you can reach the other side of the earth! With potholes so deep, will humps be left behind? Some humps need a pole vault to cross it! Like the advertisements “buy one, get one”, for every ride, you get backache free! The two-wheeler riders will proclaim: Every small step (jump) into the pothole/hump is a great leap to a hospital!

The bumpy roads have another advantage too: it reduces the costly medical bills for pregnant women who are on the verge of delivery; of course with some help from autorickshaws. It is only for the ever romantic  , a ride along the city roads is like swaying to the tunes of Bollywood music!

If you think only medians   are meant for dividing the road, please reconsider it! In many places it is replaced by a place of worship; it might be reminding us that we require God’s blessing in keeping us safe during our travails err…travels.

There are surprises galore: A 2-way will turn into a 1-way overnight, some 1-ways will be closed without any advance warning, some roads will be widened by cutting down trees and pulling down buildings (thanks to the civic agencies!), but still “snails” move faster than a traffic “snarl”  !

Cometh the rain, traffic will go haywire with trees and lampposts “uprooted” from its “appointed” place with many swimming pools thrown around for a splash of Ganga Snan (a dip in this Ganga Jal may cause many water-borne diseases)!

With the aftermath of every rain, the civic agencies will find it easier to stitch/darn the road than to relay it! If an agency shows “mercy” by relaying a road (beware: the joy will be short lived!), within a few days some other agency will dig the road for laying pipelines, etc. All the civic agencies have an official motto: Digging (graves?)   is our birthright!

This “perfect” coordination among the civic agencies may never be “matched” by similar agencies in any other part of the world! While in other countries, civic agencies provide “solutions to the problems”; in India, the agencies create “problems to the solutions”!

The “poor” traffic policemen, in addition to the never-ending traffic,   are always kept on their toes as arguments   and counterarguments of motorists are the order of the day, with foul mouths and fisticuffs coming to the fore at the wink of an eye, with pollution as a bonus!

Hope you enjoyed the bumpy ride… err… reading!!!!

Comments:

  1. ponnusami kasi thangarajan says:

    Jollyriding by the two-wheelers on the pavement is the one invented by the chennaities(particularly those who live in Arcot road stretch) a long long ago…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Addressing pet dog attacks: A balance between regulation and compassion

Government intervention is necessary to prevent indiscriminate breeding and trade of pet dogs, and more shelters are needed for abandoned pets.

Recently, two pet Rottweiler dogs attacked a five-year-old child and her mother in a  Corporation park in Nungambakkam, Chennai. Based on a complaint following the incident, police arrested the owners of the dog for negligence and endangering the lives of others (IPC Section 289 and 336). As General Manager-Administration of the Blue Cross of India, I have seen several Rottweilers over the years. While there are laws to address such situations, there needs to be adequate awareness among pet owners that dogs like Rottweilers should be taken for a walk only on a leash. A major portion of the responsibility…

Similar Story

Bardhaman town’s tourism potential: Why it must be developed

West Bengal's Bardhaman town has immense tourism potential. Its development must prioritise sustainable tourism and civic development.

Bardhaman town, renowned for its Bengali sweets like mihidana and sitabhog, is also famous for its rich tapestry of folk culture and heritage sites. The town has immense potential for tourism. But the question arises, how much of it has been explored?   This article aims to shed light on Bardhaman's historical sites, the initiatives to promote tourism while addressing the civic issues hindering its progress, and highlight the need to balance tourism with sustainable development.  Heritage sites of Bardhaman Sher Afghan’s tomb  Located beside Pir Beharam, close to Rajbati, lies the  tomb of Sher Afghan, the resting place of the last…