Sunday, December 16, 2012

Indian Traffic: Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason!

I heard somewhere from someone that somebody said: "You show me the roads of a country and I will show you the soul of that country." I think we can safely discount that that 'somebody' hailed from India else he would have been accused of racism. Moreover, in case of India, I'm sure the soul will be wearing a 'Under Construction' t-shirt, which will be white in color as that's what Ramsay Brothers have taught us from our childhood. 
♫ .. Teri Meherbaniyan .. 

Traffic-Road situation in India is just not an ordinary situation like (putting my Congress cap on): increasing cases of farmer-suicides or rising number of rape cases in high testosterone regions like Delhi and Haryana. It's more like a Joint Entrance Exam to Dronacharya's Gurukul: It tests your respect for someone's privacy in how you bypass humping cattle (without disrupting the process); It tests your patience in how you react when you see a local bus holding up the traffic for hours in the thinnest of lanes; It tests your civility in how calm you can be when an Uncleji who was supposed to go straight is waiting for the green light blocking the free-turn; It tests your sense of hygiene in how you avoid running over an otherwise well-placed animal (and also human if you are nearby Kanpur railway station) excreta; It tests your respect for the law of the land in how you control yourself from taking a road which was until last night not a one-way; It tests your belief in God in how skillfully you save yourself from running over the neembu-mirchi (Lemon-Chilly) black-magic combination. The list is endless and unfortunately, nobody comes out of this exam as an Eklavya or Arjuna of the Mahabharata fame, but more like Arjuna Ranatunga after a long day's play- a very tired-looking and frustrated man.

At this point you must understand that the one and only principle governing traffic in India is: 'You are always right'. Yes, YOU are always right. So what if you are going in the illegitimate direction in a one-way street; So what if you don't think it's important to put on the indicator light for some 'obvious' turns; So what if you honk the horn excessively or don't honk at all; So what if after multiple years of driving experience you still don't know the difference between Hi-Beam an Dipper, but you are always right! 

Now that we have gained the basic understanding, lets dive into the problem. Two things majorly constitute the traffic problem in India: First, the driver-unfriendly roads (and in some cases lands that should have been roads) and second the always-in-hurry drivers (Talking about auto-drivers is out of the article's scope. Kindly refer my upcoming book: 'Sons Of Chyawanprash').

I think it would be wise of us to assume for the sake of practicality that the first problem can't be resolved. I swear to God, some of the roads are so unroadly that even if somebody is not due for delivery may deliver one, a 'baby' I mean. So much so that travelling on such roads is the only cardio exercise that people do on a daily basis. Besides, there is this growing hobby of every resident to make a personal speed-breaker right outside his house. I'm surprised they haven't started putting their autographs on them already. Don't they understand that the two fundamental words involved in speed-breaker are 'speed' and 'break'! What will the latter do without the former? And if you escape all of this then our brave policemen will catch you for not wearing seat-belt!!

Whenever I see the pathetic condition of the roads in our country, I feel the same pain that I experience every evening when my cook asks: 'What would you like to have, Alu-Gobi or Bhindi?'. I feel the pain not because I love my country and all that crap, but because I have never been able to enjoy a good car drive. This was not the vision I had when I took that hefty loan from that chor I-see-I-see-I bank. I'm not even sure if the car manufacturer has indeed put the fourth and the fifth gears as promised in the manual. The gear stick shows the numbers but what if I put my car to fourth gear and a sound plays 'Sorry! We never thought that you would make it this far. Have you left the country'? To pile on the pain, every car ad on the TV shows people being all happy and glad, rushing on even, smooth roads punching a hole in my soul. They go even a step further and show people gliding past till they reach their room and park it there, and I couldn't even get to reach my apartment without loosening a couple of screws of my car in the process.

Probably the most mystifying thing plaguing our country is the road-repair plan prepared by the local contractors, if it is prepared at all. Consider yourself alien if you haven't seen the best road in your locality getting repaired repeatedly while the ones which were built before independence continue unattended.  

By the way, when was the last time you saw a zebra-crossing white stripes across the road and moreover people following it? Perhaps that's asking for too much. I guess as long as we don't see actual zebras crossing the road, we are good to go.

Needless to say that bad roads go hand in hand with huge traffic jams. Being in Bangalore gives you a lot of such funny situations when a person new to Bangalore plans going by the 'Suggested Time' in Google Maps. Poor Google! How in world will it guess that bus drivers here sit cross-legged on their seats, leaving just one leg to tackle all of clutch, break and accelerator. To make matters worse, there are these generous driving schools. The beauty about these driving schools is that they will be teaching some Auntiji how to drive an Alto right in the middle of the most busiest market. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end! And how about that drunk guy who starts acting as a traffic policeman after coming out of the bar!

So what can we do about this menace? As individuals we can't improve ourselves and become civilized as that goes against our DNA. We can't also expect our government to help in this regard, as it is always busy covering their own tracks. So I guess the only thing left is to make others life a living hell 
by not allowing to squeeze back people, who swing out of their way to overtake but on seeing an oncoming vehicle try to squeeze back in. That's pretty much it!

As an afterthought, people have often accused me of just cribbing about an existent problem without caring to offer a solution, you know with this being a public welfare blog and all. So this time in the spirit of Diwali bonus, I intend to provide the solution as well. So friends, Romans and countrymen, lend me your ears. The solution to this traffic menace is DANDA. No that is Dinda and he is neither an answer to Indian traffic problem nor Indian pace bowling problem. I meant DANDA as in lathi or stick. Let me quote an incident that happened a long long time ago i.e. when I was young and a college-goer. So there I was, waiting at a traffic signal on my gareebon-wali (Poorman's) Bajaj Platina bike along with many others when suddenly one of my college's local Bruce Lee decided to jump the bike on the footpath and proceed. Now that was nothing unusual, after-all some 'veer' people have earlier driven their vehicles on the footpath (with people sleeping on it). Seeing our Bruce Lee, myself with some others were also about to follow when out of nowhere, a policeman pounced on our Bruce Lee in a true Singham like fashion. In the next 15 seconds our Singham dished out Danda to our Bruce Lee's backside so viciously that he had to come to college in formals for the next fortnight.

Till this day, I haven't taken the footpath route on my vehicle. In-fact after that incident, I don't even walk on the footpath. I'm more than sure, that the Danda onslaught had a deep impact on others, like me, who were present at the scene. So that is how the Danda solution works. All the police needs to do is, deliver 1 danda subah-dopahar-shaam (Morning-Afternoon-Evening) on some wise ass for the next 30 days. In medical terms:

1---------------------1--------------------1  X  30 
(I worked for a short-while as a compounder too in a clinic when the IT industry was booming booming like the young Afridi)

You would be amazed to see the wild-fire-like speed with which the stories of such incidents spread and in turn straighten people for good. For instance, let's assume that at-least a million people will read this article and then share on Facebook, thus the article will reach at-least a billion people and go a long way in correcting this problem. 

So barring the wishful use of the words 'million' and 'billion', how did you like the idea in its entirety? Of-course I'm neither the son of a millennium superstar nor the husband of a former Miss World so why would you say 'What an idea sirjee!'.


  1. Bhai u remind me Kanpur chauraha where generally cow or SAAND controlling traffic instead of traffic police :)

    Anyways I feel shame when I see Bangalore traffic condition. There is no Zebra line no traffic sense. If any accident happen next day something will come in newspaper then very next day u can see some guy is in road with white paint and secondly People with vehicle will not allow you to cross the road, as they are king.(guy standing in road like a SC/ST)

    One point you missed, snatch the cars from Mahila Driver they do not know how to drive.. Bus nikal paadi road par aur jam laga do.. :)

    Well written anyways I want idea sirji steal ur idea :)

    1. I missed tht point intentionally .. Already 29 n still single, I better improve my rapport with females ;)

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