This is India, my friend (Part 2)

Read the previous post in this series as well.

The second type

Ask any office goer anywhere about traffic during peak hours and he’ll freak out for a moment. During those 2-3 hours, in the morning as well as in the evening, its as if the entire city is out on the streets. I wonder if this is the case that people are usually not that much in a hurry to reach office in the morning. You know, they have a legitimate reason for reaching the office late: “Sir you know the DND traffic in the morning, its pathetic”. But in the evening, ah well, most of us are desperate to get back home. Somebody has to meet a friend at Great India Place (GIP) or just hang out with his girlfriend in CSM. So usually in the evening, in a traffic situation and in such desperation (due to any reason), what happens most of the time is that if commuters see enough space ahead, they move their car (or bike) without thinking whether if they do this it might cause more problem for the others. But who cares, everybody has to reach some place no.

One such evening, I had just given an interview and was headed straight back home. A traffic jam was the last thing that I wanted. My only crime (may be): I was in an auto-rickshaw. The autowala saw that the main road was choked so he took a short cut. We entered the main road again and were ahead of most of the traffic. “Good, this driver is intelligent”, I said to myself. Unfortunately, it seems that other car and cab drivers were also intelligent. We had avoided most of the traffic but there were enough cars and buses to cause a jam. And so it happened.

We had to take a right turn after some distance. The jam was building up but the traffic was moving forward slowly. Just before the turn, a car overtook us from left as it had to go our way as well (we had to turn right). What then happened was that the car blocked the rest of the road for those moving in either directions on the opposite side, as well as the ones entering from the side lane. Now, the traffic was in a deadlock. And we were stuck in between. Great. Don’t get me wrong, most of the roads in Noida are pretty wide so there is no such problem. But if you are in the industrial area around sector 2 or sector 9, there are chances that you will get choked roads during peak hours, specially in the evening. Again, there was chaos. Utter. Deadly.

This situation could have been avoided had that car not overtaken us. And now since the car had moved in the middle, there was no way the driver could turn the car around since already other cars and bikes were there right behind us. After a few minutes a cop came and started directing the traffic. Thank God, if not a traffic policeman, then atleast a cop. “That should solve the problem”, I told the autowala. But he was having trouble directing the traffic. He was not a traffic guy afterall. Meanwhile, the autowala was getting frustrated. “Pata nahi sir kahan se wo gaadi ghusa diya side mein nahi to abhi tak nikal gaye hote”. I nodded in agreement. After some time the cop came to our auto and ordered the auto wala to move back. Was he kidding us? There was no space behind us. The autowala said the same thing: “Sahab peeche kahan karen..wo car waale ko boliye na wo hataye gaadi..”. The reply came: “Saale bahut marunga agar peeche nahi ki to..”. What the fuck? How can he move the auto when there is no space to move you idiot? Then I looked around. Apparently, where the deadlock was, ours was the only auto rickshaw. What about the rest? On our right side, coming from the opposite side was a Honda city, on our left and trying to turn right (so it was kind of our front-left), the driver who had caused all the trouble, in an Indica, behind us were a few bikes, and infront of us, a few more bikes and a van. Who do you think the policeman would go to first? Guesses?

I agree that auto rickshaws often create lots of problems and that they are sometimes the main reason for such clogs. But why to blame one when he has not done anything? This really upset the driver. He said: “Dekh rahe hain in thullon ko sir..jisko bolna chahiye..jisne ghus ke jaam laga diya use kuch nahi bol rahe..aur autowala dikh gaya to use pelne aa gaye..”. He however, maintained his cool and started asking the cop for directions, “Ab kidhar jaun sahab?? bhenc**d bol ke chale jaate hain peeche karo peeche karo..aage bhi to batao..”. Nevertheless, he kept moving the auto backwards wherever he found some space. This continued for about 30 minutes. The cop first got the Honda City out and then told us to turn around and instead go back from another road. Eventually we went back the same way we came from and we took a left turn to get out of the jam.

This happens everyday I guess. The autowalas and the rickshaw pullers get some bashing from the cops. In some cases, they are at fault, and in some they are not. But why only these guys? I mean you have the rich SUV and sedan people breaking the laws also isn’t it? Well, all you have to do is take out a 500 rupee note and settle everything there. Where can the autowalas and the rickshaw pullers get this much money from. All the way, the pissed off autowala continuously cursed the cop, “In vardi waalon se sir kya bataun itni sakht nafrat hai..ek number ke haraami hote hain aur hamesha hum logon ko hi pakadte hain..”. What to say. I again nodded in agreement.

I do not know how many of you have seen incidents similar to the two that I mentioned. There must definitely be many such examples. Its kind of funny how we are good and bad at the same time. And this despite the fact that we know what is bad and what is not. I guess that it has now become a habit to be proud of what is good, and adjust to what is bad. Why not change? “Not my job..” – a common answer.

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