Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Road Not Taken

This title, as you might have guessed, gives you the picture of the beautiful poem by Robert Frost, doesn’t it? Well, in contrast, this post is neither a poem nor is it about describing beauty. Although, one similar point is that, both of us describe about the roads less preferred or in some cases, preferred not to be travelled at all.

Indian traffic can be considered as the legendary depiction of live chaos. The roads are a race track with a bad surface or something that is under construction for all eternity. “Pit Stops” or to plainly put, craters, are present throughout that can send a vehicle at a top speed toppling. I meant it literally.

About road rage, well, you don’t have to bother really. Dynamic road blocks which are oblivious even to cops like uncared animals, ignorant pedestrians busy yapping on their mobile phones, speed breakers with no luminous paints, buses that can stop anywhere on the road to pick up and drop travelers and vehicles parked in a no parking zone or sometimes close to the middle of the road ,payoff well. This is just a gist. There's more.

To talk about some heroes on the road, let me describe them first. Old school dressing, a cap and a pair of Dashing Coolers … in the late evenings when the bright sun goes off to shine on the west side of the world, only makes you pity them for their “wannabe” desperation. These heroes ride their bikes like the lightcycles of Tron ready to make a surprise 90 degree turn any second making you feel like a sorry bull rider taming his wild, insane, jumpy bull every time you apply your brakes all of a sudden.

Now from two wheelers to three wheelers. The path taken by these drivers are like that of an AC energy wave, inverted AC wave, pulsating DC energy wave, to name a few of their chaotic motions, in any random order. Like James Bond, Auto drivers have their license to irritate. The saying “appearances are deceptive” holds good here because, the drivers can look like real simpletons but in reality, these are the people that are actually connected*.

Time for the kings of the road. James Bond sans the style element with a license to kill gives us bus drivers. Their ride and their death knell behind you can make you wet your pants almost instantly. Their path is very simple. It’s straight, literally. Get in the way and you might not live to see another sunrise. The driver gets a few days off in the name of suspension and a meager charge as a fine for his “careless” driving while you’re busy having a conversation with St. Peter.

The signals’ only purpose is to entertain small children sitting snuggly inside cars who are enamored by the change of colors that makes them appreciate the creations of God. Normal people call it Traffic Signals. Bus drivers call it lame.

Now, where was the traffic police all this time?? Well, he is at the friendly neighborhood Nair Chai shop enjoying a hot cup of tea or is inside his cozy niche enjoying a nice cat nap...

*- Italian mob slang for being close to people in Power.

A schematic pattern of the traffic on Indian Roads (Click on the image for a larger view)


Jayaprasad said...

he he.. Nice post.. We used to discuss in our coll days that there are 3 lanes in a national highway viz two lanes for up and down and one for the transport buses which can come in any direction at any time. :)

Vibushan Lakshminarayan said...

ha ha ha.. yeah I remember.. Infact, once there were three buses coming parallel to each other on a two lane road..So, you can imagine :)

Vivek said...

Well well well
True, Very true.
We - License to drive (000)
Truck drivers - License to kill (007)
Auto drivers - License to irritate (003)
I'm looking to upgrade to 010 (007 + 003)

Vibushan Lakshminarayan said...

ha ha ha :D :D If you get one.. please tell me.. I'll be next in line :)

Janani said...

Haha...The best post on your blog so far. And as a Bangalore-an I can so relate to it...Oh and here, the traffic policemen also get busy chick-watching!

@Jayaprasad - There are indeed 3 lanes on the highway...one lane up, one lane down and the other lane that takes you straight to the TOP!!

Vibushan Lakshminarayan said...

ha ha ha.. chick watching :D I guess, everybody does that ;)