Jul 8, 2003

It is incredibly awful. It completely baffles me. I know that all Indian cities exhibit manic traffic behaviour, but why should Pune be one of the stars of this dubious distinction? Each time one is on the road, we're treated to some appalling behaviour by people who seem to be educated in everything except common-sense. We pride ourselves in being very cultured, educated and refined, but don't hesitate in demonstrating our dementia each time we take the wheels out for a spin.

Not to say that I've had a completely spotless traffic record, but atleast I don't consciously try to break the rules. When I make a mistake, I feel guilty and if I were to be caught, I'd have to accept the consequences, I would have to take the blame. But it is completely shocking when some people, without a trace of shame, profess to turn a blind eye to the rules, or claim they don't know most of the rules, and even state that they don't agree with certain rules, hence they break them.

Even if they did, they lack basic etiquette in their traffic behaviour. We've got down-counters at red lights telling how much time is left, a good facility by any standards. But when there are about 8 secs left and there is no longer any traffic which can use the green-signal, a few morons will start honking or speed away. How much difference does 5 seconds make in a person's life under normal circumstances? Isn't one's life the most important than getting to point B 5 seconds early? It is just extra-ordinary, this level of indifference.

I sometimes feel like going over to some idiot who's doing something silly and give them a nice clunk on their heads: they better have a helmet! I had an idea for a small story on this subject: The protagonist of the story is a ghost, having died in a traffic accident for no fault of his own. He takes it upon himself to drum some sense into other offenders, using the fact that people can still see his ghost vehicle and him not knowing that he's a phantom. Essentially, this guy goes about giving these idiots a good scare on traffic whenever they've broken a rule, to get them to understand what could happen. A little contrived yes, but soothing in theory!

At the end of the day, rage at these people won't solve anything because we can't educate these idiots by telling them anything. The only way is if they pay the price for their own ignorance. The only thing I'd like to say is that I value my life, so don't run me over. You may not value your own very much, so swerve and hit the electricity pole instead. The pole won't mind much, and seeing how you drive, neither will anyone else.

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