Sunday, December 28, 2008


Roads, in many ways, are reflection of the society they serve. And I don't mean only the conditions of underlying (sic) roads, but the manner in which the society uses them. Let me take this line of thought forward and provide a few interesting points to support it.

- In India, roads are, more as a rule than exception, dotted with potholes: of various sizes starting from small cracks to big ones that can house a camel (yes, that happend in Pune once). Doesn't this remind you of the constant struggle of our society? Every pothole, to me, is an obstruction, a challenge to existence. The vehicles seem to overcome each of those as they come.

- In India, there are a very few people who follow lane discipline (if there exists something like that). People do not respect the traffic policeman or policewoman who's giving everything to the cause of creating some pattern out of the chaos. To me, it's a symbol of the government, which at multiple times is seen to be helpless, sometimes not following the law that itself made for its citizens. From people's perspective, it shows the apathy towards governance, apathy towards discipline, and uncontrollable anxiety to reach destinations at any cost. Collectively, how good is this attitude for the society? Who cares!

- The habit of honking shows lack of patience. It sounds like crime when one takes a fraction of a second extra to realize that the signal has turned green for him to pass. Others, it seems, are always in punishing mood. Unlike in the U.S., where "Sound-Horn-OK" is really "Sound-Horn-Not-at-all-OK," on the busy India streets, honking makes people jump the light or suchlike. Isn't India as a nation always in punishing mood, for instance, politically?

I can continue and draw further parallels between missing traffic sign-boards, non-existent speed limits, confusing sequence of traffic lights, innumberable number of unscientific, back-breaking speed breakers, etc. But all said and done, until these shortcomings are acted upon, nothing is going to improve, just like the traffic situation in Bangalore (again, an indication of 'ease' of life in India). 

Total length of roads in India is a whopping 3 million kms+. Yet, as one might find all the time, there is no dearth of rules and regulations in India, dearth is only of followers!

1 comment:

shantanup said...

Veteran roadies like myself agree completely with this philosophy - well-written!