When was the last time you saw a bus or a truck stalled on the road? Within minutes it immediately grows some branches and leaves… and the driver faithfully places a few stones (and an occasional rock) to mark the perimeter of ‘safety’. Amusing as it may seem, the leaves indicate the immobility of the problem and the stones a marking of territory.
The situation is greatly enhanced when the patient is a government vehicle… especially something of larger proportions – like a city bus. When the drivers of these vehicles join for work, they seem to sign a secret contract. Something that says – all such vehicles, when stalled, will always be placed in such a spot as to create maximum obstruction and discomfort to other road users. This is done to gently remind our citizens that there is actually a government in place and it takes care of road safety.
For the past few years there has been a secret road war. There is the segment of drivers that wants to make us another America – drive on the right side … always. And there is this growing percentage of secret vehicles with no lights whatsoever – right from the petit Lunas to the gigantic Tatas and Leylands. We have always relied on brain-mapping… that’s the reason a majority of the vehicles don’t need any working indicators. Even if they work, the drivers expect the vehicles to understand their movement and turn these on and off.
It’s always good to carry more. Right from our manufacturers, all vehicles are designed and tested every day to withstand three to four times of its rated capacity. To ensure that these tests are carried out to the highest possible standards, the government ensures that the roads meet universal standards prescribed for craters on Mars. It is indeed heartening to know that in 500 years, we will use all this data to compile a set of standards and roll out the world’s best vehicles.
Guided missile carriers are not new on the road either. Every two-wheeler and rider combo is a machinery of precision to test speed, flexibility and endurance of Man and Machine. They can put the famed Kamikaze to shame. Wherever available, there are larger combos of highly unstabilized moving mines marked in black and yellow, popularly known as auto rickshaws. Of late in the so called IT cities, we have also seen a rage of a white Ninja force – always in a hurry, manned by a force that doesn’t get enough sleep; they are otherwise called the call-center cabs.
If it were not for the roads, our vocabulary would be so limited. There are so many words we would have perhaps never learnt. And if not for the lives lost on the roads, our population would grow out of control. Safety is never an issue…we are the safest place to drive. Everyone is at their wits end and is so much cautious.
That leaves me, the pedestrian, cursing them all. But as soon as I get into my car, I get transformed and curse the pedestrian.
After all, it’s he who reaches his destination that wins.
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