Thursday, November 1, 2012

There's A Price To Be Paid...

It is over 9 PM right now. I am on my way back from office. I have been stuck in traffic for over one and a half hours now. Luckily for me, the agony of my commute back home has been partly ameliorated by some cool hits being belted out on 94.3 Radio One, truly "soundtracking" my way back home!
But as I sit on the wheel, my foot on the accelerator ready to zoom the moment the car ahead of me moves even an inch, I wonder what causes all this.
Didn't I learn about an interesting concept in physics, way back in school, called Brownian Motion? I bet - if you were you were to fly high above this crazy megapolis, the sight of the roads would be something like this - the big vehicles stuck and the smaller ones like autorickshaws, bikes and small cars moving around, haphazardly crisscrossing lanes much like Brownian Motion!

But just then, I thought a little more. I thought a bit harder.
Aren't roads also like cholesterol clogged arteries? 
Now think of this - a truck breaks down on the Western Express Highway. This truck has no business to enter the city during peak hours. Somehow the trucker greases palms and enters in. Given the poor state of maintenance of truck fleets, they are susceptible to breakdowns, especially on the kinds of roads you have in the megapolis of Mumbai! So, invariably, during the peak traffic hours there would be some idiot trucker, whose vehicle would have broken down in the middle lane.
That's a lot like a clot of cholesterol in the artery!
Now when you have vehicles moving around in fashion similar to Brownian Motion and a "clot right in the middle of an artery", you are bound to spend over 2 hours to traverse 13 kilometers!
Now comes the best part - the traffic cops who are rather "proactive" in non-peak hours simply vanish when you have this disastrous cocktail! They should be out there booking drivers for violating traffic norms during peak hours. So much for the efficiency of this city!
I cringe at the thought of an ambulance carrying a patient stuck in this kind of a helpless situation.
My folks who are just back from Beijing are raving about the orderliness they have experienced on Chinese roads - both urban and rural. If you ask me why we don't have that kind of order here in India - perhaps, there is a heavy price to be paid for a democracy of consensual indiscipline, which cannot hold anyone accountable for any damn thing!

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