By Soumya M:
A few minutes into the drive and I notice it.. It’s going to change. God, I should squeeze through… Please, please.. In a desperate attempt, I raise my accelerator. It was too late.
My Scooty pep made a halting screech. The traffic light turned red. And I was forced to have a 90 second break. So I turned off my engine (I always do) and reprimanded myself for not starting early from home, surely I would have crossed the junction had I started earlier. I glanced over at my neighboring vehicles. People were glancing at their watches – over and over again, some were making calls, couple of guys were adjusting their hair.. hmm.. what a typical day at the junction! The cop meanwhile was bearing the heat of the scorching sun. I couldn’t help but overlook his misery. A cop’s duty at a busy junction.. there aren’t many things that can be worse than this. People stop and go, but he is the one who has to stay there till the end of his duty, which seems like forever.
During all this commotion, I often ended up doing a bit of research myself. Let me sum it up for you.
People are somewhat irate while waiting at a traffic signal. It is always the ‘other person’ who is an idiot. Somehow, I don’t get this logic. Either he/she is too slow and is being an obstruction or he/she is driving so fast that you start mouthing fowl words. Why can it never be you who is wrong? It is widely understood, though not acceptable that it is only the youth who indulges in over speeding. But that is not the case anymore. Young and old alike, everybody is showcasing their ‘cool’ driving techniques at busy junctions and narrow roads, day and night! Clearly, the menace of over speeding is taking a toll on everybody. The thrill of speed is prevalent as long as no one is hurt. But a well known fact is that no matter what the make of your car is, you can’t control it all the time. Isn’t it obvious how accidents happen? The road ‘seems’ to be deserted, our vehicle ‘seems’ to be in our control, but everything changes in a matter of seconds. A recent accident where a former minister’s son passed away in a tragic accident is an example of what happens when you can’t control your vehicle which is going at a very high speed. Traffic or no traffic, we ought to drive at a speed where the vehicle would be in our control, at any given time.
As mentioned earlier, some of my friends and I usually turn off our engines when there is a more than a 20 second halt at the signal. The very intention of this practice is to encourage others to do the same. Shouting in the virtual world that the pollution levels are increasing daily, is not a solution. Even though there will be scores of people who agree with our argument and effective measures to control it, as soon as they step into the real world – there is a very good chance that the discussion they just participated in may fade away from their memories. So it is better that we practice what we preach.
As we are 10- 15 seconds away from freedom, people start honking, as if to wake me up from the small nap I’m having amidst all the smoke and sound of the vehicles around me. This reminds me of another section of people who I’m sure are present all over India. The group of ‘cool honkers’, who take the pain of honking while they ride. Be it a road where there aren’t many people or a road which is jam packed. They remind me of old movies where the arrival of the king was being announced prior to his entry into the scene.
Jokes apart, tell me why do you honk? Is it because:
a) The person in front of you does not wish to move from his place? Maybe his vehicle isn’t running.
b) Even though his vehicle is running he has stopped.
Let me tell you, maybe he is obstructed by another vehicle.
Now you must be saying, neither.. he just didn’t move, then maybe he is growing old. His vision effects his driving. And maybe they can’t afford to appoint a driver. NOW, would you be kind enough to be considerate towards him?
Be it honking, over speeding or badmouthing, it is high time we stopped being irate and respected others who share the road space with us.