ByÂ Arshiya Mediratta:
If you’ve lived in Delhi for even just a couple of months, then you know that Delhiites are always striving to uplift their social status. Along with branded clothes, eye-blinding bling, big courtyards and lush houses, cars play a significant role in this race of superiority. I remember a time when each family had one car. They had their own garage, and nobody had to encroach on their neighbor’s territory for additional parking space. In today’s time, each member of the family, however young, has a vehicle of their own. In fact, while buying a house these days, one of the main prerogatives is the provision of parking area that comes along with it. Having spoken to a few security guards and chauffeurs, I was told that there are verbal and even physical fights that occur almost every day because of a vehicle that is not parked in its rightful spot.
It would be a rather communist approach to suggest that the number of vehicles per family should be restricted. But if this cannot be done, then what can? Some housing societies have levied extra surcharge on additional vehicles. Families with over one car, have to pay extra money as a part of the building maintenance to keep their cars within the complex premises. However, we all know that flats form a minority in Delhi’s system of housing. Hence, with independent houses forming the majority, it’s not pragmatic enough to enforce such laws. I have personally experienced situations wherein someone had to hurry back home before their neighbour did so that their parking space would not get abducted. With so many vehicles, and such little space- there is an increasing threat to the safety of these vehicles as well. Cars being stolen or damaged has been frequently reported when parked away from the owner’s residence. Boards that read “No Parking. Tyres will be deflated” are growing by the minute. However anodyne your conversations with the neighbours might be, when it comes to protecting your car- people forget the basic rule of “sharing is caring.” Parking area is as much of a possession as the house itself.
One way of looking at the growing number of automobiles could be the increasing degree of development and visible richness in the capital. However, perennial space crunch and everyday stress due to unauthorized dumping of vehicles to serve the parking need of the moment is a much pertinent issue that almost every Delhi citizen deals with in his own way.