Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Great Bangalore JAM

Just a few months back I was claiming that I enjoy the commute to office, as my Apache RTR would be waiting every morning to zap me through the 12 KM outer ring road stretch in 20 mins, taking a brief break at the few signals that would let me overtake the fast moving 4 wheelers. But this day, it took me 2 hours to reach the office. When I told my friends about this they said that this 10x* delay is nothing when compared to their best scores. But getting drenched both in sweat and drizzles in the same commute, I have my due rights to crib. And here comes this post: on the great Bangalore Traffic JAM

The traffic was fun as I could manage to drive through the small gaps the SUVs would leave for the bikers like me: to have the excitement of leaving the rich commuters behind with their morning radio, the fun that bikers alone would understand and appreciate. And when the theory of particle moment decided no more movement of liquid particles, I stopped.

A moment latter a vibrating tummy stopped next to me, as the scooty carrying it could move no further. The engine stopped when the burning petrol was no longer a global warming concern, but his monthly budget consideration. As global warming and overloading of poor vehicles were not the interesting of the topics, I decided to move ahead to a trail that will take me to the next signal. Apparently there are many more like me on the road, trying to advance. But amazingly the collective effort by all the individual drivers has an inverse effect of the traffic as a whole – it won’t move an inch.

The only cheerful things were the forward jokes on traffic Jams that I could memorize. I remember one of my bro’s friends telling me that he used to take a newspaper with him on the way to office, and would finish reading every corner of it by the time he reached office. If the traffic remained like that for few more days, I would have to think about some innovative idea – a new company till work (female of-course) or a new company to work for (closer to my home)

Am not sure if it’s the weather that responded to my mood or vise-versa, but both of them turned irksome. The sun should have read some twitter update. He came all his way pushing the clouds aside to check out this JAM and bless us with some free vitamins. After what looked like an era the traffic finally started moving. And then the auto guys who were standing on a perfect 45-degree angle to cross the road from the closed drains managed to do the honors. The traffic stopped again, almost– moving at a speed of 2 kmph (~ 1.25 mph for all you NRIs)

The immediate signal finally came within an hour. It’s not just the lack of basic needs of food and shelter; even the frustrating traffic jam drives the senses off people. The rich - poor, educated - illiterate, student - professional, to - fro commuters everybody started squeezing into the small junction – my social teacher john appeared of thin air saying “unity in diversity” to the classroom- me sitting in the second bench. And the realty stuck me “Holy crap! Hallucination – I needed some shade soon or I will faint”

I sure have some powers, within hours* the gods heard me. The sun vanished – probably some other topic was trending on twitter, and soon the clouds took charge drizzling some tears at our apathy.

“Remember SRK’s ‘I DO’, I AM the traffic jam” I said to myself and started steering my bike into the ruthless signal, leaving other poor souls in the back to think about their social teachers.

What was a boring 2 hours in JAM, turned out to be the exciting 15-minute finale. A truck guy with just beard and teeth (if I am to believe only my eyes) started forcing me toward the pavement of the road with his stupid truck blocking my way on to the road. He should be feeling good about helping me- by showing an alternate route he just discovered.

There lies the real reason for the traffic JAM, the fly over under construction. And I am right in the middle of that fbeepng construction. I wonder how these intelligent people think that the red ribbons that they put can really barricade the people entering the site – especially the mini truck terrorists from cross-border.

I turned back furiously to this truck guy and he was gesturing me to go with one hand while his other was on the horn ready to honk if I disobeyed. His only visible white teeth were assuring me that “I am behind you my boy, go ahead”. And few more vehicles followed this Columbus. “Now I can’t really block the innovation”, I convinced myself and moved on.

The road got narrower and the gap between the pits (dug for the pillars of the flyover) smaller as I went on. I turned back, and to my horror, the truck guy wasn’t there. The squander should have found his way towards the Hosur road leaving me in the middle of the construction.

The only spectator was a guy standing at the construction site- should be one of those TV9 Journalists thinking about the right abusive words to blame govt for my death. But to his dismay I managed to cross the patch, thanks to the servicing the previous week, the tires did not skid on that damp scrap.

A twitter post saying “frustrating traffic jam” would have been good enough. But 140 letters are hardly sufficed to let my frustration out. For true, traffic JAM is one of the instances where you realize that it is a myth that you can be in control of your life (circumstances at-least)


* PS 1: Time is measured as per Einstein’s theory of relativity "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.

PS 2: The ending comment is more to keep my mark of giving some gyan with every post of mine.

PS 3: I know traffic jam is not one of the fascinating topics, but wanted to throw a challenge at my writing skills (if I can call it a skill yet). Love to hear your comments

PS 4: The NRI comment is the pitch for my next blog

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Did I Win?

Read an interesting news article recently - the list of top failed countries. Pakistan as one of the top failed counties in the world. The first reaction to the news is a subtle happiness, for some reason that I don’t know.

May be this is the success of all the news hungry media/politicians and the so-called patriotic movies that stole a part of my hard (not really) earned money. For whatever reason, this country is my enemy and the first reaction to the news that it is in the list of failed countries is my victory, even though I have no role to play in its success or failure.

And then when I talked to few of my friends about this news, they too share the same happiness. So I am not the only one who is thinking iniquitous

A little more research on the same topic suggested that few other countries – Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh are also in the top of the list. God all our neighbors failed. Now is this a good sign. May be not.

And then I am confused, not because I have to rule India and talk to all these countries every week and day, but because of the weird correlation that came to my mind – the competitiveness in me. And I think all of us at different levels; share this attitude – fervor to win. And along with it comes this mysterious happiness on others failure, if we consider them as competition.

It’s more like this – all the while you struggle to reach the top. But when you succeed to reach there, then it will become all the more difficult to celebrate it, because you might have lost friends in the journey who would otherwise cheer you. And then you will keep wondering why you are not on cloud 7 at-least if not 9 at your victory.

Well it is not as worse too, but sometimes, a little exaggeration is required for your eyes to see the truth. But seriously, many a times the concept of victory looks dappled – especially if it comes because of other party’s failure. The only thing that can keep your sole at bay is the conviction that you played fair.