Monday, 19 November 2007

Whatte Jam!!!

If you live in Bangalore, travelling to a far-away workplace is really a huge problem. Anyone who has experienced the traffic here would not disagree with me :-).... wading through the narrow roads full of huge vehicles, maneuvering the fellow road-users who act as if they own the road, waiting for the "always-red" signal to turn Green... these are just some of the things that a Bangalore-Road user has to live with. Add to it the political rallies of the "rulers" and the numerous protests that happen everyday, you are sure of being stressed by the end of the day.

My workplace is just 30kms away from my home (very lucky!!... as they are still in same city!). So, my daily travel time will be ranging somewhere from three to four hours a day depending on my luck. I am atleast happy that I dont need to drive that long or wait for the public transport as my company provides me transport facility. I shudder to think about the people who drive such long distances and have to work long hours on top of it.

I went to college which was a small 8 km drive from my place. The roads that time were too free and the only time the roads used to get jammed were when there was a public festival, during which the college would be closed anyway. So, whenever the radio stations gave updates on traffic in many parts of the city, I used to lie on the comfort of my cosy bed and wonder how could all those people get stuck like that? Moreover, I had a two-wheeler and there were many parallel roads to my college. At the slightest hint that a road was crowded, I would jump to the next parallel avenue and speed off.

It was only after I started to go to work that I realized the magnitude of the problem.... vehicles lined up for kilometres together covering up every inch of space... the big, long trucks which never allow any one to overtake them and move at less than the speed of bullock carts.... no parallel roads to avoid the crowd, and even if there was one, it would already be flooded by vehicles.... such was the enormity of the problem that travelling 30 km one way on some days would take more than 3 hours... (thats more than the time needed by any train to Mysore)

Initially, it was tough for me to get used to the traffic jams. I would get so restless at the sight of some five vehicles piled up in front of ours. But slowly, I started to take my mind off the road and divert it into other things. Music helped to a great extent. I thought this was one of the reasons behind the sudden popularity of FM radio stations in Bangalore in this age of Hi-fi gizmos. And listening to these stations in the mornings helped to kick start my day in the right manner. Especially the RJs who guide you through the music are real pleasure. My personal favorite RJ is Vasanthi Haripraksh who has been voted the best RJ of the year by an Indian Forum. I just admire the way she can influence people's moods with her sweet voice and by broadcasting such lovely songs. The Friday Flashback on which some nice yester-year songs are played is the icing on the cake. I just keep waiting for fridays to listen to it. Evenings are real irritating as the travel time gets doubled and the songs get too loud compared to the soothing songs of the morning. And though the RJs are good, it makes me miss the sweet voice of Vasanthi very much. I then just turn to my Mp3 player for some real dose of soothing music.

There are a lot of our leaders and administrators who propose new ideas everyday to reduce the burden on our city's roads. They propose to de-congest the roads by constructing new fly-overs, underpasses, and stuff like that. But the real problem lies in their inability to see the future. By the time their much-awaited mega-project is completed, the traffic on the roads would have doubled leading to more worries. For example, the much awaited Bangalore Metro Rail (an underground rail system) was thought of in the late 90's. If they had finished the project by now, it would save the government a whole lot of money and the people a whole lot of time. It is time that the government starts projects with the future traffic and population in mind. As citizens, we too have to abide by the rules and plan our routes and travel in such a manner which would relieve us of the stress of traffic.

Though the traffic is a huge monster created by all of us, there is a lot of philosophical knowledge we can get out of it. Some of the key-points I have learnt are:
  • "Everyone of us have to suffer for our past actions" - If at all we could plan for infrastructure wisely when the city was still coming up as a major IT hub, we could have avoided most of the mess thats on today
  • "Nothing in life can be taken for granted" - Traffic can never be perdicted or assumed. The other day a friend of mine and me covered all the important and main junctions from office to home in a two wheeler in just 45 minutes. Only the last few kilometres were left and we were happy we that we reached early. And suddenly, a local procession played villan and we ended being half an hour late than expected :-(
  • "The elusive other route always seems faster" - This is classic philosophy at its best. We end up on a bad mess and start wondering whether the other route would be faster than this- And more often than not, it would be!!
So I sign off leaving you with the problem presented to you with a pinch of philosophy for you to ponder upon. Will be back with more ideas soon. Meanwhile, you are welcome to correct me if I went wrong somewhere and leave your valuable comments.


Santosh said...

hmmm... as always very good... keep up the good wrk buddy...

Sameer said...

:) i always wonder how u travel so long. For me, the 12km drive and 4:30 traffic itself seems too much to handle. - sameer

Shashia said...

Thanks man! will try to do it

Ya man... It keeps getting bad after that. The good thing is we can listen to music and ponder on philosophy :-)

Saravanan said...

Hey Shashi.. Come on man.. Traffic has become a part of life.. We can't decongest the road.. I used to come to office by bike for more than a year, it was far more better than going in cab.. The only disadvantage is.. back starts aching very badly by the end of the day.. Anyways no corrections meant.. just thoughts..