Till recently I was a vociferous defender of Delhi traffic citing the example of its Bombay counter part in its exoneration. However, truth be told, I am now of the opinion that the Delhi transport system is slowly creeping in the same direction. Commuting in the capital is now no mean task. If you have even stepped out of your house in the past week I’m sure you would join in my griping.
The recently elected government seems to have its hopes pinned on the delayed but now approaching monsoons. So greatly were they preoccupied in anticipating the showers that preparing for them infrastructure wise seems to have escaped their attention. Steering a vehicle these days requires the skill of a well practiced pirate and possibly the virtues of his chosen means of transport as drainage hardly seems to be on the priority list of infrastructural changes to be implemented in the city as we ‘gear up for the common wealth games’.
Those who had to take their automobile for a swim last Friday evening can certainly vouch for that. Poor drainage and potholes are just a few problems from a long list of obstacles that the Delhi driver has to cross to reach from destination x to destination y.
Window rolling, angry gesturing and honking seem to have become tricks of the trade. The patience of a monk or a particularly rancid tongue, or possibly both, are prerequisites if one decides to venture on Delhi roads. Unfortunately a few lessons in the well-practiced art of honking can prove invaluable these days. These range from the short “ get a move on it “ hoot to the prolonged blare that threatens to pierce your eardrum if you don’t. Delhi drivers with their often defunct direction sense seem to be hell bent on discovering new routes as asking directions seems to be sheer blasphemy. For the more humble ones, who have mortified their pride and actually asked, enthusiastic direction givers have refused to step down from such a rare challenge, and given directions, never mind , the fact that their navigation compass is probably as bad as your or perhaps even worse.
Public transport may seem an alternate solution for many. Undoubtedly the metro is a boon but apart from the little pang of fear that users have to quell after the recent mishaps, its limited access to only certain parts of the city does not provide a satisfactory answer to the problem. Autos, rickshaws and buses then come to the rescue but that hardly seems to alleviate the grievances as they too run on the same roads as personal automobiles. Watching the animated reactions and mounting frustrations of those who have decide d to brave Delhi traffic single handedly however does provide ample entertainment specially if you can sit back in your seat, plug in your earphone and be oblivious to the cacophony of horns around you. If, you haven’t had the rare fortune of securing a seat and are having to fret out that tedious jam , sandwiched between other commuters, well what can we say perhaps misery does love company!