A common man in the city feels quite ‘uncommon’ when he has to trek through the broken, traffic-infested city roads to reach his workplace, off-roading or coming to terms with misinterpreted signals and callously confident drivers.
I guess today every soul in the city is happy after the much-awaited rains; sitting by the window I quickly messaged my hubby to look at sky outside, the sounds of frequent thunders gave signs of hope.
Suddenly a song came to my mind – ‘This town’ by Frank Sinatra. Songs have been written on different cities on the globe. As a dweller of the city, I also would love to have a song for the erstwhile ‘city of gardens.’ Instantly, I started juggling so many thoughts in my mind; not that I possess the expertise to compose a song for the city - rather what the city ‘precisely’ means to me.
I am sure some of you will relate to traits and have a good laugh, if not regret. I do not wish to earn the title of a city critic but these are a few affairs a common citizen criticizes day in and day out.
Yes, a common man in the city feels quite ‘uncommon’ when he has to trek through the broken, traffic-infested city roads to reach his workplace – sometimes experiences the fun of off-roading or coming to terms with misinterpreted signals and callously confident drivers. And if you do not have your own conveyance, you should possess few important skills (both of which might turn out to be worthless in the end) mainly good expostulating skills, charitable nature and stamina to endure ‘a never ending wait’ to reach your destination.
The first two skills are required for the ‘masters of city roads’ – the autos, and the second one for the ‘monsters of city roads’ – the buses and also your own vehicle.
Four types of Autowallahs
There are 3 to 4 categories of autos dominating the roads of the city. Type 1 are the honest, running meter ones who probably do not earn any profit at the end of the day and are extremely rare.
Type 2 signifies the major bulk who will always ask for something 'extra' detailing reasons like an apt marketer which will leave you befuddled. When you board their auto, you have to ensure the next passenger is waiting somewhere on the way, that the government has made proper roads to your house, that traffic lights are open when he passes and that rains are not about to pour. And if you miraculously achieve to embark on the auto and reach home, you have to be ready to face some peculiar argument or extend your charitable nature to handover the higher approximated fare.
Type 3 are somewhat funny. They will listen to the route to your destination very carefully and ask all sorts of questions about the lanes, the turns the landmarks but after 5 to 10 minutes of conversation, they will simply refuse to go. Your frustrations will shoot the highest ever after this most unproductive conversation in your life.
The last but not the least, are the ones who will not move an inch unless you agree to their specified fare which is like 3 to 4 times more than the rightful fare. It feels like you are booking a seat in the flight. They might have to wait day long but they know and like a prey and probably one journey makes them the richer than all other types.
Nevertheless, people travel in autos and will probably continue to do so and will be happily exploited. Some places in the city are very dangerous – not because there is a threat of being killed or robbed, but the threat is wait. You will feel like waiting till eternity to reach your home at the end of the day, the bottleneck is so bad that sometimes people drop sick in the buses (trust me - it's my own experience).
The bus conductors will expect you to squeeze into the smallest possible area; paying them the fare is the most important thing after boarding a bus, more than catching a breath.
Roads and transportation worries are best-complimented by the administrative system. Statements from the police that ‘it is not law to wear helmet on a highway’; declaring a victim is in ‘conscious coma’; denying that ‘a person who has consumed alcohol can actually throw his phone, harass police saying it is lost’ and asking a drunk auto driver ‘if he is drunk’ will leave you awe-stricken. The days when traffic police controls traffic are the ones when it is most out of control. Other incidents are not elaborated but experienced.
Apart from these which affect us and occasional lingual hindrances, I guess the city rocks with music, cool pubs, IT crowd, dosa-sambar and a bevy of great friends who are always there for you. The city sleeps by 11 as people are too tired to party after a tiring week, the city seldom gossips as people are too engrossed in their own work, the city is tuned for professionals in the ‘silicon valley of India'.
The city has transformed from a college hub to a professional hub, from an affordable life to an ultra expensive one, from a beautiful garden to a concrete jungle; still it is the city I live in and will continue to hang around for a while. Guess the songs somehow fits well.
Hope the weather does not give up on the city and keep ushering rains, ofcourse for the good!