Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rush & Rage

Everywhere I look people are in a rush. And if they are forced to take a momentary pause in this rushed existence, something inside them snaps. And they take it out on the nearest available person. And it is this rage on the roads which I am talking about. I have seen lots of examples of this in the past few days on the roads of Navi Mumbai.
Today morning was extra eventful. In the 15 minute bus ride to my work place, it seemed everybody was angry and just waiting to take out their frustration on each other.
Due to the ongoing road rebuilding exercise, the main roads have all been halved. So traffic is plying on just one side, with small markers acting as the road divider. But as everyone is in a rush, people won’t wait on their side of the road. So if anybody sees a traffic jam, it’s time to just cross over to the other side in hope of finding a way forward, without giving any thought to the people coming from the other side.
Scene 1 – A couple were sitting on the roadside near the bus stand after having fallen off the bike they were on. Reason trying to move ahead through the traffic and ramming into the road marker.
Scene 2 – The bus was moving and then had to stop inspite of an almost clear road. This because a biker had nearly got crushed between the bus and another car which were moving in opposite directions.
Scene 3 – Repeat of the same incident, except that no one came in real danger, but the bike rider started abusing the bus driver. The bus driver did not respond, although the fault was clearly the biker’s.
Scene 4 – After getting down from the bus, I crossed the road (which is at full breadth here, no construction going on). However there is a heavy traffic snarl on a daily basis, as people try to enter the office. After crossing the road, I heard a commotion. A truck was parked/ stuck bang in the middle and another person had climbed into it and started beating up the driver. I don’t really know what had happened (After all I myself was in a rush to swipe in on time).
Scene 5 – This happened a couple of days back, which I managed to view from my balcony. Seemed a bike and a cycle had collided. The people had started fighting. Soon the verbal fight turned into a fist fight and then one of them picked up a stone from the road and hit the other person. Thankfully not much damage was done.
These sights are becoming too common an occurrence. Any rush hour traffic would have some hold ups because people have got into a fight. People trying to overtake others; jumping on the wrong side of the road; pedestrians running across the roads. No one even thinks of waiting. And perchance they are interrupted in this rush, the rage takes over. The first angry abuse, the retort, get off the vehicle, time for more verbals followed by fisticuffs, then maybe even weapons. And doesn’t end until something really foolish happens or the need to rush overpowers again.
God only knows what would happen if something like the 10 km long traffic jam in China takes place here.

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