Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Streets of Bangalore

From my stereo, Bono's voice belted out the words "It's a beautiful day". An,idea you can't easily concur to, when you are doing time in rush hour bangalore traffic.(There's a school of thought which ,not without reason, believes, that the term rush hour has been rendered meaningless. EVERY HOUR IS RUSH HOUR these days!!) The tape had completed a full cycle of winding and unwinding, and was now repeating the songs, but I had hardly moved a couple of hundred yards. Find a sadder way to spend a fifth of your waking hours.

After half an hour of crawling I had reached the top of the Diary Circle flyover. From there I was presented with the overwhelming sight of vehicles lined up as far as the eye could see. The apparent surface formed by the tops of all the vehicles, with the mottled patterns, reminded me of dirty mosaic. The two wheelers were moving into the spaces like water into the pores of a sponge. Finally, the cause of this jam, extra-ordinary even by Bangalore's standards , revealed itself. I've always believed that engines have a highly developed ESP about the most inappropriate places to break down, so that the maximum number of people are inconvenienced. The engine of a truck had exercised this instinct today at Diary Circle!

1,2,1,2,3,2,1,2,1,2,1,2...I shifted the gears never having once changed to the one they call the 'Free Gear'. When the traffic eased, the chaos multiplied. Two wheelers showing how fast they can change lanes, autos validating why they are also called autocrats and pedestrians showing why they make better speed breakers than road humps. Home at last! The unclenching of the muscles told me that almost every inch of my body was participating in this experience. Relief when I got out of the car. Relief, even in the knowledge that,tomorrow, there will be 5,000 more vehicles on the streets of Bangalore.

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