Monday, June 14, 2010

Traffic Blues

One thing which every human in any civilized part of the world must have faced is Traffic. No matter whatever you do and which ever road you take, you are bound to get stuck in Traffic some time or the other. I have heard of stories of killing time while stuck in traffic. I have faced and come across many.
From a baby being delivered in a van to traffic photography. Women trying on their knitting skill. Children playing cards at the back seat while parents trying to figure a way to meet the hunger requirement.
I have had my share of being stuck in traffic for hours. I still remember how we spent our new years eve once playing the music from Car deck loud as there was no way we were going to get out and reach our destination as planned. We finally got out of the traffic after 8 hours only to land up for a morning cup of coffee in a coffee house on 1st January morning.

Well this one is recent. No matter how many roads you make and of course India has lot of roads, sometimes you could route yourself for shortcuts and reach faster. However remember, all small roads lead to one highway which ultimately connects you to your destination. If the highway is blocked it is technically not possible for you to reach your destination until you are a Spider or Super Man.

To add to your misery, imagine heavy downpour during monsoon and all the smaller mud covered streets are literally loathed like wet sand. I was trying to escape from the rain and reach home as soon as possible; however nature had planned some adventure for me. My friend was traveling with her two year old daughter and decided to drop me till my home like she usually does. My society is around 2 Kms ahead of her’s however it is a nice gesture she always does as she is protective of me, however some days are too much to handle. As the monsoon heavy showers began to overflow the drains, at first there was a drain clogging in her saloon and then some other mishap happened and she was left in weary mood. However patience is a virtue which I keep learning and she is an epitome of it. She gathered up herself and said she would drop me. Meantime her daughter had to add her share of spice and of course we all know what all tantrums a two year kid can throw.
After covering her it was my turn and I received a call from my office colleague that one of our team member passed away today morning as he had gone to Ladakh and it was a case of acute asphyxiation, he was only 25.

Coming back to the traffic, we were discussing our triumph over all the happenings of the day when the biggest one was still awaiting me. We came across a 10 Km traffic jam, and all the roads that lead to my place were blocked! Watching her daughter getting restless and her nervous, I informed her I would make my way home and would get a Rickshaw. She knew she had little choice but to accept my offer and so in the rain I stepped out and although my luck is never good when it comes to getting Rickshaw in time, the saving grace was I got one. He informed that all the roads and even the streets were by far blocked to try in any different route. However he agreed to give it an attempt and discover a magic way which would lead me to my place. We circled around and spent lot of time exploring the city and all streets which could connect us to main highway road. We ended up coming back to the same place where I boarded the Rickshaw. Then what we call a trial and error method, the Rickshaw driver as if adopted a guerilla tactic and turned to a street too dark even to be noticed that it existed. I had no choice but to trust him and trust my instincts. I prayed to God that I am his child and so far have not harmed even an insect to face this and that I have to be cared for. The street routed us to a village which I never knew existed in midst of high civilized area. We traversed our way where the road was taking us. It was dark , haunted , there were very few faces from far which could be seen. You could almost get the feel of a dense national park where in a Wolf could emerge any time and have you by the neck and it would be all over. Still the driver did not give up. He took another turn from that road to small bridge over a water tunnel and landed on the other side which had no street at all, you need to cut and make one yourself. Still he kept racing his Rickshaw, it almost reminded me of “ Basanti’s Dhanno” from Sholay.

Finally I saw some light from the other side for which the rickshaw had to climb down a slope, pretty steep ,rocky and of course muddy and rendered slippery due to rain god’s extreme blessing.

I almost had held my heart on one hand and the rickshaw on the other as if there is a slight skid the Richshaw would come down tumbling like Humpty Dumpty. That was the final straw , it was the moment and I just held on it. The Driver slowly moved his rickshaw towards the slop and there we went for the ride. However, god has more adventures planned for me in future, I could tell because the driver landed on the plain ground smoothly and we finally saw buildings, lights, and a Road. The road straightaway led to my society. I had no idea as emotions were on my face. I couldn’t thank the driver much however I knew he had his own element of victory on his face.  I have received phone calls hours later and the traffic jam still stands where it was hours ago.

Sometimes even a slightest triumph like coming out in flying colors from traffic jam while the rest are still stuck gives you a pleasure and of course appeases your mind and your thirst for small adventure.

Next time you get stuck in traffic, look out to get away from it for some thrill.

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