The monsoon and the roads have always played mongoose and snake. For the average two-wheeler rider, rains are synonymous with travel ordeals.
On a rainy day, with much apprehension, I start from home in the “Titanic”. Of course, I am referring to my two-wheeler with the simple correlation that my daily travel-ordeal is a miniature version of the one which “The Titanic” succumbed to! I live in a suburb, which means even though the roads are nothing less than bad, there is no traffic. So steering my vehicle till the arterial road is feasible (Note: I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s just feasible!) .
Now I hit the main road. I raise the accelerator and my bike has hardly started sailing happily when I feel a “thud”. Numb and dumbstruck, I realise that my bike’s stuck in a pot hole and hundreds of horns are blaring angrily at me from behind. Ignoring the rude “neck-and-spine assault” (do I have any other go?), I hurriedly shift to a lower gear, rescue Titanic from the pit and continue to sail on. I stare at the road ahead in dismay as I feel the slowing down of traffic. Involuntarily, my feet touch the road for balancing the vehicle and I annoyingly feel water seep through my shoes and wet my feet. Apparently, a huge chunk of tar has worn off due to the heavy downpour, and large vehicles have slowed down.
Thus begins the bumper-to-bumper traffic which at last comes to a standstill. By craning my neck, I figure out that a car has accidentally bumped into another (a common occurrence in rain-battered roads) and both the drivers have got down and have begun a heated argument as to whose fault it was (considering the number of vehicles piled up behind, this is trivial but this invariably occurs). It takes some time to pacify both parties by third party intervention and the traffic slowly starts clearing. There is no guarantee that these events will not repeat during the reminder of the journey.
In between all these, I get to witness interesting things. One example: In the infinitesimal space between two vehicles in the traffic jam, a cyclist squeaks through! During my initial bike-riding days, I fumed on seeing this, but now, I am pragmatic! Whatever happens, life has to move on isn’t it? Who knows in what hurry the cyclist is in? So, by the time I reach my destination, I am bone tired (quite literally), wet, and have developed “cold feet”. In a nutshell, I’m in a mess of sorts. During the monsoon, bike-riders are bound to get wet. But if it is ensured that the roads are smooth, practical difficulties faced by them can be averted, at least to a certain extent. The government lays roads no doubt. Then why do the roads invariably get battered during the monsoon? Isn’t this a question that requires serious thought?
S. ARJUN PRASANNA, Wipro Technologies, Chennai
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