I spend a better part of my weekdays stuck in traffic. The worse part is of course spent imagining up an ideal girlfriend and having pseudo-romantic talks with her.
But then, it isn’t so bad as actually having a girlfriend and having pseudo-romantic talks with her. The worst part about having a real girlfriend though is making her wait at Cafe Coffee Day … while you tell her to bear with you coz you are stuck in traffic … when you are actually washing pizza sauce off your undies.
Like a loyal girl, she waits. You arrive. The blame inadvertently shifts to traffic. She calms down. All is hunky-dory in Saint Valentineville.
What you do not realize in the above-mentioned scenario, is that about 5 years from now India is actually going to be in a horrid situation where your girlfriend will be waiting at Cafe Coffee Day while you will be ACTUALLY STUCK IN TRAFFIC.
To save time you may also have to carry, detergent, a brush, and a bucket of water with you to wash the pizza-stained undies while you are stuck immobile in traffic.
The Dreadful Future of Traffic Jams
Traffic has grown to vexatious proportions of late, and there seems to be no quick solution in sight. The traffic trouble, of course, has woken up the authorities from their slumber too and in an unprecedented move, they gifted Mumbai not one, but two new parallel modes of transport – the monorail and the metro.
What this means is that every monsoon now, Mumbai will have not one, not two, but four different vehicular public transport systems (if you consider BEST buses and local trains too) floating on water. Much like Aamir Khan’s transformer bike in Dhoom-3.
The number of vehicles has shot up rapidly no doubt, but India’s traffic woes get multiplied due to poor infrastructure and lack of traffic sense. Every person wants to rush ahead. People want to take random turns. And then, there are women.
Traffic police on red signals only worsen the jam, instead of easing it. A traffic constable in India is as ill at ease at handling traffic, as a giraffe would be while humping a kangaroo on ice.
When London and New York sensed these problems coming their way, the authorities went below the earth’s surface and dug up an expedient mode of transport called the subway or the tube.
These too have now crossed capacity thresholds and the big two are back to the board trying to come up with newer solutions to ease traffic.
Americans, for a brief period of about 2-3 decades tried out a fantastic idea called carpooling, where 3 or 4 people from the same neighborhood would share the same car to travel from suburbs to metros.
This system was economically and infrastructurally very handy. But post the early 90s as the world got divided into Westlife fans and Guns n Roses fans, everybody decided to get their own cars and listen to U2.
The system of carpooling was majorly shot down. It is now on its last breath, fighting off a brutal death.
India cannot have a system of carpooling because when an Indian drive to work, he doesn’t have the space to accommodate anyone else. The seat next to him is reserved for his laptop bag.
The three seats behind him are usually reserved for Angry Bird cushions and a box of tissues (god knows for what!)
The BMC has been giving the state government hints about an underground transport system for the longest time now. Every pothole in the city is a subtle innuendo that whispers ‘Dig Dude Dig’.
The government officials have been overlooking the same for a while now.
My guess is some Congress minister while walking in Mumbai, tripped in a pothole and fell over only to realize that the sky existed. “Hey, that’s a lot of empty space up there, so much so that you can fit an entire train there”.
Someone overheard him and presented to the Chief Minister a proposal for an elevated train, you know because there’s so much space. The monorail thus came into existence.
The metro, which by the way is taking longer to complete than an Ashutosh Gowariker film, goes above and under the ground.
Maybe Ambanis wanted to keep the metro’s route traffic-free just in case they decided to let their kids drive it for fun’s sake.
Some years ago, when London’s mayor visited Mumbai, he had clear instructions for India’s rising traffic woes – “Go underground – there’s plenty of space and resources there”.
But in vain. “They split us into two, we won’t listen to their views on public transportation.”
India’s traffic problems are going to get worse. And if prompt and constructive measures are not taken to correct and avoid further traffic snarls, people will have to start dating, boinking, getting married, boinking again, and making babies in the car while being stuck in traffic.
Think about it, cars will be the new homes, your neighbor will be a blue Wagon R from 2010, and Twinkle Khanna will design authentic oakwood coffee tables to be put up in the car’s backseat.