Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Traffic Jam - A Nightmare

Living in a city, like Bangalore, the words ‘Traffic Jam’ itself gives many of us a nightmare and sends cold shivers down the spine. In my opinion, these jams can actually be used as a tool to measure a person’s patience level. Sometimes, it is so worst that you feel like leaving your vehicle behind and just walking up to your destination. Sounds bizarre, isn’t it? But that’s how the traffic in Bangalore forces you to act. You are at your wits end when the vehicles refuse to move even an inch.
Adding to the agony, are timed signals. I always have a feeling that these signals are timed in such a way that the moment they see my vehicle approaching the crossing line, they turn red from green. I feel as if the red light is sarcastically giving me a smile of victory. Different signals at various junctions are timed differently. The least being 30 seconds, and the maximum is 130 seconds in certain big junctions.

As a routine, like every morning I was travelling to office in my two-wheeler and took the usual route. To my surprise, the usual silent lane had lots of vehicles lined up behind each other. I thought to myself, may be some big vehicle like a bus or truck has come in the wrong way and hence this commotion. Once the vehicle moves, everything will be fine. I was wrong. The traffic jam here was the result of a bigger jam in the junction ahead. Everybody was impatiently waiting to reach their destination. People had to reach office, some students were returning back home from their summer camps. In the midst of all this, I saw a lady who was asking every auto rickshaw to drop her to the main road junction. But, the snooty auto-drivers refused plainly, as they always do. The lady was worried. Atleast, her facial expression were such. I decided to help her. I went to her and told her that I was going towards the same route and would drop her where she wanted to. She thanked me and took the pillion seat. The traffic was stalled for around forty five minutes in the same signal. The lady was frantically making calls to many people. Though, she spoke in her mother tongue, I could make out that she was depressed. I asked her the reason of her worry, to see if I could help. She told me that her two kids were at school and the school would close at 11 AM. It was already 11 and she was stuck here in traffic, uncertain of when she would reach. Her kids were aged 4 and 5 years respectively. I could relate to her worry, but couldn’t do much as I was also stuck like her in traffic. She became more restless as each minute passed by. She did not have the class teacher’s number either. I was making a silent prayer in my heart for the traffic to get cleared so that the lady could reach her children. Finally, God seemed to hear my prayers and the traffic started moving slowly at a snail’s pace.

The lady got a call from her husband, who informed her that a bus had rammed into the compound wall of a military ground and hence, this entire commotion. She passed on the information to me. As the traffic started moving, we could see the collapsed wall and a fleet of traffic cops trying to manage traffic. There were news reporters getting a byte from the people who witnessed the incident. This added more to the already existing chaos. I heaved a sigh of relief and dropped the lady to her destination. She thanked me profusely. I told her to rush soon.  I reached office very late than the usual time.

Though, the traffic jam was horrible, I was not annoyed this time. The reason being, that I helped a mother reach her children. This feeling brought a sense of satisfaction in me. I knew that somewhere in her heart the lady would bless me. I was proud that I could bring a smile on a person’s face. The feeling lingered within me throughout the day and it was a happy day. Usually, traffic jams are a reason for grumpy feelings and frustration that spoil the day, but this time it was different and quite an unusual experience for me.

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