Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What the F***

The first of what I hope will become a series of accounts of incidents that evinced the exclamation

1900 Hrs on a Weekday
Richmond Road, Bangalore

At an intersection, traffic is stopped by a constable. Just beyond the intersection, the traffic is piled on waiting for a signal to go green on the next junction. On the perpendicular road coming up from Residency road, traffic is moderate by Bangalore standards, but still heavy enough.
In a couple of minutes, the traffic from Residency Road trickles down to one or two vehicles.
The traffic beyond the intersection has not moved more than an inch. It is evident that the cop would rather keep the perpendicular road open, rather than let the traffic on this side of the intersection add to the already existing jam on the other side, thereby blocking both roads simultaneously.
The traffic on this side of the intersection starts to get restless, as only Bangalore traffic can. It is quite a sight to see. One usually associates words like heaving and pulsating with organic life. In Bangalore, they are just as applicable to traffic held back by a cop. Every few seconds, a bike engine will be revved a little. A car will jerk forward and fall back as the driver attempts to demonstrate his urgent need to get somewhere. Someone will honk their horn at no one in particular. The entire crowd will inch forward slowly, in defiance of the 'unjust' policeman, as if trying, in their own small and insignificant way to replicate a mini Satyagrah.

As the fumes from a hundred internal combustion engines get more and more oppressive, one solitary Kinetic Honda goes beyond the accepted inch and travels a good three feet beyond the line that marks the intersection and pulls up next to the cop. The cop turns, looks at the traffic across the intersection and shakes his head in what I interpret to be amazement at the stupidity of the Kinetic driver, who would prefer to be two inches behind the last vehicle in a traffic jam and jam another road, rather than wait 20 feet away and let traffic on another road flow smoothly.

The funny part was that the guy was so busy arguing with the cop, that he failed to notice that when the cop turned to argue with him, he simultaneously waved the traffic on.

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