Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pedestrian woes

Being a pedestrian in the world of snazzy cars, scooters, motorbikes, scootys , and bicycles is a tough job. If you are a NRI and a pedestrian by choice in India(My God!!Drive in Bengalooru traffic! Never!) you get sympathetic and respectful nods. But a desi pedestrian has a tough time.

FAQs for the regular pedestrian :

1. How do you ever get around, ajji,(when I haven't dyed my hair) or aunty (when I have )....
Answer : This one is tough. Yes auto fares have gone through the roof and my arthritic knees protest when I clamber on buses. Add to this drivers who start the bus when I am still on the footboard,"Ajji, we don't have all day, climb fast" and it is a major problem.

2.How do you ever cross the roads?
Answer : Crossing the roads is not a major problem. you go to the zebra crossing and pretend to never look at the voluminous traffic. The pedestrian lights bleeps for exactly 25 seconds which you can manage if you are either a star sprinter or if you can fly. If you are neither ,just cross the road after taking a deep breath and reciting prayers. Have deep faith in the karma theory or chant 'Que sera sera'.
Look sternly at any driver who is revving the engine threateningly. Alternately, if there is a policeman around, you can get into an argument as to how it is impossible to cross the road so fast. they generally guide you across the road and they will glare at the drivers for you.

Another good option is to pretend you are an ambulance and bleep furiously and cross. The drivers then will either really think you are a human ambulance or that you are an escaped lunatic (after all Nimhans is really closeby) and let you cross the road.

If all else fails , keep all your transactions on your side of the road. Choose the friendly neighbourhood bank on the same side of the road.

I was trying to cross Southend Road the other day , when I saw a senior citizen in the middle of the road , with the traffic whizzing past , The poor man had a neck problem and could turn his head only in one direction.He had managed to cross half the road , by turning right, but was now unhappily stranded in the middle of the road, I bravely went to his rescue, following all the aforesaid rules and helped him. I could already see the halo around my head. He thanked me profusely and said, "You can cross the samsara sagara , but not a Bengalooru road"!!

3.Do you have to depend on others to ferry you around?
Answer : This option actually saves a lot of headaches. Depute work.. cos, well, they can use a vehicle and you can't.

4.Can you do multiple tasks in a day?
What multitasking? Those days are over. In this day and age, if you can survive crossing the road even once a day- your job for the day is done.

And with that we come to the end of our Q & A session. For any further questions or complaints on road safety and best practices for pedestrians - well there's nothing you can do ....go back to chanting your favorite prayer and take the first step in good faith.