11 February, 2008

Road rage!

This post is going to be a long crib - a vent about life, justice and anything else that might come into my head as I write this post.It all started because of something else, but then I had to drive about 250 kilometers over the weekend, all in and out of Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and Greater Noida (Yes, even Greater Noida).
I have been thinking about a post on the traffic, but thought that it would be too much of an ex-non-resident thing to do. But then, this weekend tippeth the cup over.
There are so many things wrong, I am not sure where to start.
I will list some of my favourites:
- Red light jumping
- Red light creeping
- Wrong side driving with lights on
- Switching on headlights to tell the other side that they are coming first
- Selecting an incorrect lane on a red light
- Speeding
- Selecting an incorrect lane on the expressway
- Not stopping when it makes civic sense and common sense to stop
- Blocking the left lane at a red light

The main problem here is that there is no incentive to conform, no disincentive for misbehaving and strong incentives to misbehave!

Are these not the kind of things which the government is supposed to set right?
- The Gurgaon expressway cost Rs. 7.5bn (or Rs 10.0 bn), however, travel times which had fallen have shot back up thanks to the toll bridges. The Toll bridges take an average of 15-20 minutes to clear up.
- Bad design - no clear signs, no punishment for people found in the wrong lane (Cash payers in the tag lanes and so on)
- Bad behaviour - people always try to get into the shortest lane
- Bad planning - Toll costs are Rs 16, Rs 49 etc which few people carry. the toll booths do not have the forms for the getting a tag

I feel sorry about this. For a few reasons in no real order of importance.

I go to Delhi using the MG road. The traffic on this road has gone up because of the toll being implemented on the expressway. Was the expresssway not supposed to be a boon to all traffic heading out of Delhi into Gurgaon and beyond.
Secondly, is this not a very sad waste of money if the travel times actually go up. Long ago (1996), my dad had an interview with someone at Gillette who told him that it took him 50 miutes to go from Vasant Kunj to Bhiwadi. It takes someone about 80 minutes today to get to Bhiwadi (and there are 6 more lanes to play with than in 1996).

A small fraction of this is my money. And some of it is yours. If anyone I knew spent my money in such a bad way, I would take my money someone else (Is this what immigration is all about?).

I wonder if we could make the NHAI sweat a bit more for such blunders.

Moving on the brighter things, I have a personal yoga instructor, India still being one of the few places in the world, where such luxuries will not burn my pocket. Anyway, she has exercises for everything. The usual objectives are boring - weight loss, tone-up, stamina - she has exercises even for hair growth, sleeping better... I wonder if she would have something for "I dont know what to do now" or with love. Imagine going to the yoga teacher with a broken heart, hearing her reply to your query (with the strings of the sitar being strummed in the background), “Do surya namaskar and the pranayama along with these other allied asanas five times every morning at four am.” Wonder if such a thing exists in Yoga. It would make Yoga more popular than all the self help books about life, love, relationships, rebirth redundant. It would help reduce icecream sales. It would also give gyms and other fat loss related money making schemes a run for their money, the link being: heartache > icecream > weight gain > weight loss programs > new boy > heartache.
If only...