Today, Bangalore is synonymous with a) IT boom in India and b) deplorable traffic situation. Even as early as the late 90s the traffic situation was not so bad. Yes, there has been a prolific influx of IT workforce into Bangalore. Yes, Bangalore infrastructure has not maintained the same step with this influx. However, it shocks me when people say that the infrastructure is the cause for the dreadful traffic situation, and still not maintain lane discipline, hurry as if their life depended on it. After riding in Bangalore for the 4 months, and commuting over the past two years, I perceive that people in Bangalore are always in a quasi haste. Everyone wants the space that the person in front is traveling on. Furthermore, they are willing to go to any lengths to obtain that space and then fight for the next one. Riders criss cross the perennially clogged backbone roads connecting the IT corridors of Bangalore. The heart of the city is a clamor of honking horns of various sounds covered by a shroud of slurs by frustrated commuters. The result is a polluted Bangalore, not only of black grime and smoke, but also of mental pollution.
Frustration creeps on every single person caught in this jam. In spite of the power of affirmations, I end up in some form of verbal conflict on road. It made me realize that the infrastructure cannot be blamed unless we, the people who form the traffic religiously follow the rules. This is not a war, where everything is fair. If we do not curb our inherent (sadly) need to get one up on the person in front of us and break every rule there is in a traffic rule book, we are going to have the same despicable situation even if we have 3 layers of roads to prevent the jams.
Let me rewind to today morning. I stay in Bellandur, and very close to a major junction in one of the backbone roads of Bangalore - the Outer Ring Road. It's flanked by two service roads. Like any other day, people bypass the main road to rid themselves of the traffic. Nobody in the service road realized the situation they brought upon themselves. Worse, the traffic policemen have no say in this. Trying to maneuver the bike through this congested traffic, I wanted to maintain left, but to no avail. It was terrible when people coming in the opposite direction actually were trying to overtake each other in such a narrow road, nearly colliding with me.
I even stopped and asked a moron, who was riding on the right (wrong) side of the road, which side was left. And yup, he knew which side was left. Phew!!
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Image Credits: http://ebay.windingroad.com/newsuploads/2007/06/bangalore-traffic.jpg http://www.megacities.uni-koeln.de/documentation/bangalore/photo/bangalore_003.jpg