“The Long And Winding Road To Redemption”   16 comments

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Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Let me begin by provoking your grey matter a bit! What is the common but weird element that connects a Hollywood celebrity born in Glendale, California and a Politician born in Parali, Maharashtra? Try naming the persons in question and the eerie connect they have with each other. Make a guess! Meanwhile let me jump, without further ado, into the larger issue at hand. Whether it’s Los Angeles, California or Mumbai, Maharashtra at the end of the day you need to step out of the Studio or the Vidhan Sabha and hit the road to get back home safe! And this is where the rubber meets the road!

Home to the Grand Trunk Road and party to the Silk Route of the yore, on road journeys and adventures are not outlandish when it comes to India. But the India of today faces a larger problem which is growing by leaps and bounds: Congestion on Roads!

Home to the Grand Trunk Road and party to the Silk Route of the yore, the India of today faces a larger problem which is growing by leaps and bounds: Congestion on Roads!

The 21st century India is extremely polarised and it is most visible in the domain of Infrastructure. Since many villages of “the bucolic Bharath” are denied mobility owing to the lack of last mile connectivity, many villagers migrate to “the aspiring India” which is trying to grow more sophisticated in terms of infrastructure but their growth, unfortunately, remains confined to papers largelyAs a consequence there is an unwieldy burden on cities’ infrastructure. As the race to succeed becomes fiercer it spills over to every sphere of life prompting thinkers to question whether we really are the human race or just humans racing!

The magnitude of this competition reaches stratospheric proportions on Indian Roads. Indian Roads are real eye openers. Known for its magnanimity, it stretches its large and accommodating arms far and wide encompassing things as diverse as anachronic bullock carts to futuristic concept cars. It has room for all and sundry. The protagonists who ply along the length and breadth of roads all over India switch their roles often but stay within a gamut. They comprise the crossing pedestrians, speeding bikers, retro cyclists, grating autos, overcrowded buses, honking cars, jaywalking sacred cows, struggling tricycles, wannabe scooties: You name it, our roads have it! The cup of woes overflows with the advent of  unfailing Monsoon. All hell breaks loose during peak hours on Indian roads!

Since Govt. Departments Work In Silos There is No Co ordination whatsoever. Preserving Pot Holes On Roads is beyond comprehension!

Since Govt. Departments Work In Silos There is No Co ordination whatsoever. 

Vehicles considerably differ in terms of their competence since they are end results of diverse engineering efforts. Pushing them to the brink heavily compromises their inherent safety standards and makes the person behind the wheel as well as the ones on the road sitting ducks! Over the past few decades Indian roads have witnessed the Traffic phenomenon going through the roof owing to many factors working simultaneously. A country where land is a scarce commodity, authorities find it extremely frustrating to widen the existing roads to accommodate the vehicles being added every year! The Writing on the Wall, therefore, is clear.

No matter who you are and whatever you do the road is unsafe for you since there are clear and present dangers. Kicking the bucket on Indian Roads owing to accidents is a routine affair and the range is tremendous since they are growing gruesome by the day due to limitless violations and ruthless aggression. You would probably arch your brows upon learning who the most vulnerable group on Indian Roads is: Pedestrians. This is due to the fact that they have the least response time among all the groups on road. Walking has become a nightmare for many other reasons. 

Myopic Traffic Management Plans Often Sideline The Most Important Group: Pedestrians.

Myopic Traffic Management Plans Often Sideline The Most Important Group: Pedestrians.

The so called footpaths are invaded by garbage, stray animals, and the homeless or street vendors denying Pedestrians’ the “Right of Way”. Dearth in Zebra crossings and lack of foot bridges at proper points add to their cup of woes. A Culture of Waiting is prevalent in India whereby pedestrians have to wait for the vehicles to pass through rather than vehicles stopping for them to cross the road. The rest of the world follows the same culture but the other way around!

Two wheelers especially Motor Bikes too fall in the heavy risk category. The low cost, high speed and easy maneuverability is what attracts the population to Bikes like moths to a flame. There are no separate lanes for cycles and Motor Bikes forcing them to share the same road space with larger vehicles. This adds fuel to the fire since Motor Bikes and Scooties stand a real chance of getting knocked off balance by other bigger counterparts. If this is not scary enough then the sight of them carrying a family of five or ferrying heavy objects on busy roads could scare the devil out of you but the riders remain lionhearted! Add to it the popular culture glorifying masculinity and aggression in Dhooms’ and Roadies, many resort to over speeding and wheeling only to lose balance and control sooner or later.

The great Indian Middle Class’ dream is finally unfolding in front of their eyes. This is the same group which inspired Ratan Tata to build the world’s cheapest car when he witnessed a family of four negotiating a busy road on a bike! Owning a home and a car has never been this easy. As more cars compete to dominate roads there is bound to be absolute pandemonium. Partnering them on roads is the service provided by the ever proliferating Cabs. But the car owners cut a sorry figure since their driving experience is far from pleasant.  Due to the poor shape of roads, cars soon end up with damaged shock abs, punctured tires and rebellious brakes seeking asylum in service centers most often.

Buses, Trucks and other heavy vehicles complete the equation. The Transport Corporations Do not Have Adequate Fleet Of Buses To Serve The Public. As A Result Many Are Packed To the Brim During Peak Hours! Absence of Bus Corridor Adds to The Pandemonium! This applies even to school buses carrying tiny tots packed like sardines. Trucks and other heavy vehicles have the nick name “Messengers of Death” since they sound death knell for safe driving. Safety of these vehicles gets severely compromised due to overloading and over speeding thus jeopardising theirs own lives as well as that of others. 

And then there is the ubiquitous Auto Rickshaws. They fly non-stop through roads of all size in India. Autos bring an array of violations in tow. They fill the glaring void left by the erratic public transport system but at a considerable cost. The annoying sound, the impromptu stops, redundant meters, endless bargains and always exceeding the carrying capacity helps add to the pandemonium on roads. What makes Autos and Cabs more scary is the drivers’s attitude towards women. The furtive glances and lecherous talks aimed at women intensifies as darkness descends upon Indian cities. Installing GPS on Autos, Taxis and Public Transport vehicles are still a work in progress! The scars left by the shocking Nirbhaya Incident Is yet to be healed but the Govt. seems to have learnt no lessons!

Road Transport Laws Are Honored More In The Breach Than In The Observance! Grease The Palm To Get Things Done is the Axiom! This Is True Right From Obtaining A License To Running Scott Free For Over Speeding And Carrying In Excess!

Road Transport Laws Are Honored More In The Breach Than In The Observance! Grease The Palm To Get Things Done is the Axiom! This Is True Right From Obtaining A License To Running Scott Free For Over Speeding And Carrying In Excess!

 Being a Rider/Driver of a vehicle under the above circumstances would mean an unavoidable increase in travel time. These delays unavoidably leads to frustration culminating eventually in indiscipline on Roads. Instead of comparing the Indian Roads with western countries we should pick up the pieces.  To call ourselves a civilized society we need to get rid of the savagery on roads. If we want to create a future generation with better road sense we need to start now and become part of initiatives such as the NSDF by Nissan.

Children are the ones who need more attention! Since they are future citizens we need to mould their minds by getting the message across at the earliest. When they slowly graduate from Tri-cycles to Bi-cycles we need to start feeding doses on road sense, signals and safety! Including chapters in school books about Road etiquette and safety which goes beyond mere introduction can be of great help. Tie ups with Traffic Police Department of respective cities to enlighten them about Road rules would help them retain the message for eternity. NSDF too should reach out to schools and try to catch them Young!

Children look up to adults for inspiration. It is our responsibility not to misguide them. We should be the heroes whom they would love to emulate!

Children look up to adults for inspiration. It is our responsibility not to misguide them. We should be the heroes whom they would love to emulate! A Memorable Scene From This Movie deserves a mention!

 Most of the children take to motor bikes and cars at a young age by laying their hands on the machines of their kin. They take to road without adequate grasp of road safety. Many are non-license holders and their only qualification for mounting a bike or riding a car may be the wrong inspiration they gained from Aamirs and Vin Diesels. A sudden rush of blood could turn such joy rides into nightmares! By encouraging this high risk group to take to roads without adequate precautions, we are sending lambs to the slaughterhouse. It is our responsibility to be their guiding lights.

Be the change you want to see. It’s hard time for us to go on a soul searching journey. Retrospect about how an average day of yours unfolds and the pleasant and not so pleasant things it brings along. Try to add the former and reduce the latter. The trick lies in burying Mr. Hyde and nurturing Dr. Jekyll within us! 

When You Graduate From A Two Wheeler To A Four Wheeler There Is A Need To Unlearn Some Habits And Learn New Lessons For The New Responsibility!

When You Graduate To A Four Wheeler There Is A Need To Unlearn Some Habits And Learn New Lessons. 

The need of the hour is honest confessions such as the desire for retraining which will help us get back to the basics. This will enable us to learn, unlearn or re learn differences between innumerable signage and categorize them into cautionary, mandatory and informatory. They can bring out flaws buried within ourselves such as the need for discarding the habits acquired from riding two wheelers when you graduate to four wheelers or to heavy vehicles. The prospective car owners should realize the need for maintaining optimum distance between vehicles and ill effects of excess flashing of lights which can drop vision from 100% to 10% within fraction of a second. If these measures are adhered to, then you would’ve already spared many lives even before stepping on the road. 

The next step towards redemption would inevitably involve Planning Your Day. Don’t cram too many things into your schedule. Always try to be an early bird so that you can reach your destination on time. This can help you avoid facing serpentine traffic snarls or will permit you to face it calmly since you have time to spare. “A calm you” will go a long way in keeping annoyance, anxiety and over speeding at arm’s length. 

Try To Be A Part Of Campaigns For Promoting Safe Driving Such As Nissan's NSDF! This poster drives home the message!

Try To Be A Part Of Campaigns For Promoting Safe Driving Such As Nissan’s NSDF! This poster drives home the message!

Once you get behind the wheel or mount your bike never compromise on two things: Seat Belts for cars and Helmets for Motor Bikes. A combination of seat belts and airbags in a car can prevent death for the driver and others inside the car in case of accidents. When accidents strike the victims may still survive but will become crippled if he ignores seat belts. This may leave him disabled for the rest of his life. There is a double blow to the victims’ family since they undergo severe trauma post the accident and could probably end up losing the bread winner. The Hospital bills add fuel to the fire.

Ignoring Seat Belts and Discarding Air Bags Can Escalate Injuries from Accidents To Chest, Pelvic and Lower Limbs. Awareness About The Mechanism behind Car Safety and Types of Accidents can Change Peoples Outlook About Driving!

Ignoring Seat Belts and Discarding Air Bags Can Escalate Injuries from Accidents To Chest, Pelvic and Lower Limbs. Awareness About The Mechanism behind Car Safety and Types of Accidents can Change Peoples Outlook About Driving!

For the ones riding Motor Bikes, doing away with your helmets is a strict no no. Wearing Helmet is the rule of thumb and by flouting it you are committing blasphemy.  The arguments against helmets are many and fly thick and fast. Yes! Helmets don’t prevent head injuries. But Helmets alone can otherwise make an irreversible brain damage into a reversible one. If you still think helmets are outcasts try to remember Michael Schumacher. Even though he is confined to his bed, the helmet saved his life. The Pillion Rider too should wear helmets and defaulters should not be allowed to run scott free.

Try hard to avoid talking over cell phones while driving. Using hands free to talk while you drive or texting incessantly at traffic signals when the light is red are injudicious. Try calling back after reaching your destination or pullover and talk if the phone rings incessantly. Make sure your car’s music system plays a soothing tune which has a calming influence on you as well as others inside the car. Blaring heavy metal and other rock music are not recommended since they pump up the adrenaline to such an extent that it could prompt you to drive on top speed. Aggression will also surface if there are heated arguments between you and the ones with you in the car. Try hard to maintain a tranquil atmosphere inside the car!

Don't Have One For The Road! Have None For The Road!

Don’t Have One For The Road! Have None For The Road!

There is one last hurdle for you to cross: Alcohol. Driving and Alcohol make strange bedfellows and thus the combination is lethal. Driving under the Influence has been bracketed as the major cause for accidents across the world by W.H.O. Everything goes downhill for a driver when the level of alcohol in blood goes beyond the prescribed limits. It would tantamount to driving straight into the jaws of death.Death, Destruction and Disability comes in its wake. 

Despite observing all the advices recommended here you still can have a bad day. A pedestrian here, a fellow driver there would inevitably bump into your car or bike. Don’t plunge headlong into the “Tere Baap Ka Road Hai Kya” dialogue mode. Hold your horses! The guy at the receiving end too could have had a horrible day and reminiscing about it would have overwhelmed his concentration momentarily. Don’t go for shouting matches!  Even if the guy at the other end is breathing fire try not to part ways with your civility. Always try to be courteous on road.

Never Part Ways With Civility On Road! Try To Be More Gracious!

Never Part Ways With Civility On Road! Try To Be More Gracious!

Compassion alongside courtesy completes the equation. Uncertainties on roads are inevitable and would bring along mishaps in its wake. If you come across an accident do not flee the scene. Get out and try to help the victim if you can! Performing First Aid measures on the accident victim is not what is expected from you. Instead some simple measures such as calling the ambulance, trying to stop the bleeding, strapping the victim to the stretcher and shifting him carefully et al. can go a long way in saving one’s life. Abstaining from your responsibility won’t work because the odds of you ending up by the roadside drenched in a pool of blood and ignored by everyone tomorrow are very high! If You Ignore The Calls For Help, You Are Writing Your Own Epitaph By Doing So!!

The day started out like any other for Paul Walker and Gopinath Munde except for one big difference! By the time the sun went down, they reached home as usual but this time within caskets as lifeless bodies wrapped in white garbs. Even though separated by space and time and belonging to different walks of life they both departed for the same reason. If it was Walker’s friend who crashed his car into a concrete lamppost, it was a speeding cab which sealed Munde’s fate. Both perished on road as consequence of mistakes committed by others! Driving is a huge responsibility! You obtain license to drive not to kill!

Rest In Peace!

Rest In Peace!

Bullet Trains, Freight Corridors, Diamond Quadrilaterals, Upgraded Emission Norms, Stringent Road Safety laws, Systematic Enforcement are all in the pipeline. But the question eventually boil down to you. It hinges on the measures and precautions taken by you to be a responsible road user. NSDF ‘s mission to inculcate Safety On Indian Roads by serving one Indian city at a time will eventually transform India into a Safe Driving Zone! When you grab your keys and go for a drive it should always be at the back of your mind that “Safety Begins With You.” So Arrive Home Safe!

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This blog post is my entry for the contest “Nissan Safety Driving Forum” conducted by IndiBlogger in association with Nissan. For More details please visit: https://www.nissan.in/innovation/NSDF.html

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Image Courtsey:

(Question Mark) (NSDF) (Keep Calm) (One For The Road) (Ferrari Ki Sawwari)

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16 responses to ““The Long And Winding Road To Redemption”

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  1. Very well written..I would be surprised if you’re not picked as one of the winners… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved your sarcastic way of stressing out the obvious.. Wish you luck for the contest.

    Like

  3. Very detailed and nicely presented with so many points, Aneesh 🙂
    Yes, Shri Gopinath Munde would have been alive had he worn his seat-belt.
    Hope everyone follows rules & roads are safe…
    Best wishes to you for the contest!

    Thanks for visiting my Blog & sharing your link 🙂

    Like

    • Thank You Anita For Stopping By And Commenting!!
      I overlooked the fact that he did not wear the rear seat belt at the time of accident.
      Forgot to mention it in the wear your seat belt part of the blog!
      Thanks For Visiting my blog again!!!

      Like

  4. Kids driving motorized vehicles is very unsafe. Parents should not allow it at all. Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes..I agree with Maniparna..This post did deserve a win and agree that retrospection is absolutely necessary as I believe that we must be the change that we are looking for!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Adsunsri,

      Thank You For reading the post and Thanks again for the comment!! I second you on the Retrospection part.
      Regarding the win: I had a go at this contest because I could really relate to the topic. Everything was at the back of my mind and I just had to string them in order to write an appealing post! Even though I couldn’t win It still gave me immense satisfaction that I could write a quality post!
      Yes! I was a tad disappointed when I checked out the results but its not the first time that I’m facing rejection! Some good entries too has had same fate so…. I’ll take this in my stride!!

      Again Thanks for the comment and sorry for the long reply!!

      Like

  6. Very nice and too much informative post. The sarcastic way of representation is also a great talent of course. Loved the way u have have represented all the views. Very nice. Keep posting with lots more.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This post of yours addresses all the shortcomings of our roads and I was wonderstruck to realise that they were all more than true. I’d like to add the lack of reflectors on the steep, abrupt humps placed everywhere. When I go to unfamiliar places, many times, I miss the humps because the roads are narrow and winding ones.
    The behavior of rikshaw & cab drivers towards women is one thing. The fact that at nights, they refuse to go to certain places is another. I happened to wait for more than an hour in Kochi, in the rain because no rikshaw drivers would stop and the buses were all stuck in the main road due to traffic. That was one scary night until a friend helped me out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thank you! I infact read a World bank report on urbanisation covering transport.So…. The reflector problem persist here in Chennai too. Thank you for bringing that and the hump problem up! And really glad to hear that u finally reached home safe the other day… May such incidents never occur again to anyone.
      Thanks for the comment!
      Having known things, what is now happening in Delhi excite you? The odd even formula?

      Liked by 1 person

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