A Day in the Life of a Puneite

Using a vehicle in Pune, has become quite a challenging feat. It seems more like an obstacle race, as the population of vehicles and of people showing a lack of civic sense continues to grow, resulting in us spending more time on the roads than anywhere else! And even as we complain about the same, unknowingly (and sometimes knowingly) each one of us contributes to the chaos.

From the moment you embark on one of the several congested streets, you need to be cautious and extremely vigilant, as you struggle to save your life from the motor cyclist overtaking you from the left, as though the law requires him to do so, or then grapple with your brakes to avert the lady who’s crossing the road completely oblivious to you and to the red pedestrian sign that just flashed asking her to STOP walking! You manoeuvre your way through the insanity praying you won’t end up hurting anybody or getting hurt in the process. After a lot of time, swearing and getting sworn at, when you finally arrive at your destination, the next hurdle you must overcome is locating a parking place that will accommodate your vehicle and eventually, allow you to take it out without much of a hassle. But this city, alas, is almost devoid of any such places and the few that remain have invariably been occupied by all those who were lucky (and smart) enough to get there before you did, so that you are compelled to settle for an area that is neither convenient, nor legitimately a parking space where you reluctantly end up parking. As you walk away, you are completely unaware of the “Tow-Van”, the bane of every vehicle owner’s existence, hurtling its way down the street. The uniformed predators spot your mistake, descend menacingly from their wagon and with much vengeance, begin hurling your vehicle into theirs. And if you casually happen to turn around to accidently witness the scene, think twice before attempting to salvage the situation, for, regardless of how much you beg or plead, they will refuse to pay heed and instead, order you to come to the nearest police station to claim your belonging. All you can do then is, without further ado, show up at the specified police station (which doesn’t seem as “near” at that time) and shell out the hefty ransom to procure your vehicle.

By now, hopefully, you have learnt your lesson and you promise yourself heartily to act more responsibly in future. The true test, however, lies in how well and how long you are able to keep that promise!

It may be simpler to dump the blame on the dysfunctional traffic rules, the deplorable state of the roads and a host of other causative factors; but with approximately 435 new vehicles being added to the roads every day, what may be more effective in alleviating the problem is, doing what is in your capacity to fulfil the responsibility that accompanies the act of using a city’s roads.. (Getting familiar with and learning to comprehend ‘Traffic Rules’ and ‘Road Signs’ may be a good starting point!!) And if each of us bears this in mind, driving within the city, someday, may at least become tolerable, if not enjoyable, once again!

Of course, pedestrians and those who rely on public transport have a whole new set of travel-related issues to share. That and more on ‘Road Ruckus’, Traffic problems (and solutions!).. To Be Continued…….




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