One small step for Delhi, one huge leap for Indians…So I was driving home from work today – twas a working saturday – YECH! Anyhoo, anybody familiar with New Delhi will have an idea about a place called ‘Dhaula Kuan’. This is basically a big-ass crossing where traffic all points of the world converge. 3 Years ago, this was an awful place where the traffic jams knew no end. 3 Years ago to recently this place was a nasty mess of construction (as is most of New Delhi today). Finally the darn crossing has been completed, and now it’s possible to travel in any of the directions without having to stop at a traffic light, whereas before this was just a crossroads with 4 traffic lights and chaos.
But being New Delhi/India, just having a signal free road is never enough to prevent traffic jams (I mean, if a cow is sleeping between two out of 3 lanes, the most well-planned roads and crossings will not help you).
Out of the other countless problems is what I like to call “Spillover”. In this specific context, it refers to the commuters waiting to get onto a bus. Instead of waiting in a line (Line? What be that, bhaisaab?) on the pavement/sidewalk in an orderly fashion, most people waiting for the bus tend to spill over onto the road…sometimes this spillover extends to the end of the first lane of a 3-lane road, thus causing the bus to stop in the middle of road so as to not flatten passengers (it doesn’t always succeed at that mind you). Anyway, in a city of 14 million people (This number is greater than the entire population of many European countries), Spillover can be a real problem.
So the spiffy-looking Delhi Traffic Police actually decided to something about this – to be fair to the Traffic Police of Delhi, they actually do their job more often than not, it’s just that there are so few of them to go around. They’re more courteous than their other brethren (could this be because you tend to be paying them traffic fines, by any chance?).
They were actually standing on the pavement/sidewalk with their nightsticks (about 4 of them I guess) blowing whistles loudly and actually preventing pedestrians and waiting commuters from spilling on to the pavement. It was an interesting scene. As all of us motorists drove by, it looked like some sort of welcoming parade to see a long line of people standing on the pavement, desperate to set foot on the sacred stretch of black tar they were so used to occupying till yesterday. It was actually funny. And it helped prevent a usual traffic jam. If the traffic police actually manage to keep this up, I’ll be forced to take a picture of this new phenomenon and post it to my website.
Here’s to more semi-revolutionary ideas like this one – what comes next I wonder? Lane Driving? Let’s see…