As Indians, we see roads wherever we want to see them. Can a construction site have a road? Yes. Is a footpath a road? Yes. Are pedestrians meant to be run over? Of course.
Now I understand that pedestrians can be rather stupid in this country, and attempt to cross at a bend, or cross where a high speeding vehicle is coming in their way (I have been guilty of both, as a child), but I think it’s high time we recognize how pathetic driving standards in this country are.
I take issue with this because this evening I saw a series of bikes crossing over on the footpath I was walking on at speeds in excess of 40 kmph. Which isn’t that much, but is a lot when the bike is heading straight for you.
A large part of this is because of the concept of IST. Indian Stretchable Time.
None of this applies to Indians abroad, or NRI’s. We are the best versions of ourselves in countries apart from our own. It’s what hinders India’s progress the most.
I’ll explain this IST phenomenon now.
We are always late. Though everybody wears a watch in this country, even if it is an imitation Rolex from Chor Bazaar, everybody knows what time it is. But nobody cares. Nobody leaves on time, or makes an attempt to turn up to places on time.
And once they fail to leave a time that comfortably allows for buffers owing to traffic and other such things, all hell breaks loose, because it is imperative that they aren’t crossing over from “fashionably late” to “oh-shit-I-am-now-unemployed late”. Which means they need a solution.
What better solution than creating new roads?
If your destination was success, creating a new pathway would make me label you a genius. But your destination is a place you travel to regularly, and the advancement of technology is such that you can access estimated travel times easily.
So leave for trips early. It’s that simple.
I also take issue with the fact that Indians don’t enjoy driving. A majority of middle/upper-middle class individuals in this country don’t drive their own vehicles, though they own fancy ones. Which creates employment for drivers, but, nobody drives the car they purchased.
Alternatively, they drive their car, and grumble about the traffic daily.
I understand a lot of these problems, including traffic are rectifiable by paving better roads. That isn’t a solution I see being put into effect in the next 5 years.
So try enjoying your driving. Turn on the radio, try carpooling so you have someone to talk to everyday, listen to an audiobook, or a podcast.
Don’t waste traffic time.
Alternatively, use public transport. Less pollution.