Returning to your hometown is something you always look forward to, isn’t it? I used to too. But recently when I came back, I found that my city, Ahmedabad, has changed a lot.
I learnt to ride cycle, bike and car here. It used to be fun driving here. It was alright to be driving in Pune and even in Mumbai, despite the traffic. But riding one in Ahmedabad, now it seems that I would have to learn driving all over again. As I seem to be a bad driver in the city at the moment.
In Ahmedabad, good driving isn’t lane driving. If you even attempt to follow lane driving than yours is a “lame driving”. A good driver here has the ability to zigzag their way as you cannot wait in the “traffic” even at 3 in afternoon or 10 in night. Probably that’s the reason for you to be a good rider, you need to have the ability to rev your bike from 0-60-0 kmph in a matter of 5 seconds. You really need to have good control on your brakes.
We are considered business people and the hurry we are at the traffic signal shows our busy-ness. We do not have the patience for the signal to turn red or green. We are unstoppable. We do not like boundaries. We hate rules, especially traffic rules so be it running the signal or driving on the opposite side even during the peak hours, it is alright with us. Even if we own a car, we have the divine right to drive on the opposite lane in the early morning hours or in the noon. Or in the Maninagar underground bridge because, we just cannot wait to waste our time. Even if our car leads to the traffic jam in the underground where we are not supposed to go, at least during peak hours. But why should we care, its Aapnu Ahmedabad!
Waiting at the traffic signals, in Ahmedabad, most of the times reminds me of the back-benchers in school. Just as back-benchers are the active ones, here too vehicle owners at the back of the traffic line are very active with their honking. I don’t blame them too, sometimes. Because just as in school, first-benchers are the best sleepers (I was) in class, the ones in the front line of traffic fall into a “slumber” with their mobile updates. Are you updating that you are stuck in traffic or what? So we love our horns probably that’s the reason I heard weird honk sounds here. Especially the almost digitized dog barking sound. Irritates the hell out of me on the roads!
Speaking of the roads. I am pleased to see that most of the road are wide enough despite the BRTS lane in the middle in most part of the city. But what’s the point? 1/3rd of the road is taken by the parking. Out of the remaining 2/3rds, 1/3rd is again used by the opposite side riders and so the road normally available is just one lane. So I cannot really blame that people do not want to follow lane driving its just there’s not “enough” space remaining. Hmph!
Amdavadis are said to be very friendly. So much so that we like to drive beside our friend. Our bikes speed sync up as we talk about everything under the sun, literally. We are Jai-Veeru without the sidecar. And we are so deep in our friendly conversation that we do not care where or when we are.
Given the state, I wonder would banning the left turn would do any good for traffic? Or if the seminars given in schools by traffic police is just considered as just another lecture? Or in order to have obedient traffic followers traffic police will need to resort to giving out incentive such as 1L petrol free. Is that how we treat the city which we so proudly call as ‘Aapnu’? Time to think Amdavadis and maybe change a li’l.