On the loose: On The Road
After a woman on a two wheeler and a policeman ended up hurling bricks at each other in yet another road rage incident, the Delhi High Court has called the complainant’s behaviour “disgraceful”. Ramajeet Kaur allegedly jumped a red light and wasn’t wearing a helmet. Video clips suggest she used seriously offensive language and threw the brick first. The traffic cop was arrested and sacked after 27 years of service. He has been granted bail.
While nothing can excuse a policeman for reacting this way, it’s completely out of the realm of normal behaviour for anyone, male or female, to throw a brick at an officer. This is a deeply disturbing sign of shocking disregard for authority and utter contempt for the law. This incident follows the heartbreakingly brutal case just 10 days ago, when a DTC bus driver was beaten to death by a group. Incidents like these appear to happen with alarming regularity. Has it really come to this, that the stress of the commute is turning us into murderous savages?
It would be interesting to know who these people are. Are they normal folk going about their daily lives who suddenly flip out behind the wheel? Or is there a certain type of person more prone to going crazy while driving?
Delhi’s roads have become like battlegrounds and the drivers, rather soldiers, are war weary. An epidemic of wanton aggression lurks just under the surface ready to boil over at the slightest provocation. Every day is pandemonium on the streets with people weaving in and around to get ahead, the only common factor being, just about everybody is ignoring the rules.
The concept of road etiquette doesn’t exist. The white lines to segregate traffic may as well be a design element to perk up a boring stretch of road, going by how much people care about lane driving. When you’re stuck in traffic endlessly with nowhere to run, powerless in terrific heat and chaos, I suppose even the most rational person could explode in frustration. Cursing, obscene gestures and squabbles, people texting and talking on phones while at the wheel, are all in a day’s drive.
Who is to blame for this uncivilised unruliness on our streets? It would be nice if a zero-tolerance policy was enforced, with heavy penalties for traffic violations and imprisonment for those who implode because they can’t handle the stress that driving in Delhi involves. Till that happens, the only solution, if there is one, is for citizens to train themselves into a zen-like calm and factor in 20 minutes extra for delays before heading anywhere.
And understand, the fatigue of daily travel is only going to go up because our roads haven’t kept pace with the stream of vehicles that get added to this already cluttered landscape. About confronting road rage, take a deep breath, and let it go — a scuffle with an enraged driver isn’t going to get you to your destination faster. It’s hard to keep in perspective but there are worse things than traffic jams.
We have no choice but to actively develop the stoicism of a sage if we want to control our blood pressure. The next best option is to invest in audio books to kill time in dense traffic. I recommend the Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes reading of The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories.
Source:: Indian Express