I was very lucky that my parents made sure that I learn driving as soon as I am 18. I got enrolled in one of the most reputed driving schools – Tongle Motors Driving School Talegaon Dabhade, Maharashtra. Fortunately, within a span of 3-4 months I got my license. Thereafter my brother, father, friends regularly took me out on a drive for practice sessions which added to my confidence. Then, I started working with Pune Mirror, and long working hours made it impossible to use public transport. That’s when my driving lessons came handy. However, as I started driving, I realised it is immensely irritating to drive amidst Pune Traffic.
I get pissed when people honk unnecessarily. There’s a huge traffic line and there’s no way to go, yet they keep honking. The favourite place of these honkers is the traffic lights. As soon as it turns green, they don’t have patience to wait at least for a second. Not just signals, but these people don’t spare silence zones too from their honking drama. I wish Pune traffic police comes up with a stringent rule for such honkers.
Ah, you don’t cut a lane, then you aren’t a great driver. Forget about highways, people jump lanes even in the cities, giving nightmare in heavy Pune traffic. Not just bikes and car, but the famous PMPML buses are like cherry on the top. To add to it, jumping lanes is furthermore complemented by honking, so imagine what chaotic situation it might be! Above all, the ones who are unaware of the roads are a greater threat. The other day, I saw a vehicle who changed lanes from extreme left to extreme right, jamming the whole traffic. Amidst all this, giving appropriate signal is against their pride.
Jamming The Overtaking Lane
This is a scene you get to see on the highways. The overtaking lanes are always occupied, especially by huge transport trucks or travel buses. However, I found this scenario in the city as well, especially where they have undertaken road widening. And guess who occupies them? Rickshaw drivers who are looking for passengers, learners, company buses and those scary MSRTC buses. Fortunately, two-wheelers clear the overtaking lane and only use it when they want to take a turn which is a respite.
No Rules For Pedestrians
The other day, I was at Bhumkar Chowk and the traffic scene there is horrific. However, this time I was on foot and reached the subway to cross the road. The signal was out so I decided to stop, but I saw so many people randomly crossing the road and blocking the traffic. The Pune traffic police repeatedly asked the pedestrians to wait as they were making way for vehicles but who wants to listen? Pedestrians forget the importance of Zebra crossing and the instructions of the Pune Traffic police. Not just this, but people cross roads on highways too without watching over the traffic. They don’t use the pedestrian crossing bays and instead cross randomly. I have seen so many elderly people getting tripped and falling on the road in a hurry to cross.
Every time I see a bus near my car from the rear-view and side mirrors, my heart starts beating faster. It’s not about these buses alone, but even SUVs are pathetic because they like to cling on the signal, parking lot, etc. Most importantly, they want you to fill in the gaps too and if you don’t, they just intrude or start honking. Trucks flash a message KEEP SAFE DISTANCE, but it’s just for namesake!
Bikers are an apt example of chota packet bada dhamaka (loosely means that despite being small they can cause huge repercussions). They have the skills to fill in the gaps, cut the lane, jump traffic lights, weird honking and give you a major breakdown while driving. Whenever a biker is around me, I prefer giving him side, then getting any closer. But some are too crawly who, despite giving side tend to hover around your car. So, my suggestion, stay away from them to avoid any casualty.
Jumping signals is the legacy of many Punekars. Not just this, but many Government servants just flash their IDs or their outfit to get away from the chaos of signals. Moreover, if you are following signal, they have a problem with that too! They will honk to the fullest and believe me, I’ve had major fights with people for honking and forcing me to jump signals.
Don’t Correct The Wrongdoer
One morning, on my way to work, I spotted a motorist coming from the wrong side. Literally, this guy had the audacity to barge onto the road with full speed. When people were passing by, scolded him with hand gestures to not enter (including me). However, in return he hurled abuses and said, “mazhya bapacha rasta ahe.” (The road belongs to my dad). So, it’s a crime to correct anyone because in return you get abused and they are not guilty about it.
With experiences like these, at one point, even I feel like abusing, mocking and teasing fellow drivers which apparently, I do sometimes! But I have realised that with ever increasing number of vehicles, the Pune traffic scene is definitely going to get bizarre!