On Friday night, while stuck in a nightmare of a traffic jam, I struck upon a brilliantly pointless epiphany; the only option for Delhi’s roads is the Knight Bus. It’s the magical bus in Potterverse (ref. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), which contracts in traffic and passes through the narrowest of openings between cars. The Knight Bus knows no obstruction, no traffic signals and certainly, no speed limits.
The description got me thinking that there already are Knight Buses on the streets of Delhi — only, they take the guise of motorbikes! But Delhi’s Knight Buses aren’t as suave — they squeeze in and out of traffic alright, but also end up scratching your car and breaking your rear-view mirror in the process.
If you’re a biker, please consider this constructive criticism. From a recent conversation with a colleague, who is a proud bike-owner, I realised that you guys really have no clue that the four-wheeled population of town considers you a menace!
You might think that you can get through the tiniest spaces between other vehicles, but that’s really not possible outside of fantasy fiction. Everyday, someone gets their car nicked by a biker trying to cut through. That’s not all. Most bikers seem to come with an invincibility complex. They overtake from whichever side they fancy, at whatever speed they choose, and are always poised at the edge of a traffic signal ready to jump a light. How many times has a car screeched to a halt because a biker came out of absolutely nowhere? And, really, what’s with those tempo style horns! You think there’s a trucker behind you, when actually a two-wheeler wheezes past.
A few months ago, the Delhi Traffic Police Facebook page started a chat thread on the topic ‘Bikes Are Menace In Delhi Roads…How to Discipline Them’. While most respondents suggested severe punishment and monetary fines, Manmeet Grover, a car user, pointed out that bikers ride dangerously without realising that they are the most vulnerable on the road.
A childhood friend is facing a problem keeping his fancy new car scratchless. He called one afternoon, annoyed as hell at a biker who had managed to give him an ulcer. “They zigzag without logic, aur sorry-shorry bol ke bhaag jaatein hain,” he cribbed, adding, “We should be allowed to run them over, like in GTA.” (GTA: Grand Theft Auto, a game in which the user steals cars and scores points every time he runs over people.)
While that is not the answer, lest you also think the idea is tempting, ponder over what Anurag Ashok had to say on the Delhi Traffic Police Facebook thread: ‘Car owners do not have the divine right to drive rash and own the entire road.” Guess, we all have to remember that none of us owns the Knight Bus!