At 8.40 pm last night, as the doors of the metro opened at Sector 18, Noida, a collective gasp went up among the travelers. Mist floated into the train as the people stepping out disappeared into the fog.
Delayed flights, chaos at the airport, cancelled trains and stranded passengers — hit by the worst fog since 2003, Delhi has become the new Bermuda Triangle, or like the island on the TV series Lost.
With these not-so-pleasant thoughts, I spooked myself into stepping out of the station. Braving the visions of horror, I got onto a rickshaw and dove into the dense envelope of white. Straining to see the front wheel of the rickshaw through the fog, I felt like I was being driven home by Thestrals (invisible animals of the Harry Potter universe).
Wait, let me not romanticise one of the biggest problems Delhi has faced in years. The fact is that our helplessness in the face of the fog is appalling. For all the flags we fly on the moon, we continue to be baffled by the forces of nature around us.
Countries that are snowed under at night wake up the next morning and shovel things back to normal. The slightest sign of rain/fog/smog and we end up with cars banged into dividers, traffic jams and an announcement ‘that the next metro is 51 minutes late’. But enough about that.
Last week, I opened the Crib forum to include a babble of voices, inviting others wandering about in this orbit to write in with their grouse. Chaitanya Shangloo wrote in about two of her biggest cribs — Blind Honkers and Metro Maniacs. She said: “I cannot understand why people blare their car/bike horns… the vehicles in front of them are not going to use the sound energy from their honking and fly away.”
Aditya Shrivastava, who recently bought a fancy new car, is currently fed up with two-wheelers on the road: “They criss-cross around cars like maniacs. Here I am, trying to keep them alive, driving as carefully as possible and they don’t seem to care about their own lives. And, for some reason, in this city, the badi gaadi waala is always wrong.”
Preity wrote that her biggest grouse is with the people: “I don’t mean everybody is bad, but, in spite of residing in a metropolitan city they don’t behave like it.”
Ana hates public loos, Neha hates auto waalahs who fleece you and Ivy hates being stared at everywhere she goes. What about you?