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No singing in the rain for me

For me, the monsoons don’t bring joy. I dread going to work, because I waste four hours commuting from Goregaon to Thane every day.

mumbai Updated: May 29, 2011 01:59 IST
Saurabh Datar
Saurabh Datar
Hindustan Times

For me, the monsoons don’t bring joy. I dread going to work, because I waste four hours commuting from Goregaon to Thane every day.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles — at least, in flood-prone Mumbai. And I can’t even go to work in a train. I have to take an even worse mode of transport — the road.

A direct rail link has been promised. It’s been years, with no sign of it materialising. Why can’t the government bodies work in tandem with each other and finish off the damn thing?

When I look around, I cannot figure out where a flyover will end and the Metro will start. It all looks like a snakes and ladders board, these half-finished projects. Not one, not two but a mesh of unfinished Metro links, bridges, flyovers and assorted rails.

To add to the chaos, clogged roads and bad traffic lead to flaring tempers, and we all know what angry drivers can be like.

Meanwhile, the pre-monsoon work has not been completed and I have horrific images of dug-up roads and flyover construction sites all filling up with water in the monsoon and turning into traffic nightmares and breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

It’s no wonder that Mumbai has the maximum number of malaria cases.

First, 88% of Mumbai's population travels by local trains and BEST buses. Yet, we have roads that are clogged worse than an American’s arteries.

I pass through the perennially choked road that runs outside IIT-Bombay.

Can you guess how much time I spend daily, standing almost stationary in front of the IIT gate? Thirty minutes.

Why? Because the MMRDA and Central Railway cannot see eye to eye on the widening of the bridge that runs over Kanjurmarg railway station.

It seems to me as if not a single stone or piece of metal has moved for the last six years on that bridge. And this is supposed to be a World Bank project.

It is utter stupidity and mismanagement on the part of the government when they widen the road on both sides of the bridge, but leave the bridge half as wide. The same goes for Andheri, which is probably the scariest place in Mumbai.

It’s all very convenient for us to blame the authorities for everything that is wrong. But you and me are equally culpable. Which brings me to another point. Mumbai has always been known for its traffic sense and discipline. I think we may have to let of that reputation. Nobody wants to drive in a civilised manner. Everyone wants to be the first. Everyone honks like there is a medical emergency in their car.

Why do you drive halfway down the road when your signal has not even gone green? Mumbai tops the list of cities that recorded the number of deaths by road accidents.

Almost 700 people are killed every year in road accidents; that's around two people every day. Huge trucks and buses cutting across lanes dangerously, pedestrians crossing the road as if they were in Disneyland, car owners who think they own the road — where is your common sense, people?

Everyday, I see hundreds of cars with only one person coming from the same damn area. Do a carpool, people. Save on fuel (you will have to, now), unclog the roads (you can imagine the space that becomes available when the no of cars halves), make some new friends while you carpool.

Please, let us all follow the rules and make our daily drive to work a little less harrowing. And the government, I beg you. Finish at least one project so that some people can breathe easy.

(Saurabh Datar is a copywriter and lives in Thane)

First Published: May 29, 2011 01:59 IST