Stepping out these days onto the streets is a veritable act of courage if you ask me.
For one, there’s the real and present danger of being run over by the plague of two wheelers who seem to get onto every available surface, never mind if those surfaces were meant to be footpaths for pedestrians.
And for another, there’s the even more clear and present danger of falling into a pothole and emerging on the other edge of the universe through a wormhole twisting through space and time. I kid you not.
The surface of every single road in the city I live in, come the monsoon, morphs into a dead ringer for the lunar surface with more craters that any sane soul would choose to count. Of course, our authorities do have some hapless souls doing a count on these and the number that emerges is often to be taken with a huge pinch of that which flavours every meal.
The roads are potholed and how.
There is road between the potholes at times and you really have to hunt to spot it.
At others, the roads are an infinite stretch of potholes so deep, you could probably go fishing there and find an entire aquatic ecosystem within.
The other day, I stepped out with the offspring to visit the mater. Thanks to the skies pouring down every specimen of the bovine and canine, there were no radio cabs to be got for love, money or surge pricing.
We hopped into an autorickshaw, put the two flaps on either side down and huddled together shivering as the rain pelted down around us.
That ride was perhaps the most surreal experience of my life. Driving through blinding rain, through traffic that crawled in bits and then opened up to allow the driver to unleash his inner Schumacher.
This resulted in us being jostled around so much that I am quite positive some internal organs managed to shift themselves into completely new locations. I can swear the heart migrated to the toes.
Some of these roads were the same one which had been redone barely a couple of months ago, before the monsoon set in. They had completely disintegrated into the lunar surface, pockmarked with craters and ravines, and other kind of relief features that could actually help me conduct a Geography revision session with the offspring which travelling through.
What chance did any amusement park ride have in terms of chills and thrills when confronted with a speeding auto on potholed roads in pouring rain?
I think, on that day, in that auto ride, I realised what living life on the edge truly meant, and yes, my vertebral column is still protesting vocally as the impact it took negotiating the potholed roads.
A ride or two on potholed roles is not just back for the backs of the hapless citizenry, but is actually rather dangerous. Two wheelers have suffered the most from the potholes that lie insouciantly under puddles of water, especially unseen in the night, leading to nasty falls and even worse, deaths of the riders and the pillion riders. These fatalities, sadly, are often dismissed by the authorities as inconsequential.
One wise chappie stated that lakhs of people travelled on the same roads and hadn’t died yet, so it was rather unfair to blame the death on the potholes. Another statement tells us that there are fewer potholes this year than there were in previous years.
Yet another authority speaks of how citizens are exaggerating the risks posed by potholes, never mind that statistics tell us that 10 people die per day in this country because of fatalities caused due to potholes.
Yet, every year it is the same story, every year we risk our lives simply by travelling in the pouring rain on potholed riddled roads. We have no one to blame but ourselves, our apathy is what the authorities ride on.
And unless we shed our apathy, this is what we will get, year after year. The potholed roads, impact injuries from travelling on these and lives lost.
Author | TEDx Speaker | Mentor | Curator |
International Women's Day Award 2018 for Excellence in the Field of Writing(ICUNR & Ministry of Women & Child Development, Govt of India)
Her latest book 'Missing, Presumed Dead' is now available on Amazon