Every now and then, dear reader,my job takes me to various parts of Pune.
Some of them are delightful, such as the Pune University campus. Some of them are far flung. Some – and there is no other way to say it – are surreal.
One such Suburb of Surreality is a rather small bridge. Said bridge lies above the Pune Bangalore highway, and connects Pashan to (eventually) a village called Sus. So far, as you might imagine, there is nothing out of the ordinary.
Ah, but the bridge, you see, is but a two lane bridge. One lane for going towards Pashan, and one lane for going towards Sus. On either side of these two lanes lies a slightly raised embankment, that at one point of time might have been called a footpath. These days, when asked to describe it, locals use a Derisive Snort.
Said bridge was constructed way back when, during an era in which the HCMTR was not yet even a fledgling concept. Today, and we’re being kind here, the bridge is simply out of date.
Leading up to the bride on Pashan’s side of things is a wonderfully well constructed, very smooth indeed road that is a pleasure to drive on. Wide, sweeping and majestic, it is as good a road as one could hope to have. On the Sus side of things, life is a little narrower, a little more constrained, but fine nonetheless.
Traversing the bridge, however, can only happen one unhappy vehicle at a time. Two two-wheelers may be able to drive in one lane in parallel, but only if they and their riders have been strict adherents of the Dixit diet. Otherwise, traffic reduces to a veritable crawl, because there lanes must be subsumed into one.
Into this festival of incompetence, the Higher Authorities have chosen to add four additional lanes, leading up to and away from the bridge – onto the highway below. Especially in peak hour traffic (morning and evening), scenes at the bridge resemble an angry treacle pudding heaving its way to nowhere.
Even in a city famed for its ability to induce bafflement, the state of affairs here warranted a report in the Times of India. So bad have things become, it appears, that residents in the area find it better to stay indoors rather than venture out while there is traffic, which, as we have described is pretty much all the time.
There is, it would appear, no solution. We know this because the piece linked to above is resolutely silent about comment from the Higher Authorities. Not even a cursory “we’re looking into it”.
And when one fails to get Higher Auhorities to even acknowledge the existence of a problem, let alone Do Something About It, one should know that one is resolutely stuck.
If you ever have an hour (or five) to kill, and wish to marvel at a modern infrastructural concept that has the ability to amaze endlessly, sit in a large-ish car and make your way to the bridge at 10 in the morning on a weekday. Pune at it’s absolute best, I assure you.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime