We Will Take What We Get, Us Punekars!

Parking Mess
Image used for representation only

It is a fact universally acknowledged that our fair city affords us endless wonder, and today’s tale, dear reader, is about one such opportunity that was bestowed on us recently.

It (the tale) is about a road in the city that lies close to where I stay, and it is about parking. Now, we all know that parking in our city is a grossly underpriced service. Our roads resemble nothing more than clogged arteries, and it because of all of those higgedly piggedly parked cars by the side. If only they would price parking better, I often think to myself with gritted teeth at seven in the evening, as I and a gazillion other fellow citizens inch our way home.

Baner Road, the closest main thoroughfare to my home, is no exception to the sorry state of affairs described above. And in an attempt to ameliorate this issue, the police department decided to ban parking on the road.

Ban entirely, as it turns out.

None of that odd even date halfway nonsense for Baner Road, it was decided – no parking along the entire ten kilometer or so stretch, right from the University Circle all the way until Orchid Hotel on the Mumbai Pune Highway.

Shopkeepers and establishment along this entire stretch were, as you might imagine, less than pleased. But people who used the road purely to get from point A to point B were rather happier, for traffic was finally free flowing again. Well, all right, that was an exaggeration. Traffic crawled faster.

But we’ll take what we get, us Punekars.

Things were’t that much better, and the shopkeepers were yelling blue murder on a near daily basis – why, they went to the extent of holding a one day strike – but still, it was an improvement.

The story, as you might imagine, has a familiar ending. The enforced discipline lasted for barely a couple of weeks, until things returned, partly by design, partly by inertia, and partly by a sense of inevitability to what was the original state of affairs.

Today, if you happen to drive up and down Baner road at almost any point of time during the day, traffic is as slow as it ever was, because the cars are parked by the side of the road in as much profusion as was the case earlier.

The only thing that has changed, in fact, is that there are about a hundred or so no parking signs by the side of the road. 

Business as usual, with the occasional tow truck trundling up and down the road, and the occasional police officer in earnest conversation with a couple of our fellow citizens. If you happen to lock eyes with other citizens who observe this state of affairs, there might be a knowing exchange of smiles, and perhaps the shrugging of shoulders. For we have seen this story before, have we not? The more these things change, the more they stay the same.

So, as they say, it goes.


Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni