Lovely long slow 2 hour run this morning in Lutyens Delhi.
Got into car and set off back home, feeling good.
Then I got to Moti Bagh – the place I loathe above all others in this city – and all that inner peace and zen and all those runner’s high happy hormones garnered during said run were DESTROYED.
More than 45 minutes to cover a distance of – what? – 3/4 kilometre, possibly less.
Probably not even 750 metres. Traffic of such density, such mindless stupidity, such incessant pointless noise and, most of all, such supreme selfishness.
Just what is it with horrid Delhi drivers that makes them incapable of ceding an inch to allow someone else to move?
I could not physically move over to the left, to take the slip road I always take, because of a diplomatic minivan with darkened windows in the extreme left forcing his way across 4 lanes of traffic to turn right. (77 is what, people? U.S.? Russia? UK? One of them, for sure) He just bludgeoned on, regardless – presumably secure in that knowledge with his wretched CD plates he wouldn’t be stopped for gross traffic violations…had there even been a cop anywhere in sight, that is.
After that, totally boxed in, I still tried in vain to get over to the left. Drivers refused to budge, refused to make eye contact, just sat there, blaring away in static traffic on their horns like morons. So with no other option, I had to go with the flow in a direction I didn’t want to, inching my way forwards, painfully, until I could turn left into…this:
Both lanes on my side of the road being used by traffic driving the wrong way down the road, so completely blocking oncoming traffic.
Yup, a bus completely blocking my access. So I first of all took a photo of the bus, with its licence plates and then the driver’s photo, and then we talked.
I first asked him whether he had a driving licence or not?
“Haanji Madame. Licence hai.”
“So you know how to drive? Passed a test?”
“So you do know that you are driving on MY side of the road?” said I, as witheringly sarcastic as my Hindi will allow me to be.
All the time I am taking photos.
“Why are you taking my photo? Take a photo of the red light that isn’t working” (It was working, but that’s by the by)
“Why? Do two wrongs make a right?”
Deafened by the sound of the moron behind me horning away for dear life, despite a bloody great bus blocking the road, that couldn’t back u
(a) because no-one would let him in an
(b) all the solid oncoming traffic behind him – on MY side of the road, remember – so, with the moron behind honking away for India, I s-q-u-e-e-z-e-d past the bus, only to find…yes indeed…
Another bus right behind, also driving on the wrong side of the road.
Almost a nervous wreck by the time I eventually got to the traffic light, what do I spot but a police car – there hadn’t been a cop or a traffic cop anywhere near the mayhem behind me, of course. I slow down and ask one of the cops, who was lounging against the car, adjusting his beret, “Excuse me, are you a policeman?”
He gave another tweak to his beret and strolled over, not a care in the world.
“Haanji Madame. Bataye.”
“Are you a policemen. And are you on duty?”
“So would you like to go over there and sort the mess out?”
He turned and looked down the road behind me, as if seeing (& hearing) the noisy mayhem for the first time.
“What is wrong?” he asked, hand still adjusting the blasted beret
“Can’t you see?” I replied. “Buses driving on the wrong side of the road, completely blocking the traffic. That kind of thing.”
“Thik hai Madame, we’ll go.”
So I waited.
“Are you going now?” (Or in a couple of hours? And if you touch that beret once again, mister, I might just scream).
“Yes Madame, going.”
At which point I thought…you know what, Christine…enough…you have done your civic duty…just leave this chaos and move on.
And so I drove on, totally stressed, totally un-zen-ed, totally de-happy-hormoned. Almost a runner’s low, were such a thing possible.
And the worst of all this…schools haven’t even yet reopened. That horror is for tomorrow. Doesn’t bear thinking about.
Once home, I signed up for the Delhi Traffic police whatsapp group, remembering an article I had read over the weekend, and put aside for blogging.
I uploaded the photos, the location, the time, and got this reply:
After that, silence.
Deep down, I suspect I wasn’t actually talking to a real cop at all, hence the lack of reply to my my last question.
But anyway, I felt a weeny bit better afterwards, and the knowledge that I might win a free movie ticket into the bargain was a real incentive.
Oh, that number for the whatsapp group? Here you go.
Let me know if you win any movie tickets, won’t you? Perhaps we can all go together?