It’s been about 8 years since I’ve lived in Bangalore, and yet this city never fails to amaze me. Usually, I wake up hearing birds chirping and dogs barking, with the cool morning wind reminding me of a new day with new possibilities.
With this happy mood I get ready for college and as soon as I hit the road, the same beautiful Bangalore turns into a cruel monster trying to tear you out of your senses. As a person who has just started driving, I find it pretty hard to swoop through the everyday traffic (and believe me, there’s a lot) like other experienced drivers do. Knowing that I’m hardly anywhere close to being good at it and my driving skills still require a lot of work (though I haven’t fallen or hit anyone or had any angry driver shout at me), yesterday- just two months since I got my driving license- I went ahead and proudly took off the ‘L’ sign from my vehicle. Well, the sign never really made a difference; people still rushed through, cars still kept honking like crazy and the humongous buses still tried to kill you.
What really annoys me is the fact that both the pedestrians and the two-wheeler-riderss never really realize the true purpose of a footpath. The pedestrians walk on the roads, ignoring the presence of a separate pavement made just for them, and on the other hand, the drivers happily use these pavements to avoid the traffic jam, leaving the other drivers to contemplate in their cars as to why they didn’t think of getting their two wheeler to work. I’ve never liked people who drive on footpaths, and hence, I never do it. Though when there is a traffic jam and the slope for the footpath is right beside me, there are usually people honking behind. Well, I’ve mastered the art of not giving (in a polite way) a damn.
The best of all are the autowallas who just want to get on your nerves every time. A person must always know the first rule of driving on Bangalore roads: never drive on the extreme left side of a busy/main road. And if you are, and there is an auto in front of you, then only God can save you. That guy will drive so slowly, stopping every five minutes to pick up a person, and once he does, no one can stop him. He will squeeze through all kinds of small places he can get to fit the auto in. And sometimes, these autos leave out so much smoke so it comes all over your face and chokes you to death.
Even better than that are the potholes on the roads. And not small ones, big huge potholes. Almost like someone dug up the middle of the road and left it for people to fall into (well, this doesn’t sound surprising at all!). But when it rains (and it always has to rain while I’m riding), the roads are filled with water and it’s impossible to know where you are going and when you will drive right into a huge pothole. This one time I was driving back from college and almost fell into one. And that wasn’t even the worst part- while I was managing to get the vehicle out of the damn thing, its wheels splashed water all over another girl driving right beside me. Even though it wasn’t my mistake, I still feel bad about it.
I remember this one day I didn’t feel like riding back home so I asked a friend to, and I sat behind. Not to mention, I regretted doing that the next second. Somehow, with universe’s good grace, we reached safely.
But there’s definitely something about this place that I can never get enough of, and however bad I think the Bangalore traffic and the roads are, I will still prefer this city over any other.