It was just the two of us at that point of time. My grandmother got in the other vehicle that was way ahead of us and we were trying to catch up. ‘No time for caution’ by Hans Zimmer was playing on the stereo. We were stationary at the moment. My mother who was seated right next to me started to say “Rahul, there is no point using our fuel to…” when I cut her off saying “Let me finish the song!” I see a huge car to my right and bikers making their way to the front through a small gap on the left. My mind was currently focusing on all the four corners of my car. The intense soundtrack continued to play as I grip onto my steering. The car in front begins to move. I strap the seat belt across my chest and look at my mother. She looked worried as she felt that we were stuck. “It’s not possible” she said. I took a deep breath and replied “No, it’s necessary”.
The intense soundtrack gets faster. A drop of sweat rolls down my temple. My eyes move to the left and then to the right. My foot on the brake started to feel sore. “Come on cars!” I said looking at the huge four-wheelers in front of me as I reduced the pressure on the brakes and applied minimal pressure on the accelerator. I began turning the steering slightly as I looked at the mirror for bikers from the left. The music just kept getting intense.
I manoeuvred my way out of that spot and as the song was going to end I said “and killing main engines” as I turned off the car and looked at my mother who was surprised that I pulled off this feat. The car was off and we moved about a 100 cm from the previous spot, still stuck in the same traffic jam at K.R Puram. As beautiful as the hanging bridge at K.R Puram may seem, it’s a literal pain to get off it or go anywhere for that matter at around 6pm in the evening. The road is filled with cars, bikes, trucks and if you happen to be caught in this stampede, I suggest that you go for a takeaway rather than booking reservations because you’re pretty much in a fix, like Mufasa.
After about an hour, actually 45 minutes but I tend to exaggerate a lot, we were almost close to the front of the jam as I could see a yellow light, up ahead that vanished in an instant and became red under which there was a countdown that went 129, 128, 127… and it went on. The fact that you can see the light is like a hint from above that we’re almost at the end (as biblical as that may sound). We were closer to the other car with my grandmother in it. I changed the song on the stereo about thrice because some of the songs had the ‘F-word’ in them that lead to an awkward tension between me and my mother or at least that’s what I felt. I adjust the AC, tighten my seat belt, and calculate how far we had travelled. Then I look up at the timer under the signal lights to find that there’s still about a 100 seconds left. Suddenly time was going so slow. Now I started wondering about how traffic would be on Miller’s planet.
Decades later, the light turned from red to yellow and a second or two later to green. My favourite colour is black but at moment it was definitely green because I was delighted until I saw the timer under the green light that went 17, 16, 15, 14…and so on. Equality doesn’t seem to apply here as I slowly tried to make my way out of the traffic. I switched lanes and drove up front and came to a stop just behind a sedan that was close to the zebra crossing. The man was on his phone and the poor guy didn’t notice the green light. Hence I had to honk once or twice (more than six times in reality) to make the young chap aware of his surroundings. Time was going faster than before. There was about 4 seconds left when suddenly the man in the sedan was enlightened and he went all fast and furious leaving me behind with the red light and the timer that went 129, 128, 127…etc.
I got out of the traffic finally. Then I had to pass by the road where Metro work was going on. Metro construction has been happening for quite some time in various parts of Bangalore. I find it weird that some of the places they are working at don’t seem to connect with the main Metro line from Baiyapanahalli to Mysore road. I feel like they are just doing random construction work to spread a little dust, cause a little chaos and make everyone’s life miserable. The metro work happening on the road connecting commercial street and Mahatma Gandhi road (M.G. Road) has been there for almost 2 years now and ever since anyone who has to go to MG road from Kamaraj road (the road after Commercial Street) must take a detour and pass two signals to get to M.G road. Quite the inconvenience. I get these thoughts while I’m driving, it’s inevitable.
I drove past the dusty road by the Tin factory bus stop only to find myself at the last place I’d want to be which was behind an auto rickshaw. I’ve heard stories about auto rickshaw transport being prompt and helpful but why do they go so slow some times?
“Rasta tera Baap ka nahi hai!” well apparently it is in their case. This man was leisurely enjoying his empty ride, listening to songs on his loud stereo with LED lights all around. He was living his life to the fullest while I was creating new variations in my honking patterns to try and make the man move. Eventually some kind soul called out for an auto hence the man moved to the side and I could see paradise ahead of me. Swami Vivekananda road lying there in front of me, vacant and beautiful. I accelerated on second gear and raced up ahead and directly shifted to fourth as I viewed the beautiful Gopalan Signature Mall on my left and RMZ Infinity on my right. My grandmother’s car wasn’t to be seen anywhere but I wasn’t bothered about that as I relaxed my foot on the brake and lowered my window to feel the cool breeze of Bangalore that couldn’t match the air from the AC.
“All good things must come to an end” said Geoffrey Chaucer and I believe him because I found myself stuck at another traffic signal few minutes after experiencing heaven, when all of a sudden I heard constant honking from the back. I checked my rear view mirror and surprise! surprise! The same auto driver, who blocked me before, honking away as he seemed to be in a hurry. I smiled and raised the volume on my stereo as I waited for my 15 second interval so I could go all fast and furious (like the man in the sedan) leaving the auto driver behind. That was yet another tactic I learnt from driving in Bangalore. As much as I feel like Bangalore traffic is an inconvenience and an utter pain, I also feel like it’s something you should experience at least once if by chance you are in Bangalore. Oh and why didn’t the Bangalorean cross the road? Because there wasn’t any left for him to cross! I’m just kidding, it’s because of the traffic in Bangalore. (The first one makes sense as well).
This piece is so well written, relatable in every way and somehow made Bangalore traffic a bittersweet memory. Can't wait to see more work from the author :")
Never imagined humour could be drawn from such a monotonous thing as traffic 😂.