As I have mentioned in earlier posts, every morning I have to wait for my office bus. It is a tricky place for a bus stop.
It is intersection of 2 roads, so you have vehicles coming from everywhere, a lot of them from the wrong side. Further, there is a public transport bus stop as well. There is a newspaper stall right around the corner. Next to it is a tapri (A small breakfast street stall). Behind all of this, is a LPG Agency. The agency has 3 giant trucks for LPG cylinders, and small-sized trolley trucks to send for supplies. It is a 3 lane road, most of the first lane is blocked by nuisance elements I just mentioned. Between the vehicles coming from all direction; people parking their bikes and cars right in the middle of the road, to stop for a bite; various public and private buses to pick and drop commuters; it is an adventure standing there. I hope it conveys just how messy it can get. If not, take a look at this.
Picture worth a thousand words, isn’t it? A little over 150 words in this case.
For all of 5 minutes that I wait for my bus, I keep shifting here and there so that people or vehicles do not run through me.
To streamline their operations a little, the agency folks do not let anyone park near or in front of their gates, so that their vehicles do not get stuck. Their trucks obstructing the traffic, however, is least of their concern. The tapri guys are also intimidated by them, so they take care of their customers and their bikes. Occasionally, they ask people to park elsewhere, thereby obstructing the traffic of some other lane, of course.
This morning, as I noticed a car approaching the tiny space left between two giant trucks; I took two steps backwards. A woman alights from the car, and goes straight to the stall, obviously very hungry; while the driver, supposedly her over aged husband stayed inside the car. The agency guys are observing this. As part of their routine, one of them asked the driver to move it a little further. He didn’t budge. Agency guy starts to repeat his warning – move it ahead. All of them, as you’d understand, are used to people abiding by their order. He repeated 6-7 times. I had moved a few paces further to stay away from this chaos. Suddenly, agency guy opens the car door, and in a typical film style, enters the car and stares the car-guy two inches away from his face. He threatens the car-guy. Car-guy is supposedly a bigger don, so he starts to shout back; asks him to get out of his car, and threatens to call someone. During all of this, the wife is busy eating. She doesn’t even know. The agency-guy walks in a fury towards the wife; as if she can fix the situation. The second agency guy follows them. Now there are various people involved in the scene. The agency guys, the car guy, the wife of car-guy, the stall owner and his assistant, and various customers feeding their hungry stomachs.
There is fight, although I can’t hear anything. From the looks, it was pretty aggressive. My bus comes from same direction, so I had to look that way. Others, however, chose to be a witness, by choice. A few seconds later, there was a traffic jam. All two-wheeler drivers, trolleys, auto-rickshaws stopped in the middle of road to enjoy the show. I am anxious, as my bus is stuck in traffic and can’t reach me; as audience of the show is blocking the road. After a good two minutes, which felt like two hours, I was able to board the bus.
The impression I get is, we are a nation who is constantly hungry; has no respect for traffic or parking rules; and is desperate for a live show. We don’t bother about anything or anybody else.