Malad Malady Tuesday, 8 September, 2009Posted by ~uh~™ in Mumbai.
Tags: Bottleneck, Citizen, Construction, Delay, Fltover, Frustration, Go Slow, Images, Infrastructure, Jam, journalism, mala-D, Malad, Mumbai, sarcasm, Times of India, traffic, Traffic Signal
Disclaimer: This post is not intended to help anyone staying outside Mumbai anyway. There’s nothing new for those who stay in Mumbai either. In short this post is a pointless citizen journalism effort. Read only if you don’t have anything better to do.
Not so long ago, when I used to ravel on local trains, I prayed to the Old Monk I worship, to save me from the agonizing punishment and humiliation I had to suffer everyday. I wanted to get rid of the daily squeeze and longed for the comfort of a car. I wanted time for myself; I wanted to think at peace and relax.
The venerable Monk, like always, listened to my prayer and I was hired by a company 30 km away from home, where I was provided witha parking space. My journey on local trains ended there.
Last 4 years, I have been driving to work. I spend approximately 3 .5 to 4 hours in the car everyday. This translates to approx 22% of my day, excluding 6 hours of sleep. In today’s hectic lifestyle, such generous and exclusive stretch of personal time is a boon for us urbane public. Unfortunately, most of the ignorant backward populace, instead of realizing how they can utilize such quality time, tends to crib about the mundane – the succumbing infrastructure, the decaying administrative machinery, lack of foresight of the planners, lackluster approach of the construction companies, corrupt and unhealthy nexus between the govt officials and private contractors and the degraded quality of city life in general. Lifeless morons, them.
I can easily think of utilizing the quality time in the following ways:
- Listening to Music/ Radio– the most common getaway. I have already written about it earlier in detail.
- Eating– this is the safest and next best thing to do provided only edible things are consumed in moderate quantities.
- Reading– this is the second most common way to use time better. For self driven individuals it might appear to be little challenging to begin with, but practice makes a man perfect, be it so if some life must be sacrificed.
- Talking– one can talk to himself or can think aloud without any disturbance. One can also use mobile phone to catch up with friends, parents, relatives, and wife. One can also have long chat with ‘special friends’, but hands free attachments are recommended (no inner meaning here).
- Watching movies– the next best thing. Best way to catch up with celluloid overdues. For the driver’s this is bit easier multitasking than reading, depending on the position of the screen.
- Drinking- Not recommended for people with smaller bladder capacity or devoid of yoga power to control bio-breaks. Drinking alcohol is not legal for drivers, unless one desperately wants to spend a vacation at Arthur Road jail.
- Sleeping- One can easily make up on his/ her snoozing quota complete will pillow and quilt. Not recommended for drivers at all times.
- Exercise- I am not an expert, but I guess one can surely do some Pranayam and belly crunching like Baba Ramdev. Of course, this is not for people who prefer Sl # 2 and vice versa.
- Other activities– With free hands bit of imagination and willing acrobatic partners any ride can be made a memorable one. All it takes is to pick-up the right signal (pun intended).
Other than music and talking, I can’t really indulge myself into other options because of opthalmologic, legal, logistical and social reasons. So I spend my time in much simpler act- thinking.
I particularly love to spend my time on the roads, driving bumper to bumper at the speed of 3 km/ hr on first gear for kilometers ahead. It takes me to a transcendental elevation beyond the miseries of everyday life. Every time, I reach my destination, I become wiser and hallowed than yesterday. Thanks to the place called Malad.
The name Malad should not be confused with Levonorgestrel & Ethinyloestradiol Tablets along with ferrous fumerate, more popularly knows as Mala- D, the government promoted female contraceptive pills. Malad is an aggressively developing place on Mumbai western suburbs between Goregaon and Kandivali. In Malad there’s a very important crossing called Times of India junction, named after the TOI staff housing society on the Eastern side of W E highway located atop a hill.
Since the very first day of my drive over TOI junction, I have not seen the infrastructure and construction work cease even for a day. Initially, they widened the road and covered it with paver blocks. The next monsoon fucked the road up. Repairing took 9 months to complete. The next monsoon fucked the road up again. Then they removed those paver blocks next year and made it a concrete road. Once everything was done they started digging everything up and making a flyover for the last 3.5 years. In one way, it can be termed as Indian’s longest (duration) flyover. My heart particularly fills with joy to experience this immense advancement, when it takes me 45 minutes to cross a half a kilometer stretch. I also feel a strong humane bond with the overjoyed commuters enjoying in thousands of vehicles lined up to cross the famous signal.
Literally, the crossing is aptly named as Times of India. When we become grandparents and the flyovers are probably completed, we would tell out grand children those were the the times, the times of India. I take pride that the tax I pay is being efficiently spent building this epitome of infrastructural marvel. I am sure when constructed; this flyover would be an icon no less than the Taj Mahal or Circus Maximus or a combination thereof. It will be perfect homage to the loving memory of those numerous critically ill patients dying inside the ambulance everyday, amidst the siren of desperation, stuck like a fly in the thick tar of despair #. Once the flyover is done, no one would then mention about the time delays, cost overruns and the zillion gallons of petrol being smoked over half-clutch and first gear. Remember the saying: Today’s pain is tomorrow’s abortion.
I am pleased to present some of the pictures which are self explanatory. The pictures are taken with my Nokia E-71 mobile from behind the wheel, apologies for the not-so-good quality.
One day, some day, this flyover would get completed . Then the next phase will begin. The next phase would also get completed (official date is May2010, so my guess it would be May 2015) and my life won’t be the same anymore. I will reach a distance of 10 minutes in 10 minutes ! I shudder to think ,when will I get the time to think then?
Till then, I want to thank the authorities involved for giving me time the to think, forcing me to stop and go slow in life and then making me realize the famous saying of Swami Vivekananda- Chareibeti, Chareibeti……..which when translated to Indian Govt language, become-
GO SLOW WORK IN PROGRESS.
#: Analogy taken from Dilbert.
PS: The post may impose an important question to reader’s mind- Why the hell people stay in Mumbai. Well, that’s a topic of another dedicated post altogether.