Pransu Raj Kaushik
DIBRUGARH, June 14: It was to be a very joyous drive down the tiol highway with my wife to attend office on a pleasant spring morning in my newly acquired hatchback. As they show in the television ads, I was driving in a happy mood till I reached a railway crossing… rather it can very well be termed as a ‘big cross’ on my dream cruise. As I was about to turn left, a biker of the Dhoom era suddenly appeared out of the blue and tried to overtake me from the wrong side of the two way road. Unfortutely, for both the rider and me, the beautiful morning gave way to a copybook Oedipus tragedy.
This is an event that many of the wise readers might have experienced in their lives. What I want to emphasize here is the fact that when I tried to reason with the rider as to the fallacy of him trying to overtake my vehicle from the wrong side, he was in turn trying to lay fault with me by saying that I had not turned on the indicator. He might have been right; I don’t remember turning the indicator either. Filly, it was a perfect case of two wrongs making a ‘right’. We both let our mistakes be made into a right, that is, we parted ways by agreeing that we were right in our own ways.
Violation of traffic rules has seeped deep into our lives in such a way that it is very often regarded as being perfectly normal and no big deal at all to jump a red sigl, park in no parking zones, overtake without sigl and what not. Is it not pathetic enough that the transport department has to remind us that we need to wear helmets for our own safety? It is like being reminded by others to eat to avoid being hungry.
The habit of traffic etiquette needs to be imbibed in the way that religious or lifestyle activities are done. It might be difficult to make middle-aged or persons who have crossed a certain age limit to mend ways or rather be trained to inculcate traffic etiquette, but, one can very well imbibe the ethos of traffic rules and etiquette in fresh and malleable minds of school going kids. The training should start right from the beginning of a child’s academic journey, and can be made a part of the curriculum. Moreover, parents too, should also try to inculcate traffic etiquette as they would do so while training about morality and social ethos. This could at least be a step towards developing a generation of well mannered, traffic rule compliant citizenry in the years to come.
Adding to the woes of traffic violators are the ‘holy cows’- quite literally, the one animal enjoying the best of civil rights in India! Once I saw some tourists on Dibrugarh AT road clicking photographs of the bovine breed quite animatedly, as if Jurassic world was being played out on the streets! I was bemused as well as embarrassed no end, as being a citizen of the place; I did not have anything better to offer to the excited tourists to see. Hundreds of varied negative points can be found as regards the traffic issues of this lovely country, but, there are positives to look forward to. The positive facts being that we have learnt ‘to demand’ and ‘to be aware’- the two most important traits in generating change in a society. Ultimately, it is change that is a catalyst to newer norms and habits. So, let us change - change our mentality, our vision for the upcoming generation and above all change the way we conduct ourselves on the highway. It should be, ‘My way as well as your way’, rather than being ‘damn way’!