Swoooosh…speed limit exceeding 50kmph, 60kmph, 70… 80…the wind wailing like a tremendous tempest of unimaginable magnitude…and then WHAM!!! Oops!! A speed breaker!!! Was it really a speed breaker??? Whatever it was, the motorcyclist would never dare to try that stunt out again, at least not in Chennai!!
A walk on a footpath (if there were any) in Chennai would be any enlightening experience for a first timer. The roads stretching out, from the edge of the footpath till the place where it is punctuated by potholes, drainage pipes, manholes, huge pits etc etc (the things mentioned above being a few inches from the footpath). Surely, the walk would be nothing less than a macabre experience for a first timer (surely, they could be warned!!). The work (drilling the “roads”) starts at about 4:00 am in the morning. The work is meticulous, careful and planned. They make sure that, the noise is enough to get the late risers out of their beds and start their morning walk. Have you ever seen people who can be more thoughtful?? The work is always the same. They also have a rhythmic touch, in order, to make the whole thing more enjoyable. A drill, a pause, a drill, a pause, a drill….
At about eight am, they take a break. Heaven!! The work is again resumed in an hour. The real traffic starts at about 10:00 am. But, the masters of the road never stop their work. They are the most hardworking people you can ever meet. By evening 6:00 pm, one might think they are tired. But no!! They have to start the welding work. The pipes would then be lowered down into the colossal pits and then closed again.
The peers of the realm would then retire for the day. Just as the work is at its peak (the amount of mud excavated also at its zenith), a reporter from a readable newspaper or magazine would take a snap of the whole process and then, publish it with a caption saying “ Workers, take the roads for granted. The above photograph shows the blah blah road”. The people responsible (not the workers, certainly) would immediately, hush up the matter, with huge cans of tar and black acrid smoke (of course, they want to lay roads)!! The preposterously marvelous road roller would roll on the “new road” and thus, a new road is born.
But the relief of a new road is short-lived. Three months pass by, and workers start their routine digging to lay down telephone lines. The whole process is repeated and they dig the roads again for laying down storm water drains (isn’t there a water scarcity in Chennai??). The roads are laid down again and again. The blatant incapability of the people responsible is transparent and thanks to them, the hospitals run on the medical bills of emergency cases. (As for that motorcyclist, he adapted himself to Chennai roads….)!!!