Rush-hour dentists

Do you know that most of our city motorists have become ‘dentists?’ Now, do not get me wrong; when I say dentist, I am not referring to the magician who puts metal into your mouth, and pulls coins out of your pocket. I am alluding to the breed of motorist who strikes his metal against yours by acci-‘dent’ causing physical depression on your car’s body and mental depression to you.

Show me a vehicle free from dents and I will show you one that hardly ventured out. At fault are motorists like ‘Toofan Singh’ who reminds one of a bull in a bullring. To him, the red light at the traffic signal acts like a red rag to a bull. So, like the bull, he scrapes his right ‘hoof on the accelerator, snorts ominously (at the tail-pipe) and charges ahead in a cloud of smoke forcing other commuters to scurry for cover.

In a city where roads are treated like Formula One tracks, motorists have evolved their own set of traffic rules. For instance, their traffic manual exhorts them to overtake a) when there is heavy oncoming traffic, b) on blind bends, c) at intersections and d) in the middle of city centre. Their battle cry: Never allow more that two inches between your vehicle and one that you are passing; just one inch in the case of bicycles or pedestrians.

If you are a pedestrian, it is an asset if you can, like an owl, turn your head 360 degrees. It also helps if you expect an anxious driver to step on his accelerator confusing it for the brakes. Ultimately, you get a bit paranoid about being on the ‘hit list’ of all the motorists when you cross the road. And you begin to believe that people on the opposite footpath are the ones who were born there. During the rush hour, the only way you can change lane is by buying the car driving next to you! And the traffic jams are so protracted that you can get out of the car and play cards on the roof of the car.

Fade out 2011 and fade in 2015.You sign up for a driving course at a reputed motor driving school. They provide a training track that, besides potholes, has cows, goats, dogs and pedestrians roaming freely. Auto-rickshaws or bicycles that materialise from nowhere keep you on the edge of your seat. Specially trained road-rage artistes hone your fighting/shouting skills. By the time you graduate, you become such a careful driver that you honk your horn even when you go through a red light!

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