Paradise lost

In a city bursting at the seams, with its traffic choc a bloc, it’s the horns that herald the day rather than the cock a doodle doo, and that rock you to sleep long after the city retires. There’s no escaping it.  DH file photo

Why have a horn, if you cannot horn, you might ask. Fair enough. But does having a horn make you think you have two? On the head, I mean. Big horns, small horns, fat horns, thin horns, shrill horns, gentle horns, blaring horns, musical horns! Welcome to the city of horns!

Did I hear someone mutter “garden city?” – No, that sobriquet was lost long ago. Much water has flowed under the bridge since. Literally! From the high-tech city, to the garbage city, to the city of foaming lakes, to the submerged city, to the city of fiery lakes, to the potbellied nay potholed city, to the city of horns! Quite a journey! Horns that follow you everywhere, dogging your footsteps, putting to shame the rats of Hamelin!

In a city bursting at the seams, with its traffic choc a bloc, it’s the horns that herald the day rather than the cock a doodle doo, and that rock you to sleep long after the city retires. There’s no escaping it. You want to take this wide road – it’s there! That road less travelled by – it’s worse! How about this alley – no way! They come creeping behind you, blaring and screeching, making you jump out of your skin. And offering a stiff fight is the dust that assails your nostrils from the dug up roads, filling your throat and lungs. After all, don’t the ENT specialists also need to thrive? We’ve been taught to live and let live. And what better way than to serve them on a silver platter!

Who would have ever imagined that on these very same roads, you could once upon a time breeze by in your car or your bike, the wind in your face, the faint fragrance of exotic flowers lingering in the air, and where rarely was heard an abusive word. This reminds me of an incident long, long ago. It was the serene city of the 80’s. There I was on a TVS 50 with a friend riding pillion, zooming down St Mark’s Road, and forced to slow down at MG Road cross when the lights turned red. A few minutes later, the traffic cop bid us to proceed as the green lights came on. But try as I might, the scooty refused to move, and what with the cop waving frantically, there was no other way, than to pedal my way across. On reaching safe limits, I stopped to see the obstacle in my race.

To my utter horror, I found the edge of my beautiful red and white sari stuck like butter on toast, on the exhaust pipe. As I turned back, I saw my friend still on the other side, having got off when she saw me struggling to move! Road rage, did you say? No, the word did not exist then. That we had to leave the scooty behind at the nearest garage, a good two kilometers away, pushing it all the way, and find our way back by other means, is altogether another story.

 

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