Kahaan se aaya, kahaan jaaoge?

(Where are you coming from, where are you going to?)

I was walking down to Karumandurai yesterday, to pick up my bike from the battre (mechanic’s). The brand new tar road which has been looked forward to for so long, has some unforeseen fallouts.

Earlier the traffic and the walkers occupied the same “space” so to speak. Since bikes moved slowly, giving a lift to a walker was par for the course. Bikes would routinely have two, and much of the time, three people on board..

By contrast, today, the walkers were off the road and the bikes travelling at high speeds were in a “different space”. The bikers were loath to slow down and pick up anybody even if there was no-one riding pillion. I, too, noticed this the couple of times I have biked on this road: the speeds are such that one doesn’t notice the walkers until one is far ahead of them.

For me, personally, there was a happy ending when Sakthivel, whom I know well, recognised me from behind by my hat and backpack, and gave me a lift to Karumandurai. But, by separating the bikers and the walkers, the new road has dealt another blow to the sense of community here.

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3 Responses to “Kahaan se aaya, kahaan jaaoge?”

  1. Madhu Says:

    Modern “civilization”, inexorably catching up with Thekambattu…

    Pune seems to still hang on to vestiges of the old times – for a city of its size, that is. If I take out the bike, people usually thumb a lift. Usually worker-type people tired of waiting for the bus hitch a ride, and refreshingly, don’t mind that it’s a female riding (or realize too late…)! Has happened a couple of times in the last 4 years that I’ve had this bike. Used to happen quite routinely in my earlier stint here (1993-1997). And we used to hitch rides from random strangers as well, without fear of being kidnapped.

    Pune even now remains a “safe” city in this sense… recent bombing took it out to a different league 😦

    I hope on a personal level it retains that charming safety… one of the reasons I love this city best among all Indian cities I’ve been in.

  2. Guddu Says:

    Technology and development always move much faster than cultures and I wonder if we can restore the cultural values with some efforts. So how about a sign on the new roads that say watch out for pedestrians and animals and also signs that say something about being nice to a stranger and offering a ride? The systems that have evolved around bridges in the US are an example where you stand on one side and you get a ride to the other side because the riders save money if they have a passenger! Maybe the riders can offer a chai to the driver.

  3. Walking « Thekambattu Says:

    […] monthly 3 litres of kerosene. And good (relatively speaking) roads have inexorably divided the have-bikes from the have-nots. That many youngsters are putting on weight, is something that will have an impact on public health […]

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