It is ironic indeed. Pune is one of the most-industrialized cities, the smaller brother to one of the largest metropolis and houses the finest and the biggest industries. But there is something that goes beyond the infrastructure that tarnishes its image in less than an instant. For Pune, it is the crazy traffic.
For starters, the traffic signals are mostly disobeyed. The number of two-wheelers are in such abundance (thanks to the lack of public transport) that it is virtually impossible to drive without losing your cool or completing one auto ride without praying to God. People, however educated they might or might not be, seem to have NO sense whatsoever about traffic or roads or any rules or regulations of that sort. Pathetic is the only word that strikes me. In all the places I have lived in so far, Pune’s traffic is perhaps the WORST. The traffic sense here stands right at the bottom of a long list.
I was jolted out of my thoughts one morning on my way to PS as a PMC bus zipped past me at more than 40 kilometers an hour, a mere 4 inches away from my shoulder (with me walking outside the road on a mud-track), motorcyclists regularly brush past despite having the whole road to themselves and the ride in an auto is really very scary since the trucks and buses seem to appear like giant monsters ready to crash into you anytime. People verve, swerve, turn, stop, walk simply anywhere.
The old Mumbai-Pune highway is full of huge circles, squares and crossings and people seldom bother to stop at signals despite them being fully-functional. It makes life for pedestrians like me total hell and the mere task of commuting a real pain. I wonder if people missed out some crucial lessons on road-sense. I just hope someday they get atleast a little of it!
Till then, I will continue to pray everytime I travel in Pune.