Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Pune bug is catching on.. Help!!!!!

While some cities like Bangalore have been trying to ape the west and trying to follow traffic rules, Pune has no such inclinations. We, proud of our national heritage care two hoots for the traffic rules the angrez has made. We will go the way we want, when we want, however we want (unless there are cops to stop us). But when the cops themselves don't care, why should we? Stop signals? What are they but bindiya on the forehead of some pillar? Wrong side? There is no wrong side, only the side I want to go. India is a free country and I reserve the right to go the way I want to go.

After spending an eternity of 5 years in Bangalore, I had completely started stopping at signals, avoiding wrong sides and all such stupid western ideals. These kept me from knowing the true value of a Punekar, but in the last 4 years, I have started getting closer home to Pune. Finally I have started ignoring some of the basic traffic rules. In the last 10 years, there has been only one rule that was tough to follow, speed limits on empty roads. After spending a majority of the travel time stuck in heavy traffic in the speed range way below 20 KMPH, a speed limit of 40 KMPH on an empty stretch was really difficult to keep. Other than that, I have been safely following all traffic rules, until a few months back, and all credit goes to the awesome Punekar.

In the last 4 years that I have spent in Pune as a matured adult biker, I have learned that if you want to travel in this city, you have to follow only one rule, which was made famous by Limp Bizkit "Its My Way or the Highway", except that there was no highway option available here. Everyone rode the way they wanted. They did not care that when there is a divider separating the lanes going up and down. They road in the direction they wished to, on the side they wished to. It did not matter that the signal was red for them. They just had to go through. If you are a law abiding citizen waiting at the signal, you were honked till you gave them way. How much longer could I avoid this call to  awakening?

Now I have finally started on a journey to be a pukka Punekar. Today I realized that I have broken traffic rules at least 4 times this week. Considering that this is just the third day, this is no mean feat. I realize that I still have a long way to go before I start going through one ways in the opposite direction, before I start riding through the wrong side, before I ignore all red signals and before I start honking at the slightest delay the person in front causes me, I still have got  a lot closer to that level.

Jai Jai Punekar.