Hamari mange…


Can driving on crowed roads be ever pleasurable? It would drive me to my wit’s end but I have gradually learnt to enjoy it. I am careful about using the right expression. ‘Gradually’ holds significance; it cannot become pleasurable at once.
The 15-km drive from home to office isn’t something I look forward to. At night, when roads are relatively clear, those 15 kilometers appear like 5 km and during a mad rush, they are like, what, 50 km!
When I couldn’t enjoy the drive, it seemed a never-ending journey. Today, hardly do I realise how time passes. I wonder what has made me find peace on the road amid no chances of traffic getting thinner.
A major hurdle during the voyage (!) was the road that has several central and state government offices and more importantly the collectorate. Rallies, processions and morchas not only block the road but lead to chaos. What once used to be something that caused stress has now turned out be a stress buster.
While commuters have to drive a hard bargain to find their way through these agitating activists, you would find them bang in the middle of the road shouting slogans, signing songs and what not! Well, they fight for their rights while passersby struggle to exercise theirs!!
The other day some women (If I am not wrong, some teaching and non-teaching staff) circled my bike. When I requested them to let me go, they said, ‘we need people to rally around us to make our case stronger’. I promised my support and wriggled through. That was the day I started observing individuals.
Every organisation right from labourers, teachers, students, traders to political parties make inroads here. One day when it was just about to rain, I saw some Zilla Parishad school staffers on strike with small students. It was clear from the slogans being raised that it had nothing to do with kids. I sought to know why they were holding kids to ransom. “Schools are closed as we are on strike. What will they do? What’s wrong if they are here?” I didn’t react. I could imagine the plight of poor students ‘backing’ their teachers.
Once it was a group of political workers demanding rollback of water cuts. The traffic was at its peak and every soul was sweating. One gentleman was reading out dry data on water distribution. Every one knew it held no water!
It’s a different story if these rallies, strikes, processions and blocking traffic make a difference to the government offices. Does their voice reach air-conditioned cabins?
One thing is sure, neither weather nor traffic condition fails to deter the morcha spirit. Scorching heat or raining cats and dogs, their voices are strong. They really are ready to face the heat and soak in the spirit.
Now, why has this made driving pleasurable for me? While people like me have to reach somewhere, they too have to reach their goals. Same road but different destinations. This reality has assuaged my anger.
At times, a weird thought crosses my mind. I should go on a strike to demand no rallies on road. Not a bad idea, is it?
-KanChan


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