The city stumbles every time a long holiday comes. I enjoy such days because the city is empty and traffic snarls are at bay, albeit, only for a few days.
But I am never too fond of what comes after, since that is nothing but abject misery. I am talking about the traffic jam that comes along with thousands of people who return from their hometown back into the metropolis after every holiday weekend.
Everywhere we look, roads will be clogged, a clear indication that once again proves Chennai’s ‘modern’ road system cannot take the ever-increasing number of vehicles.
It is one thing for commuters to see packed roads, but it is a different story for us to see packed roads everywhere. Take the highways, for example: at the most important junctions, even the service lanes will be packed with commuters.
Even platforms are not spared. In this State were literacy rate is around 80 per cent, people drive on the platforms. They could wait for the traffic to clear, but they figured when platforms are used by shopkeepers and vendors as their personal space, they could temporarily use them as make-shift roads.
And then there are the roads. For example, while coming from Sriperumbudur, the roads are so pathetic that when looked at from the top, they might very well look like the site where the first moon landing took place (read filmed).
What is interesting is that people also start to use fuel stations as escape routes. Think about it, the personnel at the station think they are getting customers, instead they realise that ‘customers’ are there to use their premises as escape routes.
At many places people themselves decide that roads are one-way, choking traffic, while in other places, auto drivers take it upon themselves to manage traffic. Eventually though, traffic will clear and people will reach their destination, albeit after a million years. It begs the question as to what the authorities are doing the day before to brace for the impact. In any case, the average Chennaiite has to deal with this no matter what.
Living in Chennai is a bit like having a two-year-old child. You know that you will have a hard time but if someone tries to take the child away, you’ll kill them.