Big teddy bears on highway
In the midst of traffic may-day
Honk, scream beat up your rage
Shut up cuddle, be a sage
So yeah buy,
Don’t ask why
Big teddy bears on highway.
Post the lockdown, we decided to experiment a little. We agreed to catch up at 3-ish at IC Colony, Borivali and then return to Bandra by 7-ish – about 50 kms on my Splendor. Doable – yeah, definitely.
At Borivali flyover, my Splendor slowed down and wobbled behind the traffic. A sign – the voice within whispered. But you are raw, adrenaline and false youth coarse through you, the warrior takes over, you vroom the accelerator – “Charge!”
It took 25 minutes to cross 24 meters. 25 minutes of ‘break-clutch, gear-much’, repeat-such, only to realise this bone-numbing traffic was caused by a Honda Brio giving up the ghost on the flyover. That’s all it had taken.
The traffic kept heating up. The giants lead – BEST buses, BMC dumpers, Volvos – jamming you in on either side. Then you have apna public transport – kali-peelis – taxis and rickshaws, Ola-Uber, Sunday tourists, take your pick. Then the private ones, the Gujjus in MUV’s, Punju’s in SUV’s and SKODA yuppies overtaking Zen uncles. Finally, the testosterone-laden bikers zipping past – master artists or pure madmen, as per your allegiance.
Now you want to turn back – its too late.
Borivali Flyover, Thakur Complex, National Park, Oberoi– you keep ticking off landmarks. The vehicles and views keep at you, relentless. Your spine sighs, hands hurt, toes curl, eyes eye as you weave-dodge-speed-slowdown all at the same time in an endless loop. Adding to the surreal are the signages screaming – Sale! Save! Streaming now …..
Then we see a mirage. Just after the Goregaon flyover is a road-side vendor selling – believe it or not – soft toys. I blinked twice-thrice, even shouted out, “SOFT TOYS!” to my pillion rider just to be sure. They were 5-foot tall Kung-Fu Pandas, Kwola’s, smaller Orangatuns, chimps and what not all lined up, tied up – a giant open shop against the hillock for all to see and buy. This, in a place where vehicles were going bumper to bumper. Yet, the seller was there and people were buying – incredible!
Once we crossed Andheri it got better. The roads, even the vehicles, began to behave. Like some unsaid rule, they all kept moving ahead in a steady stream giving way to sister vehicles, “It’s okay – we all are in it together”.
Eyes burning, body aching, we reached bandstand and took a moment. As we spoke of the ride, we remembered the north-south rule – mornings, don’t go north to south and evenings, no south to north. Now, post half-finished metros, post Aarey being a forest again and post pandemic paranoia, one thing is dead sure – buy yourself that frigging koala bear or that giant panda because the North-South rule is dead. The traffic wars are forever. Amen.