I’ve been pondering for some time, over a good deed (at least I feel so) I did last Monday. It was pouring cats and dogs and as usual I was stuck at the base of a flyover. I splashed around a bit with my feet ,whiling away time, waiting for the vehicles up ahead to move. It was a tedious wait…I guess, close to 30 minutes. Finally, there was some movement and I got a chance to start my bike. It took about 15 minutes to get down from the other side of the flyover. As I was busy cursing my bad luck, a girl (maybe around 23-24 years of age) came up to me , gasping for breath. She asked me if I could drop her till the next big crossing. I didn’t even look at her properly, but asked her to get busy and hop on.She clambered on eagerly and once again, we trundled our way through the enormous traffic jam. she wasn’t much of a talker and though I was, I had to pay more attention to the road, where every possible vehicle was squealing their brakes at regular frequency. Tempers were running high and I was in no mood to bump into anyone and have an altercation.
When we reached the crossing, the girl hopped off and gripping my hand, thanked me profusely. Apparently, she had come walking a very long distance from her office till the flyover, searching for an auto, but given the jam, she had no option but to foot it. By the time she reached the end of the flyover, she was awfully tired and as a last resort she asked me for help. I nodded my head sagely and told her it was no big deal and she was most welcome. After a few more pleasantries, we parted ways.
At least she did. Because I was rooted at the same spot for a few more seconds. Here was a lady thanking me deeply for something I did. And like I told her before, it really wasn’t a big deal. I mean, I had to pass that route anyway. The pillion of my bike was empty. I didn’t go ‘out of my way’ to help her.
And that’s what made me feel guilty of her gratitude. Did I really deserve it? I know I felt rotten after not helping out this kid one time. But it didn’t make me feel happy after I helped out the girl that day. Now don’t get me wrong….I meant that I didn’t have the satisfaction of doing something good. My actions, somehow , felt inconsequential in the scheme of things….
Which makes me wonder, are their different barometers for measuring good and bad?
That is all it takes for this city’s roads to turn into into muddy , pot-holed slush-fests!!
I’ve always wondered why Pune roads were so fragile, that a single shower has the ability to deteriorate entire stretches of it. And I welcomed the concrete roads which replaced the earlier tar ones. Though marginally better, the concrete roads could not defend themselves for more than a couple of years. The result being that this year, even the concrete roads are breaking down with the rain.
The worst part is that monsoons have just started!! Its been a couple of days and the city roads are a mess. No, make that a capital M-E-S-S!!
We have slush filled roadsides, unexpected potholes where earlier there were none, widening chasms between the concrete road and their neighboring tarred stretches, stones,pebbles and sand piles in the middle of the road and what not!! It requires quite a bit of concentration and maneuvering to make one’s way through the traffic. Almost all the vehicles try their best to avoid the holes. God know how deep they are!! If the wheels get stuck in one, it would need a tow-truck to rescue it
I used to earlier wonder why the civic administration does not make good roads. I expressed my concern to the BF who gave me an explanation that made complete sense. Hear this -
Every year, the local government floats tenders for road repairs. There are plenty of contractors who apply for the tender. The contractor who agrees to grease more palms, gets the deal. IF the babus are satisfied, the contractor may be able to bag the deal once again next year. Once a contractor is finalized, the funds are allotted for the repairs. A percentage of the funds again goes to the babu’s pockets and the rest is handed over to the contractor.
Now, this is a vicious circle. If the contractor uses good material and makes a good quality road, there would be no need to repair it the next year. In turn, there would be no tenders passed for it, which in turn would mean that some of the babus would not be avail their annual ‘benefits’. So the contractors use sub-standard material ,do their job and then take their share of the money . If the babus pay them less than what they deserve, the disgruntled contractor might be justified for using poor quality material.
And such it goes……
Each year we may rave and rant about the bad roads, and every year the same cycle repeats itself.
It’s just bad , bad roads out there
* Saw a few foreigners at “Kalyan Bhel” the other day. They were ordering “Pani-puris” and “bhel” as if they were born eating it!! Even the counter guys were surprised to see the authority with which one guy said he wanted “medium-tikhat“. Obviously, they were impressed and were serving these guys with much gusto. The foreigners, on their part, seemed to be enjoying the snacks like nobody’s business. Warmed the cockles of the heart, seriously
* The twins woke up only twice in the night for the last couple of days. Am not going to say anymore lest I jinx myself!!
* Good news all around!! The BF got promoted earlier this year. This month I got promoted. The BIL got his results yesterday, he is now an MBA. I guess Allah is being pretty kind to us all this year. Now if only the good luck with the point above continues !! Bliss