Saturday, June 25, 2011
The tale of a Cawnporia Traffic Signal
Hello…I am a traffic signal perched high and colorful on a crowded junction in the heart of the industrial town of Kanpur. I call myself the Cawnporia Traffic Signal because I like the anglicized version of my city’s name Cawnpore…which has many traces of the British era like the Elgin Mill and the Hallet hospital…It makes me feel British which also happens to be where my ancestors came down from!
Today I would like to introduce you to the bustling world of Cawnpore. I take pride and shine in my brightest reds when people refer to me as the only signal in Cawnpore town. Yes, it’s lonely up there in this town where I haven’t seen another of my kind in a long time. It seems like the authorities were playing some ridiculous joke by just getting only my poor self. Cruel they are for separating me from my kind, because we signals usually travel in larger numbers. However thanks to the age of communication, and all the angry birds flying around I do get to hear from my brothers across the different parts of the country.
Well, but the sight I get to see daily is surely a rarity. Not many of my brothers in other parts of the country see the kind of action that I am fortunate enough to witness day in and day out.
For starters, the sight of my town is not a pretty one; from where I stand the earth below looks like it just let a quake rip through its surface exposing the nascent earth below to the surface. It is earth mostly with traces of gravel and all dug up as if they were getting farmers to sow seeds here. Well what it should have been is bitumen and tar to make what they call ROADS!
When the rain gods smile it seems like I am the only one smiling along ‘cz I get cleaned up and cool down after being exposed to the scorching heat for months. God save the poor people below. My brothers in Mumbai tell me that they have poor drainage there and so rains are invariably trouble for their people, but I am sure I would win that wager hands down ‘cause I don’t think it can get worse than dear ‘ol Cawnpore. When it drizzles in this tinsel town, it is water, water everywhere - rain water, sewage water all of it! But I sure would love a fresh coat of paint, have been wanting one for such long time now…tired and disgusted I am of all the gory red saliva I get showered with by those darned uniformed men who man my post.
My brothers from other cities tell me how they have all these vehicles travelling away from them on the left side and towards them on their right side ever so meticulously. Somehow I have not yet been able to grasp how that works because I can’t seem to see anything of that sort in my locality. Back in my Cawnpore, all those wheeled buggies seem to charge in from all directions and at times I have cattle also trying to weave through the chaos. But one thing I must acknowledge about my beloved Cawnporians…nobody seems to mind the fact that they are being charged into from all directions…they rub bumpers, exchange scratches but they just carry on without bothering too much…very accommodating they are. I hear from my brothers in Haryana that there such exchanges end up in blows, however there they do end, whereas down south I am told they argue and create a lot of furore in a very sophisticated fashion until one party pays the other! I love Cawnporians!
If I could change one thing about my Cawnporians it would be their fascination for sounding horns. At times it gets very painfully loud. Somehow I get the feeling that in the driving schools from where they have learnt their navigatory skills, they were instructed to use their horns instead of brakes…its worst when people use it instead of their accelerators though.
Well I better get back to flashing my reds and greens…but hold on...if you think my taking time out to welcome you to my little town would have affected the scheme of things here…please…nobody really looks up to me here! Alas!