Those figures are the distance in kilometers from my place to my previous office in Cuffe Parade and current one in Andheri. Which distance would you prefer to travel daily? Obviously 14, What a stupid question to ask?

Stupid question!!! Not after encountering the Mumbai traffic woes on the Western Express Highway! On my way to office today by the company bus, I got stuck in bad traffic jam,at Kandivali East, near the Mahindra Office. In the morning, it usually does not take more than 45 minutes from Borivali to Andheri via the Western Express Highway and the new Jogeshwari- Vikhroli Link road. I do not know why the clog happened, but as and when after a wait of 40 minutes on the stretch we got near the junction right in front of the Mahindra office, I was stunned.

There was no signal at the junction which allows a free right turn from the other side of the highway. There is no traffic policeman stationed there to regulate the flow of traffic, knowing it is a heavy traffic road. Today there was one, who I presume must’ve come only after hearing about the jam.

Surprisingly instead of allowing traffic to flow on either side at regular intervals he simply held up the traffic on the main highway flowing towards Andheri and allowed the vehicles to take the right turn towards the Mahindra office. The drivers refused to stop later and kept flowing in and as a result we were held up even longer and that caused the clog to aggravate further.

Later, it was appalling but also heartening was to see a few people get down from the buses ( a majority of them traveling to the various offices located in Andheri) and regulate the traffic flow, eventually leading us to get out of the jam in few minutes.

The site was appalling cause in a city like Mumbai which is so heavily congested, the traffic controllers apparently haven’t done their homework on congestion points and appoint more than one traffic policeman to control and regulate the flow there. This junction has been existing without a signal for long now and somehow no one has bothered to install the much needed signal there.

What’s more, the people who tried to regulate the flow, received a hell lot of abuses from the auto-drivers and other car owners trying to get to the Mahindra office way. A person even drove his car on the wrong side. This on a highway, when a policeman is around! Not one person bothered to stop and let the other vehicles pass towards Andheri, showing a complete disregard for other’s time. Each just wanted to get out of the way, come what may, without bothering how much of a discomfort it will cause to the already distressed travelers. How self-involved are we getting?

A little bit of understanding and co-operation shown and the traffic could’ve got sorted out in few minutes. The ‘I wanna be the first one to get out of here’ attitude added to the congestion getting worsened.

The site was heartening cause a few sane people took it up as their responsibility to come ahead and sort the traffic problem. They either wanted to help the sole policeman there or realised that he is doing a shoddy job so might as well teach him a few lessons. Maybe he learnt a few things from them. Or maybe, they wanted to be the ones to get out of there asap. Whatever the reason, their timely intrusion did save everyone a great deal of time and torture of being in the same place for 1 hour.

The western express highway that stretches from Bandra to Borivali is a highly populated one and the traffic jams are unbearable. I once tried to take my company bus in the evening, thinking it’s highly comfortable and it took me two hours to get home!! I would get home faster form Cuffe Parade to Borivali! I’d prefer the travel to Churchgate any day to the traffic horrors that one faces while traveling to Andheri!

The roads are being expanded, places all over have been dug up, there are slums all along the highway, and the dirt is unimaginable. It is indeed a pitiable state. What rehabilitation and construction is the BMC/Maharashtra govt. talking about? I’m dreading the travel in the monsoon to work. There are lots of places where water is gonna get clogged, making life impossible. How are we gonna rectify this? No one has the answers, but everyone to blame! God save the Mumbaikar!

More on the cleanliness/hygiene/civic sense later. That will make up for another blog chapter. I also happened to travel by the new boogie in the local train. Definitely thumbs up, it’s stylish, the stainless steel look is great, it’s spacious , more airy, seats are better and the handles comfortable! Problem is, the railway authorities are trying level best to lift the standard of daily travel in Mumbai, how responsible will we Mumbaikars be in maintaining it? Think about it…..