Thursday, June 28, 2012

The true definition of Traffic signals in Pune

Come school, and we were taught the meanings of the colors on the traffic signal. It was basic and simple.

Red : Stop
Green: Proceed
Amber: Prepare to stop
(Courtesy google) The School version
Come Pune, and you drive for 100 meters and then bam. It hits you. It hits you, how your parents were cheated out of their money by the schools. None of those bookish terms and traffic rules applied to the Punekars and this budding city. Because the city had made some of their own! Astonishingly everybody from the school kids, to professionals, to old kakas, to aunties and to the traffic police men are aware of these special rules, and abide by them no matter what. And if fate feels like it and you land up on the roads in Pune, don't be surprised with yourself. It would just be a matter of days, before you also start following the special rules, while the school rules are busy escaping your memory. Adaption; remember from science in school? At least, something they taught was right!

Well ok, so before I explain the rules, here are few characteristics.
They are tough to follow and it all comes down to Darwin's theory. The survival of the fittest.
They are accidentally dangerous and scary. But darr ke agge jeet hain
And most importantly they are dynamic, prone to change as per your vehicle position in the signal. But again isn't changing constant?

And now the rules! Check your vehicle position and apply wherever applicable please.

If you are on the front line and the signal has/is :
Just turned green: Try to ignore it first, and then get the kid out in you. Start and stop your vehicle, you know, just for fun!
Green with a timer of 60 seconds: Admire all the pretty girls' figures on their scooters and activas. (Of course you can't see their faces!! Duh, it is a crime to drive a 2 wheeler without a head and face scarf if you are a girl in Pune). Ensure the speed is nothing above 20kms/hr.
Green with a timer of 30 seconds: Continue the admiration, and keep the speed below 30kms/hr. Please practice the combo before the real test. Also don’t forget to catch the abuses of those behind you. Bask in them but act nonchalant.
Green with a timer of 10 seconds: Ok enough of goffeying up. Chuck the gals, accelerate the vehicles to a good 60kms/hr. Ensure your bikes and cars are well serviced, to make this hyperbole (or is it parabola?) acceleration from 20-30 to 60-70 kms/hr in 10 seconds.
Amber: Drive with full gusto and a speed of 80km/hr. Focus and dedication are of utmost important here. Applying the brakes on the sight of an oncoming vehicle from the opposite direction or on the sound of a police whistle is a sin and looked down upon.
Red: Keep up the speed of 80kms/hr till a vehicle almost hits you. Ensure you are well conversant with the tactics of twisting and gliding styles of bike riding. If in a car, maintain a ice cold stare on your face and act as if you are king of the world and you will glide through the mess(which by the way you just created).
(Courtesy google) The Pune Version
Now if you are behind 5-6 front line vehicles and the signal has/is:
Just turned green:  Practice your tabla skills on the horns. This is to ensure people know, you want to get out of the signal even if you have five to six vehicles ahead of you. And to ensure, even if everyone in front of you has noticed the green light, you want to pretend to be the only intelligent one who has.
Green with timer of 60 seconds:  Abuse to your heart's content at the vehicles ahead of you.
Green with timer of 30 seconds: Continue the abuse. Also increase your vocab by listening to the vehicles next to you, and put that to use immediately.
Green with timer of 10 seconds: Don't panic. You are destined to cross the signal and you will. Never lose hope.
Amber: Ok, you can lose hope now.
Red: Time is money. Start revising your abuses.

2 signals, one for right and one for straight and:
If you want to turn right: Ensure you place yourself on the leftmost lane of the road. As soon as the signal for Straight goes green, start your indicator for right and block the entire road. Guilt and remorse on the face will make you lose your brownie points.
Keep going right, because you know, indicator to diya tha maine!
If you want to go straight: Ensure you place yourself on the rightmost lane of the road. As soon as the signal for the right turn goes green, smirk blissfully and don’t budge an inch. All the cars behind you who want to turn right, will honk and cringe and abuse, and of course all that would be music to you. Because jo bhi ho, if I can’t go, the world can’t go!

Other rules which are not on a signal but apply to the road!
If you see a 2 wheeler woman driver, with her feet touching the ground from both the sides of the activa, that's allowed. Because her feet don’t reach the ground and Oh, she still wants to drive an activa. The entire journey has to be and will completed, with both foot firmly dragged along the road.

If you see a woman on an activa, who has just hit an indica from the behind, but is just pulling her bike back and driving away, then that's allowed. No matter who strikes whom, the woman cannot be at fault.

If you are taking a reverse which will just take 10 seconds, and you have couple of more cars patiently waiting for you to finish, 4-5 two wheelers will still trying to zoom past from the rear, making you also halt your backward journey, but then that's allowed. Two wheelers are always busy even though they would get home and just flop onto a huge sofa.

And lastly, if you see a two wheeler stop right on the middle of the road, because he has to take an important(?) call, that's allowed. Because doesn't matter if you jam right into him, he would prefer that, than to face the GF's enquiry commission.

So people, next time you hit the road in Pune, you know what to do and how not to react. Punekars are rigid. Any attempt to modify these rules will not be entertained. Because you Do What the Punekars do when in Pune. Till then, drive safe :-)