Wednesday, October 17, 2007

zen and the philosophy of traffic signalling

my daily commute to work (by rickshaw, if you haven't been following my blog) involves 4 to 6 traffic signals, depending on how many shortcuts i end up taking.

the first of them has a very distinctive feature though: it inspires disobedience.

that's right, it's one of the least obeyed traffic signals i've ever seen. on any given day, at any given red light, atleast one vehicle jumps the light. on bad days, only one vehicle jumps the light. on good days you'll find 5-10 vehicles merrily ignoring the red.

on one super-bonus-free-for-all day around 50 vehicles (in fact, every single vehicle that was in front of my rickshaw on the road) decided to plow straight through the red light without even slowing down. i sorely missed having a camera-phone at the time - it would have been quite a sight if captured on video :D

strangely enough, the disobedience isn't even universal - it only applies to vehicles traveling north-south, and in the morning. i've noticed it at all times between 8:30am (when the signal is switched on) and 9:20am (which is about the latest time i can pass that signal and not be late for work). i'm still in the honeymoon period of my job and don't want to start turning up late yet, so later timings will have to wait atleast a couple of months :P

still, the signal is always obeyed in the evening, and the disobedience is pretty much limited to that one direction only. there were a few exceptions, but i guess they usually get deterred by the stream of signal breakers in that one direction and would rather forfeit their right of way in exchange for being alive and undented (undented is *not* the opposite of indented, despite what it mysteriously seems like to my rather limited brain :P).

most interesting of all, i've even seen traffic cops break that signal, surrounded by a horde of non-cop vehicles that they apparently couldn't care less about. hmmm.

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