One of my first reaction when I got this job was that the drive seems quite easy. And technically it was. I did a test run one day before I started and it seemed like a breeze.
My first day at work, the combination of nerves and absolute determination to not be late on the first day of work, I was early. Super early. Traffic was light and pleasant and it all looked lovely!
Of course, it wasn’t to be so. The honeymoon period ended very soon when I managed to get caught in the morning rush, the very next day. We live in a very small town. It is a tiny place, but a tiny place with loads of cars, and schools.
Daughter’s school is a 10 minute drive away, and work is another 10 minute drive away. Door to door, it shouldn’t take me more than 30 minutes, or a max of 40 minutes assuming a reasonable amount of delays. And that’s what it takes most times on my way back. 40 mins door to door. However, I forgot about the lovely morning rush. The route to daughter’s school has several other schools on the way. Earlier, we used to crawl at these places. There would be lollipop men/women jumping coming into the road to help people cross the road, and a 10 minute drive would sometimes take 30. Now, since we start earlier, we miss the school rush in this part of the route. It still takes us more than 10 minutes but it still is moving traffic.
So I drop daughter off in the breakfast club and rush off, in the vain hope that I might just be able to beat the traffic. It all looks hunky dory until two minutes later the long queue of cars comes into view. There is always a mile long queue of cars trying to get through the roundabout. Now, there is another route I can take, but that’s even worse, as it involves a right turn into an arterial road. That would mean that I would be at the mercy at people coming from both directions, and one thing I’ve learnt about morning rush is that nobody gives way 😦 It’s each for his own. This morning, I let somebody into the queue and he was so delighted that he waved at me a bunch of times. I can totally understand why. I did take that other route, I got into the major road, and then sat there for 30 minutes before it started moving. So I have figured that my current route is the best bet.
So back to my tale. It takes a long while to cross the roundabout, but it is a from a frying pan into a fire sort of experience, because you enter a small, but very busy road. There are some three schools in that small stretch, and there are speed breakers which could put hillocks to shame. Basically, forget about speeding, you can’t even drive above 20 mph on these roads. Given that it is a school(high school) road, you might find the car ahead of you halting suddenly, and teenagers jumping out of it. Thankfully, it doesn’t really impact you, because you are already crawling, so slowing down is no issue at all. What is an issue is teenagers deep in conversation, walking straight on to your path. That’s why, I guess those speed breakers are the size they are! And then of course, there are parked cars on an already narrow lane which means that crossing them is a right pain, especially since both lanes are packed with cars. Sometimes, you just have to wait, patiently until the cars drive away, which they do, since most of them are parents dropping off kids. Thank god for small mercies.
This is a small stretch of the road, but I have to say, it is the most stressful and annoying bit of the road. Once this is cleared, then it is smooth sailing. Almost. I do have to cross one more big roundabout, but it is normally not too bad. And then it’s the car park. It almost feels like an achievement to reach there. Like you’ve been on an obstacle course or something. And if you reach one minute earlier than the previous day, it is definitely cause for celebration 🙂
Despite all this, I reach work in under an hour. So I guess I do have something to be thankful for. And I guess with the traffic situation, being the way it is, fate is probably making me feel right at home – just in case I had been missing Bangalore traffic 🙂