Welcome to the City of Hyderabad! This post is an introduction to the city roads and driving in it. The Municipal Commission of Hyderabad (MCH) has a new motto- Make Commuting Horrible! And so to honour their latest endeavour of digging up all roads – the main ones as well as the smaller by-lanes – and in response to their resolve of not letting one road stay flat and smooth, I decide to enlighten some of the lesser informed people of this world about how to manoeuvre the roads.
There are three important rules to driving in the city.
1) Activate your third eye. Albeit this one must show you views in the back of your head and also provide you with vision of who is travelling by your side.
Heighten your sixth sense. This comes handy to anticipate the sudden arrival of vehicles and people, from any side who are always in a great hurry. Remember the need for others to get somewhere is always more important than you, your vehicle or their safety. The road belongs to all and never your vehicle. In such a situation, intuition is what guides you safely through the streets.
2) Never leave an inch of space between your vehicle and the previous one. Your bumper must kiss their rear fender. If you leave an inch, a cycle will wean its way in; two inches and a bike will butt in; if its three inches expect the three-wheeled notorious auto. Any bigger gap will invite all other vehicles such as cars, jeeps, tempos and buses to butt their way in.
3) You always need to have ample time at your disposal. If not, then hire a chopper. To travel one kilometre, keep 10 minutes in regular time and 20 minutes in peak time. If you need to travel 5 kilometers, keep 20 minutes during the day and an hour and hf during the evenings. Nights begin only after 11 on the road and in some roads even 12 is peak hour.
And so those who come here remember, Hyderabad, like much of the country, is in a permanent work-in-progress state. To drive here requires courage, strength and a cardiologist-on-call.
On a more serious, negative, irked mode- This city is hurrying to grow. The number of people moving to this city is phenomenal and the influx of all the software and hardware industries has resulted in too many cars, and bikes on the same old roads which are just incapable of carrying all this load. Main roads are being widened and flyovers built. But the shoddy road-repair, pipeline laying work carried out perennially by the PWD has resulted in terrible roads and long traffic jams.
And sadly there doesn’t seem to be any solution to this. There is no doubt some lobby or nexus between the contractors and the PWD. Roads are laid and broken, laid and broken; all in the name of some repair. Ok if you claim that the work is to improve things, then why is it the improvement is never visible?
Inner roads are dug up in week one, patched roughly in by week three, made pukka by week 6 and dug up again by week 10. The roads in my area have been dug up and laid 5 times in the two and half years I have been here. Once it was a pipe line, once it was just to smooth the road, then they laid a cement road which was broken to relay some drainage pipes, and then it was all dug up again and the pipes broken to converted the entire road into a cement one. As it is monsoons result in terrible flooded roads here. And now with the drainage pipes laid for the purpose, gone, this monsoon is going to be worse than the previous ones.
I am so tempted to send this off to the Municipal Commissioner of Hyderabad, Mr. Sanjay Jaju. With a note that goes like,
“Dear Mr. Jaju, The only thing more hilarious than your performance at KBC is the state of Hyderabad roads.”
Yeah. Apparently he walked off KBC with nothing. Yes, I dislike personal digs. But what the hell, all those guys deserve it for making our commutes horrible.