Sound of Music. It is one of the best movies ever made, and one of the most-watched movies (by me) of all time, simply because my mother loves it and the family has to watch whatever she watches. And they say the world is male-dominated.
It has this super song that’s been made fun of in Friends and Top Gear, called “Hills are alive” and one line goes so :
“The hills are alive with the sound of music”
In Top Gear, it goes “The hills are alive with the sound of VRRRUMM VRRRUMMM VRUUMM” but you won’t know how cool that sounds till you see and hear it.
In Mumbai, I can guarantee that it’ll go so :
“The city is alive with the sound of breaking backs and cuss words”
I don’t own a car or a bike. Wherever I decide to go, I travel by train and walk. For shorter distances, I take the rick. This implies that I don’t use the road much, and whenever I do, it’s just for short distances.
Even these short distances are sometimes pockmarked with the result of irregularities in the consistency and composition of the cement layer (Editors translation : lots and lots of potholes).
That is, unless you live in a street occupied by an MLA/MP/retired (or active) actor/sportsperson/other icons.Those roads are smooth as chocolate falling on honey and you’ll be surprised if you don’t slip and fall on a perfectly normal summer day.
Since I am Indian, I’ve gotten used to the regular vibrations whatever vehicle I’m in goes through – “It’s just potholes. They’re everywhere. Not a biggie.”
Of course that morphs into green-rage when I realize the guy manning the auto is directly driving into the potholes for reasons not clear to me. Is he trying to kill me? Is he trying to destroy his rickshaw, because I just fell off the seat with the seat? What are you doing man? There’s 40 cm of smooth road there, use that !
But of course, this is something most of us take for granted, just like most Americans take their smooth roads and empty country for granted. It’s just..a part of life.
This “part of life” bullshit vanishes when you live in Mumbai (especially around the monsoons). Firstly, Mumbai has a long monsoon. It begins, coughing and sputtering, in June and its mostly raining in July and August. It ends, coughing and sputtering, in September and October. So it’s actually wet for 4 months of the year.
This year it’s no different, presumably due to global warming. However, the roads are different. Only in the sense they’re much much much worse. I’ll put it this way – if you can find a stretch of road not used by icons/politicians, that is smooth, I’ll get you a KFC Crusher.
So remember earlier where I mentioned “It’s just…biggie.“? That’s not true now. Now, it’s more : “ITS JUST POTHOLES. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE. IM GOING TO BUY A GUN AND SHOOT MY CAR NOW”
It’s appallingly bad. I can agree that some roads will always be bad. There might be a stray pebble, which will create a small hole when vehicles run over it. This displaces more pebbles, which creates a never-ending crater that sucks up all cars and eventually the city itself. This is what happens right?
Even if that’s not true, roads expand and contract due to heat and cold, so naturally they’ll crack and break as the seasons change. So yeah, some roads will have potholes and cracks.
In Mumbai, that’s the case everywhere. I mean everywhere. You’d normally expect flyovers to be smooth, correct? Because each of the segments of the flyover is already laid with concrete before they’re connected to each other?
Wrong. Even flyovers (on roads like the Eastern Express Highway), even newly built flyovers, have potholes on them. I’m just curious to know what’ll happen if those potholes are not filled up. Does the hole keep growing until cars hilariously drive on them and fall on the street below? That’ll be a treat.
Also, I’m curious to know just how these potholes even appear. What kind of crap do they use to build roads? Papermache? Bedsheets?
Are they even building roads? I have a gut feeling all these “contractors” ganged up with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to build potholes, not roads. And right now, they’re laughing at all those idiots in the Premier Padminis and Jaguar XF’s alike, while they chopper between their homes and offices.
It’s just such a huge ripoff. Seriously, it’s like there’s 9 or so groups of people who are responsible for building and maintaining all roads in Mumbai. Just 9 (we’ll assume) – so it’s a cartel of “road builders”. They’ve been building roads since the 90’s and now it’s just becoming an absolute nightmare to drive in. Forgetting about sidewalks (none exist where necessary), you can imagine what a normal, harmless pedestrian like me goes through :
1. Vehicle avoids pothole, comes at me.
2. I avoid vehicle, jump into sewer and smell like sewer for 3 weeks. Then I go out again.
3. Repeat 1 and 2.
It’s just becoming stupid. Mumbai has a humongous volume of vehicles, so if anything should be upto scratch, its the roads. Instead, the roads suck. This irritates the motorists who already suck because of the heat and the traffic and all those annoying and squishy pedestrians, so people like me tend to die, because humans can’t fly yet.
God, if you read the blog, this is a gross oversight by you. Humans can’t fly? Really?
And it looks like nexuses of powerful retards are making money off just about anything : streetlights (Shelia Dikshit’s Delhi), sand (everywhere and WHY? It’s fucking sand), and now poor quality roads.
Seriously, if so much money can to be made by enterprising criminals off ridiculous things, then India is screwed forever and ever. They’ll just make money off something else once and if all this is checked. Like the sale of pillows, probably.
I’m not really sure of how it is in Chennai (I know it won’t be any different) but if you put up a list of +1 million Indian cities with worst roads, Mumbai is going to be right up there at the top (for once), comfortably beating other cities.
And I also suspect another group who has reason to be in on this nexus, especially right now :