When I say Hyderabad has it all and I enjoy a terrific time here, I meet with quite a few surprised looks. “What say you of the traffic?” they ask. It rocks, I say. When I say it rocks, I mean it rocks, for tell me what other issue has become such a fixation with us? It is traffic that rules all spheres of our life and conversation and has brought about so much understanding, empathy and goodwill amongst us.
Forgive me if my stance seems a bit off-centre, but I maintain that a traffic jam is a phenomenon with a binding influence. Frankly, what other occasion besides cricket binds people together the way a traffic jam does? Anybody (and you could be sure it is everybody) having experienced the pangs of being stuck in a traffic jam is able to sympathise and empathise with another in the same predicament.
The blessings of a traffic jam were revealed unto me, as I sat in my car one day and philosophised on what God could mean by fixing me in one, just a stone’s throw from my home. These things are sent to us for some good purpose, I told myself; no doubt they make us better people! As I set out to ponder on this, I was witness to a truly commendable spirit of comradeship. People from different walks and very different social strata had gathered to take up the job of easing the jam we were packed in. Watching them work I was thrilled to see their amazing cooperation and superbly co-ordinated efforts in coping with the situation. When, I asked myself was the last time I had seen such a seamless bit of work?
Blame a jam on the economic boom, population explosion, lack of civic sense or better still on the autowalla, the fruit vendor or the stray cat, the fact remains, traffic jams are a sign of our times and are here to stay. I offer no justification for them, nor do I have a viable solution to avoiding a jam, leave alone getting out of one, but I truly vouch for their absolute even-handedness. A traffic jam is as much a traffic jam for the loaded as it is for the broke, it is as much a traffic jam for the capitalist as it is for a communist, and as much a jam to a grandmother as it is to her grandchild. Now here is a phenomenon that transcends all boundaries and is plain justice come to life.
No, I wouldn’t go so far as to say let’s work towards creating better and greater traffic jams. All I say is go a bit soft on them, because sometimes they make us do things we wouldn’t have done in a lifetime. They make us better and greater beings, they test our patience, teach us endurance, develop tolerance, help us understand and relate to people and give us a common cause to think and work on.
Even the age-old bitterness between bosses and workers, husbands and wives and hosts and guests is about to grow into a more loving and understand bond, where if one says ‘I was in a jam’ the other will answer ‘I understand’. Been there, done that!
Just as the saying goes, ‘Into each life some rain must fall,’ so goes, ‘Into each life some jam must come’, and if you live in Hyderabad, so it shall!
Zeba can be reached at [email protected].