At the age of 9, when I settled in this city, my first reactions to this city were mixed. The city offered peace and tranquillity mixed with uneasiness and long power cuts. I started to fall in love with the city as times passed, after the death of my father the city embraced our family affectionately, making us feel secure and loved.
15 years later, as I write this blog, a certain kind of sadness grips me. My city has never failed to instill a sense of pride in me, but as days turned into months and years passed by, the state of affairs in Allahabad worsened. The sprawling mansions/bungalows of the city transformed into tall concrete buildings, blossoming gardens were razed to the ground and rows of magnanimous trees were uprooted, all in the name of development.
A city which once was known for its serenity, today holds within itself cacophony of car horns,overflowing drains, littered streets and haphazard development. More than a decade later, driving through the lanes of my city, my eyes never fail to spot heaps of garbage decomposing at side of streets. Driving has always been my passion, but today driving on the streets of Allahabad constantly forces me to give up my passion, reason being the unruly traffic and the over speeding vehicles. Irresponsible attitude of citizens and RTO officials have led to the birth of a breed of drivers who have absolutely no sense of direction and always like to ignore traffic rules. In the past few years, I have witnessed a weird behaviour amongst my fellow Allahabadis, people have started taking pride in breaking traffic rules and driving in a rash manner.
The scenario worsens when a woman is seated behind the steering wheel, their male counterparts like to overtake their vehicles and make sure they are scared out of their wits. If one gets past, the unruly traffic of the city, animals loitering freely on the streets add to the ordeal. The cows and buffaloes especially like to sit right in the middle of the street, often working as a divider between the incoming and outgoing traffic. The road that runs along the science faculty of the University of Allahabad has an astonishingly bigger population of cows who like to sit on the road, making the driving on that particular street resemble that of a video game.
Coming to the heart of Allahabad, Civil Lines, the traffic in this part of the city has gone from bad to worse, impatient drivers, overenthusiastic youngsters, unruly bikers and haphazard parking makes this place, one of the most frustrating experiences of the day. With the installation of traffic lights in some parts of the city, the traffic conditions have stabilised a little bit, but people are still unaware of lane driving and when to stop to their vehicle. Proper training sessions will help the citizens of Allahabad understand how important it is to follow traffic rules. Also some traffic lights are installed at such high elevation that it becomes difficult for drivers to look at them. Another common behavioural trait noticed amongst drivers of Allahabad is their short temper and impatience.
To sum it up all – hurling abuses, over taking from the wrong side, stopping abruptly, minimal use of indicators, using cell phones while driving, rash driving, over speeding, erratic cutting in, loss of empathy for pedestrians and rickshaw pullers are just to name a few common traits of a driver in Allahabad. Let us hope that in the near future, drivers and traffic conditions of Allahabad will improve making the city once again peaceful and beautiful. In the end, I would like to mention that though my city is currently going through a phase of metamorphosis and there are problems faces by each one of us. My love for Allahabad has never diminished and never will. I am and will be forever a very proud Allahabadi.
Note: This post is a part of our #MyCityMyStory series. To check out more posts from this series, please click here.