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Straight Drive
By Vasu Ramanujam   

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Can we humans learn a lesson or two about traffic sense from the other inhabitants of Planet Earth?

The sun has moved on to cast his light and give his warmth to other places and peoples on the planet. The faint light of twilight is further dimmed by the thick fumes hanging ominously low over the city. The birds are chirping away continuously as if to say “good night” to each and every other bird around.

The screeching of brakes and the complaining tone of the horns indicate people are angrily making their way home. From a distance the road looks like two railway trains crossing each other endlessly, with one showing glaring headlights all the time, and the other showing taillights and brake lights intermittently. A thought crosses my mind as to why people cannot all live in one place and work in one other place, so everyone is going in one direction and there is no need to have traffic intersections, traffic signals, and the like. Also, the entire width of the roads can be used for traffic moving in one direction, making it a much smoother flow.

As this thought crosses my mind, I see the vampire bats. These bats set off at dusk from the Pune University Botanical Garden area to somewhere along the Mula river (How I wish I could fly with them and find out where they go!) for the night. The first ones are probably the navigators, who over time have keenly honed their sense of direction and location. They seem to know when to start and where to go. They are followed by the whole colony of bats. For what seems like eternity, the dull twilight sky is darkened by this dark “cloud” of bats heading along the river to that some place where they will probably feed on insects all night. At dawn, they all return along the same path to where they hang upside down all day – the Pune University Botanical Garden. In spite of the large numbers, they never seem to collide into each other, nor do they display any anger at each other. They all move at the same pace, and seem to respect the space of each other. In terms of traffic sense, they seem to be more evolved than my human friends.

Cut to the roads and the chaos. The same road is used by stray dogs, cattle, pedestrians, two-wheelers, three-wheelers, four-wheelers, and the much larger buses and trucks. Occasionally they touch each other or bump into each other, causing pain and anger to the human beings directly affected, and causing delays to everyone else. The FM Radio Channels are happy with this situation since it gives them a captive audience that is forced to listen to dull and boring RJs (with the odd exception, of course!). We end up spending far too much time on the roads than is needed, consuming far too much fossil fuel than the Earth can afford, and making far too many enemies.

Time for some batting practice?



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