I read an interesting thing the other day. A major Psychologist has opined that you are more-likely to commit suicide if your situation cannot be attributed to anybody/anything else, but yourself. It’s a pity that being a Kolkatan commuter gives you a similar feeling of frustration, while being completely devoid of self-pity. While Kolkata claims to be a Tier 1 city, featuring in the atlas as a Megapolis, the traffic system in the city is pathetic, and, the situation is worsening every day. It is very difficult to avail a Taxi, and as Pujas are drawing near, the circumstance is only going to worsen. I am absolutely clueless why Taxi-drivers consistently refuse to serve customers. There was once a time when they would at least negotiate for a higher pay, now they do not even bother to wait to hear. Taxi refusal rates are at an all-time high these days. I can’t blame the government or the authorities for that. I am not even sure what is plaguing the city’s traffic condition.
The Yellow taxis are a striking feature of this Erstwhile Colonial City. The Victorian roads are dominated by the Hindusthan Motors’ magnum opus, Ambassador. Its name is ironical in many folds. Not only is it a sole-representative of its manufacturer’s masterpiece, it is also a grandsire of the last league of hulking World War II style designed cars. It’s a dying breed of long-expired, much diminished, clangourous mega-machines, which mimes the worn-out denuded slothful unenergetic Kolkata roads.
The influx of the new cab solutions have brought about a much required respite for commuters. However, with demand being many folds of the supply, much remains to be desired. And, these mushrooming cab services are not dependable, to say the least. They charge multiple times of normal rates at most normal hours, they assure you a cab in less than 20 mins while in reality they would only arrive after half an hour. The cabs are scanty in number and odds are that hundreds of commuters are searching for this cab just as you, so, it’s a probabilistic game of luck, no more unbiased than the good old coin flip. So, while I struggle to catch hold of a taxi, I shudder at the image of having to cling on a shabby smelly claustrophobic bus to travel. The Britishers must have loved us well, for they ensured that they left behind some legacy which would continue to remind us of them, even for wrong reasons. Like the narrow roads of the areas dwelled by the natives. With democracy sweeping over the tyranny, not much improvement is noticeable. Britishers had undermined the natives, never believing that we could own so many vehicles, grow so much in number, and require so much transport. Hence, the pity state.