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Pune

For a lil' bit of sense …

Its that time again …
Kind of a been there, done that feeling … deja vu’ …
The Maharashtra Government, on a High Court Order, is making Helmets compulsory from the 1st of Feb.
To cut a long story short, some college students from the Symbiosis college here, had long ago, filed a writ petition … seeing the number of people losing their lives in road accidents …
The High Court had ordered the Govt. to make the helmets compulsory … and they even had done so … for about a week … before some stupid people got together, and got a stay order …
This all happened sometime in 2000 – 2001 … if I remember correctly …
I, for one, am totally for the helmet issue …
I do not take my bike out without a helmet … has become some kind of a compulsion now …
Pune, has the highest number of two wheelers in Asia … and I’d reckon … the whole of the world …
Most of the two wheelers drive rashly … and are prone to accidents …
Its a well established fact, the outcome of studying hundreds of cases … that having a helmet, could have saved a person in an accident from dying, or worse, turning into a vegetable …
Then why do people do this ?
Why can’t they just acknowledge the fact, that the Govt. for once, is doing something right, and they should let them do it …
Every other country in the world, has helmets compulsory for two wheelers …
Then why cannot we implement it here ?
This just shows how dumb can people get …
They have formed an organisation … a 6 word something – Marathi name … which translates as : “The Pune Anti Helmet Order Group”
Everyday, you’ll see a notice in the newspaper, saying that the PAHOG is having a meeting at such and such place … to come up with reasons and protests, as to quash this evil Govt. scheme …
Then there is this smart-ass, who writes to the Editor that …
The helmet law should not be implemented due to the following reasons :
1. A person is responsible for his own safety …
2. When this law is implemented, helmets will become expensive … or cheaper, subsidized stuff will be available …
3. This will be another way in which a policeman will harass people and take bribes …
4. The roads in Pune are so bad that two wheelers do not travel at a speed of more than 20 km-hr … so there will no use of a helmet in an accident …
I mean, people have all the time, and brains in the world to come up with such fantastic excuses, that I feel, its no use protecting their heads with helmets, which is functioning so poorly anyways …
How about doing something constructive for a change ?
When I first started going to college on a bike ( 12th std – Junior College ), I had a Bajaj Sunny ( the so un-dependable ) … and I was forced to wear a helmet by my mom … whom I later thanked profusely when I was involved in an accident … and lived to tell about it …
It was a funny sight …
I was already finding it hard to fit on a Sunny, and on top of that, with a helmet, it must have been a sight to see …
People would often ask me … why did I wear a helmet on a “Sunny” ?
The answer was simple … the guy hitting you from behind, won’t care a damn if you’re on a sunny or a mo-bike …
They are also coming up with the “Pillion needs to wear a helmet law” which I am not totally for … it seems pretty unpractical …
But, if they impose it, I’d be following it happily …
I’ll have to lug an extra helmet … but what the heck ?
On the other hand, it could turn out to be a boon … refusing some not so interesting people a ride … under the pretence of not having a helmet …
But then it can turn both ways …
Feb 1st is the day to watch …
Just have to see whether stupidity again wins this time …

The anatomy of a Traffic Jam …

Pune has the highest number of two wheelers in the whole of Asia …. I think …
And this is very apparent to everyone … for the fact that you just have to step outside your house and if you can see, you will know …
Another reason that we can safely put to the equation is the utterly crappy public transportation system that exists …
Unlike Mumbai, we have no such locals to speak off … Most of them ply only between Pune, Nigdi side and towards Lonawala …
Earlier, we had the six seater … which were so much of a convenience … you could get one from anywhere within 5 minutes and they stoppped anywhere …
They were a pain on the road … but their merits took care of their flaws …
Anyways, the PMT ( Bus Transport ) people got cut off coz everyone preferred the six seaters ( tam tam … tam as from ‘tamatar ) and so, they got a court order and restricted these six seaters to certain routes … … and so, people suffered … and hence, everyone buying bikes makes perfect sense coz its cheaper – spending money on fuel, than going by bus ( Pune buses are the most expensive in the whole of India ) … even if your bike gives you a mileage of 40 kmpl … and besides, who can argue with the added convenience of a bike ?
Anyways, getting back to the point ….
I happened to partake in the festivites of a traffic jam the other day …
Now, I have been in jams … and many of them had nothing to do with traffic … but this jam was special … because it took me 17 whole minutes to travel a distance of 600 mts on a 4 lane road …
This is the maximum amount of time I have spent on any traffic jam … and so, I spent my time, constructively, observing my fellow homo sapiens sweating it out there in the 10 o’ clock sun.
Here is my thesis on traffic jams …
Now, traffic jams are caused due to the following factors :
A. Bad roads
B. Failure of traffic signals
C. Truck / Bus / Car breaking down in the middle of the road
D. Alien invasion
E. Incompetent traffic policemen
F. Avalanche / flash floods / mud slides / earthquakes / volcanoes and other such related natural phenomenon
G. Closure of some important bridge / main connecting roads
In my case, it was due to reasons A, B, E and G.
Normally, if you end up in situations D or F, I’d recommend leaving your vehicle as it is and running for your life …
In a traffic jam, there are the following different kinds of vehicles :
1. Buses / Trucks
These vehicles are the most well behaved … and they maintain their line … one behind another …
These slow moving creatures are the cause of many such jams because of their slow movement … and this causes tremendous heartache to two kinds of people …
(i) The people who are smart enough to juxtapose themselves in such a manner as to be in direct line of sight of their exhaust.
(ii) The miserable souls who end up in buses with deficieny in seats.
2. Cars & Jeeps
These are second to buses & trucks in behaving good. Second due to some ambitious Tom Cruise who thinks that he can probably turn his car 75 degrees to the left and then squeeze it between a bike and a rickshaw …
But mostly, these vehicles are well mannered … travelling at .005 kms / hour … listening to music and chilling out in the AC.
Even the auntys enjoy themselves as all they have to do is to follow the bus in front of them at speeds which they would otherwise be very comfortable in driving …
The blessing in disguise comes in the form of a hot chick sitting in the passenger seat of a car to the right of you … but these phenomenons are very rare and must not be counted upon.
3. The Cyclists
These people are the most confused lot. They are not able to comprehend what the hell they are doing in a traffic jam …
The reason is mainly because they do not come under the traffic category …
Objects coming under the traffic category, usually drive on the left side of the road and wait at traffic signals.
These people will wait for a while … some will get off, put their cycles on their heads and walk out … while the clever ones will get to the footpaths and fly … mocking the other mortals who look enviously at them while they get away …
4. The people on the bikes
Chaos theory has been discovered lately … but what the scientists failed to notice that it has been in practice in Pune ever since the invention of 2 wheelers …
People riding their two wheelers are masters at this form of art …
Any nook, any corner, any small passage available … and they are off …
People on bikes will make different formations automatically … as to move from point A to point B in a traffic jam … and in the process, opening more avenues …
All the members in this community are able to communicate using ESPs and can help each other out without saying a word or even looking at the other person …
5. The Rickshawalas
These people are the biggest bas***** on the roads. This quality is more personified during the course of a traffic jam. Basically, these people have a wrong pre conceived notion that they inherited the roads from their fathers when they started driving the rickshaw …
These are the most selfish and inconsiderate people on the road and will try to jam their big butted rickshaws into any crevice they can find …
Caution is needed against such creatures and no feeling of guilt whatsoever is to be felt when you drive rashly against these creatures …
Conclusion:
In conclusion, I would like to quote the wise old Murphy and remind you fellow human beings of the fundamental three laws of nature :
1. Nothing is as easy as it looks.
2. Everything takes longer than you think.
3. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

College woes ..

I have been living in Pune all my life …
They call it the Oxford of the East … With more than 40 Engineering colleges in Pune and neighbouring areas, hundreds of schools, many Arts, Science, Commerce, Management colleges, I am not surprised …
In fact Pune can boast about having all the colleges that Oxford could ever have …
But what Pune ( and India in general ) lose out in quality, they make up in quantity …
Also read somewhere that India produces more number of movies than any other country ( including the US of A ) … Quality anyone ?
As I can speak for the course that I am pursuing, I can comment on the general situation of the Engineering colleges here … Dismal at best …
Barring a few … numbers which can be counted on your fingers … none have the facilities and infrastructure to speak of as such … my college included … which I will get to a little later …
Colleges here, now that the government has removed the leash, have turned into money making monsters … no surprise there …
The colleges which are considered to be better than the others, have hiked their fees to unprecedented proportions … something that a common man will think twice before getting into …
Merit is out of the window … if you have the money, then we have the degree …
Almost anything that pays goes …
Our batch was lucky enough to be the last batch to get into colleges when the Government was in control of the admissions and fee structure …
Getting back to my college ( this is the fun part ) …
Beggars cannot be choosers … and I was happy to get into this college ( at first anyways ) because of the terrific proximity to my place …
While my other friends were calculating time to reach college in hours, I would proudly boast that on a good day … with the traffic signals off, I could make it in 7 minutes 🙂
The other good thing about this college of mine is the timings … 8 to 3 flat …
That leaves us plenty of time to go home, hog and get a good hour’s siesta.
But thats where all good things in life end …
I hate to be a whiner … but then there is no other alternative … DTE … are you reading this ?
Lets start at the place most important to all the Engineering Colleges …
When I first saw our new computer lab after our new building came up ( we have switched 3 buildings in 2 years already ! ), I was very impressed …
We have about 50 – 60 computers … which run on the Pentium III series of processors …
Now this is all useless if your computers are plagued by worms and virii which thrash the hard disk and it takes almost eons to really get anything done …
Then unlike the other ( better ) colleges, we do not have a Centralised login system … mainly because only 16 computers are connected per network and these are further not connected …
This means lugging a very dubious floppy diskette around … everytime transferring files when we move comps …
Another social activity that we indulge in the college is fighthing over the printer …
Now, our college advocates the use of only dotmatrix printers … Inkjet and lasers are a strict no no …
The printer to student ratio is about 15:1 ( per class ) and the assignment submission to day ratio is 1:1
Add to this the factor that print outs can be taken only during the second half hour break which is common to all the four branches …
This hikes the printer to student ratio to 60:1 … which ultimately further adds to my new study on how chaos helps us students to be better, stronger and more able individuals …
Then add to this – half the comps having defunct floppy drives ( half of these just eat up your floppies ) … the networks being down 90% of the time and this makes you not want to enter our computer lab.
“Ma’am … why can’t be take printouts in the 10 o’ clock break also ?”
“How do you expect us to eat in the Comp Lab then ?”
The other brilliant feature of our college is our library …
It opens up at 8:20 … closes at 2:40 … does not issue books after 2:00 and is closed most of the times during the breaks … beacuse you guessed it right … our staff ALSO eats during the break.
This has resulted in a very unusual phenomenon of the students bunking … and then instead of going out or home or a movie … end up in the library !
On the extra curricular front, zero takes on a whole new meaning …
For playing sports ( I play basketball ), you pay for your petrol to go to remote places to play tournaments, pay for eating there from your own pocket … and to top it all up, get marked absent in the roster …
If you are wondering this is bad enough, imagine out miseries when the teacher asks us to submit assignments the other day irrespective of which part of Timbuktoo we have just returned from …
And when I last heard, other colleges pay their players 30 bucks per match …
We do get colours from the college, but have to get it made from one shop only becuase the self elected sports incharge of our college gets a cut from that shop keeper … no matter if the material used is so shitty that the colors come off before the half time …
The principal naturally is blissfully unaware …
Its okay … we say … atleast something’s better than nothing …
I’d write more … but have written a lot already …
Hey … can I get thrown out for all this ?