If you like to work yourself at an obstacle course, welcome to Menaka.
Hop across the wobbly and uneven footpath slabs, jump over the puddle, weave yourself around the knickknacks spread out on the footpaths, duck the beach umbrellas of vendors and dart across the road to challenge the vehicles charging at you.
The nearly a kilometre-long stretch starting from the south end at the Kerala Chamber building to the Market Canal Bridge is perhaps one of the most challenging areas in the city for pedestrians
There is some space on the footpath on the eastern side of the road. But, it has been grabbed by the haphazardly parked vehicles, especially two-wheelers. It also forces buses steering towards Menaka to stop in the middle of the road. Result: parade-slow traffic during rush hours.
Even those who manage to get a foothold on the pavement have to zigzag through the islands of people crowded around vendors on footpaths.
At places, the zebra lines have been washed away. So the street-smart dart-stop-dart across the road while the not-so-smart Kochiites wait bewildered on the kerb praying for the vehicle flow to ease. Over the time, when the hapless citizens build into a crowd, they get emboldened enough to cross the road.
No policemen are seen around to help pedestrians cross the road. Mothers with kids straddling across their hips, and old men and women grab the brief lull in the flow of vehicles to cross over.
Further down the road, the footpath bordering the walls of a women’s college gets scrawny. No two persons can walk past each other without banging the shoulders. So the thick-skinned have the right of the way while the other steps down to the road and climb back again.