Of a few good men
Contrary to what many might feel, Delhi apparently has not lost its benevolence. The city is still inhabited by some who feel duty-bound to help fellow human beings in distress or dire need of help.
The other day, a friend found herself quite helpless when her car refused to start.
It was late in the evening when, taking her car out of the parking lot, she realised that she had inadvertently left her headlights on while parking the vehicle in the morning. Since the battery had got discharged, the car would not start. While she along with two colleagues went about pushing the car on the road in an effort to get it started, two young men happened to pass by on a bicycle.
Seeing the profusely sweating trio, one of them got off the bike and, without uttering a word, began pushing the car. An absolute stranger, he did not hesitate to lend a helping hand when it was needed the most.
Thanks to the help offered by the Good Samaritan, the vehicle started. Expressing her gratitude to the cheerful young stranger who did not think twice before helping out, the friend drove back home thanking her stars for the timely help.
Beating the heat
As the mercury shoots up and soars above normal this summer, the road-users are having a tough time in the Capital. On most of the roads there is little green cover to shield them from the piercing rays of the sun. And therefore, as far as possible, many Delhiites tend to take shelter under overhead rail bridges or elevated metro structures to have some shade near intersections as they wait for the light to turn green.
But this is not as simple as it sounds. Of course, the elevated structures or overhead rail bridges are not constructed keeping in mind the shade they happen to provide to the lucky road-users.
Also, the traffic intersections are not "strategically" positioned so as to facilitate every motorist to avail of the shade.
However, Delhiites always seem to find a way out.
It is a common sight during summers to find a motley group of two-wheeler riders and auto-rickshaw drivers stopping their vehicles beneath one or the other structure and wait for the light to turn green at the intersection that at times may be over 100 metres away. In the process, they block almost half the carriageway.
Moreover, when the light turns green they rev their engines up leading to a round of confusion and "me-before-you" chaos. Of course, the others who are either not so lucky or decide to brave the heat but stop their vehicles only at the intersections, as everybody should do, feel inconvenienced.
It might be understandable for the two-wheeler riders who literally have to bear the bunt of the heat whether they are riding or waiting on the road, but it is amusing to see people driving cars, who are shielded from the sun and can use the air-conditioner if they feel the heat is too much to bear, also following suit!
Drive fails to mend auto-drivers
The Delhi Traffic Police had come down hard on erring auto-rickshaw drivers in the Capital as part of their weeklong drive against violations by three-wheeler drivers. The drivers were pulled up for misbehaviour with commuters, overcharging and refusal to ferry passengers.
One could see the traffic personnel out in the blazing sun stopping auto-rickshaws ahead of busy intersections and checking if any rules were being flouted. But despite the heavy penalties at stake, enthusiastic personnel at work and attempts to popularise the complaint cell numbers for the benefit of commuters, many auto-rickshaw drivers proved it was a tough task to make them fall in line.
Away from the watchful eyes of the traffic police on relatively quieter roads, the drivers refused to let go of their old habits. When a friend approached an auto for a ride to Central Delhi, the driver without a qualm quoted a sum of Rs. 80 for the 12-km journey. When the friend muttered under her breath that the police were on the look-out, the driver retorted: "Are you threatening me?"
Another friend who again mentioned the traffic police's drive to an errant driver only got to see the vehicle zipping past in a jiffy. Maybe all those who think of giving the drivers another chance should just dial the help line numbers instead of trying to make them see reason.