Left or right
The rule book specifies that one should overtake from the right. But if the habits of the motorists in the Capital are anything to go by, overtaking from left seems to be the norm.
But while there may be many who are "at ease" with overtaking from the left frequently, several other motorists are actually forced to overtake from the wrong side.
A fairly large number of motorists first take to the right lane and then begin driving at a comfortable speed forcing many behind them to break the rule. For these drivers, even fierce honking is of no help. Sometimes, they even go further right to indicate that the person could overtake from left. In the night, using dipper proves equally futile. For that matter, many a times the drivers in the right lane do not even seem to acknowledge various indications given by the motorist right behind him.
One of the possible reasons for the eagerness of the drivers to take to the right lane is a certain degree of comfort the motorists get while driving in this particular lane. The left lane is for the buses and slow moving vehicles and the motorists would not prefer driving in that lane. The middle lane is mostly crowded with two-wheelers which have a path all their own. Also, in this lane, the driver has to take care of the traffic on both sides. In the right lane, however, the driver does not have to worry about anything on his right. Barring, of course, people who suddenly jump out from the central verge or stray cattle cooling their heels.
Without doubt, this only adds to the chaos on roads that are busy in any case. This also creates confusion that often leads to accidents. However, with not much space on the roads to constantly keep manoeuvring the vehicle from one lane to the other, this problem is probably going to persist. Perhaps, the only way out could be a little patience on the part of the motorists intending to overtake slow moving four-wheeler vehicles in the right lane.
"Bedu pako man"
By publishing a book on its former Executive Director Mohan Upreti, the National School of Drama has made a valuable effort to conserve the memories and works of an artist who kept the traditional folk dances and songs of the Kumaon region of Uttaranchal alive among the residents of the Himalayan State living in the Capital.
Written by drama critic Diwan Singh Bajeli, the book -- Mohan Upreti: The Man and his Art -- was released by one of Upreti's close associate and eminent economist and former chairman of NSD Prof. P.C. Joshi here last week. He shared his memories about the artist who made the famous Kumaoni folk song -- "bedu pako bara masa" -- popular not only in India but also abroad. "After enjoying his performance, first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had began calling him "bedu pako man", said Prof. Joshi.
Popularly known as Mohanda, he set up "Parvatiya Kala Kendra" in the Capital in 1968 that mainly staged plays and did dance and musical performances based on folklores and plays set in Uttaranchal. And for three decades his group remained very popular among Kumaoni community in the Capital.
Also known as a pioneer of Indian theatre music, while working in the NSD, Upreti gave several new compositions to the world of theatre and has left an indelible mark as an artist and a humanist. The book is the first comprehensive work on Upreti, who died in Delhi in 1997. One of the highlights of the book is that it has some of the most popular folk songs of Kumaon.
While frequent instances of Delhi police personnel caught by anti-corruption staff while accepting illegal gratification show that many in khaki do not leave an opportunity to make a quick buck, some of the residents too have developed a knack of coming up with their own solutions for overcoming the malaise. Be it calling up their own in the police force or simply bluffing about their "contacts", residents have also become street-smart in dealing with the corrupt among the police personnel.
One fine morning, a friend was getting his water pipeline repaired in Central Delhi when two police personnel passing by the area enquired from him why he was getting the road dug. They asked the friend if he had obtained permission before getting the water pipeline fixed.
Not knowing that he was required to take such permission, the friend consulted a neighbour standing nearby.
Suspecting that the police personnel were looking for an opportunity to make some quick buck, the neighbour advised him to drop the name of an area politician. The friend did the same and was pleasantly surprised to see that the formula worked pretty well. Soon after they were told that the area politician had been informed about it, the two police personnel quietly left the place.
Devesh K. Pandey