Open Page

A pothole unplugged

I am the offspring of an illicit relationship between contractor and unscrupulous official, with bad workman acting as the midwife. In the beginning, I was tiny in size. Maybe, the size of a human fist. I was accumulating dust and sometimes an occasional pebble.

Since I was located near the edge of the road, my growth prospects were bright. The tyres of huge trailers that carried heavy loads at night, blessed me copiously and elbowed away whatever resistance I encountered in increasing my presence.

Soon I grew into a full-fledged cavernous pothole and often drew envious glances from my siblings and cousins located near the middle of the road. They were on a measly diet of occasional blessings from two-wheeler and car tyres and hence their growth was pretty stunted.

Drivers of two- and four-wheelers started showing respect by steering away from me. Woe betide a drunk driver who rode his two wheeler on to me — the consequences were more than sobering. I don’t wish to brag, but I must put it on record that I have contributed towards raising the turnover of vehicle service stations, hospitals (especially orthopaedic clinics) and even quacks.

A couple of months later, I encountered my first monsoon. My copious belly stored lots of water and trucks and other heavy vehicles passing over me sprayed off muddy water on unsuspecting and absent-minded passers-by. The monsoons rained fun, my filled-to-the-brim appearance used to deceive motorists (mainly bikers). They used to underestimate my depth, often with disastrous consequences.

Concerned citizens later planted a small branch of a tree on me to warn motorists. I saw it as a well-earned laurel and a badge of honour.

But alas, all good times come with expiry dates. One day after the monsoon got over, I woke up to see the same contractor and the workman surveying my depth and also of my cousins and siblings.

Suspicious, I made discreet enquiries among my fellow potholes and came to know that about a kilometre away, a new bus terminus has come up and some VIP is coming to inaugurate it. And the authorities did not want him to take a bone-rattling ride to the venue.

The workman returned later and started choking me with stones and the bitter tasting tar. After a point of time, I fainted from suffocation.

Next day, I regained a little consciousness and heard a distant rumble of heavy metals. As the rumble drew nearer, I could not comprehend what was happening, but felt that this never-heard-before sound spelled doom. The metallic wheels of the road roller caused excruciating pain as I breathed my last.

PS: A couple of months later, the next generation of potholes started blooming. After all, the wily contractor and the official have to take care of their daily bread.

shajilkumark@gmail.com


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 8:30:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/a-pothole-unplugged/article37137498.ece

Next Story