Plebeian versus the blue-blooded
This is a plea from someone whom the high society would call a plebeian. I would like to convey, through your esteemed daily, my earnest request that the stretch of road from the round-about at Mawlai Mawroh, which passes the Meghalaya Police Public School and Golf Links, leading to Polo, be made a NO ENTRY zone. This rather inconvenient request is made in the interest of protecting the leisure, pretence and vanity of the blue bloods in our society and also, as a side note, the safety of peasants and plebeians. We plebeians would often travel through the aforementioned route so as to reach our workplaces, where we have to toil and sweat from Monday to Saturday. We are expected to reach our workplaces on time, and hence we cannot afford to be delayed; for whenever a blue blood decides to ready himself or herself to hit the ball and score some points, all cars plying on the road would have to stop. And why shouldn’t they have to stop?
Recently, I witnessed an agitated plebeian, who when stopped by the assistants, for it was time for a blue blood to swing hard, protested and raced on, presumably to reach his work place on time. Such actions cannot be tolerated! How could this plebeian defy the high and mighty blue bloods? Therefore, I request the powers that be to consider this petition and do the needful as soon as possible, so that we plebes can habituate ourselves with new routes and the blue bloods can enjoy their leisure. It would do a great deal of good if the matter would be handled swiftly and promptly before a blue blood’s blood boils beyond repair, and a plebeian gets a concussion.
Travails of a car owner
Driving has never been easy in Shillong and perhaps it will never be in the future too. Cars are legion, roads are too narrow and to top it all there’s huge shortage of parking places. If one is to reach a destination one has to think seriously about traffic jams and where to park one’s vehicle. Every single day, especially during school hours one is doomed to be caught in a traffic jam. These days to cover a distance of about 3 – 4 kms it is imperative to leave at least one hour before the scheduled time. If it rains, then one hour too seems to be less. No matter how good a driver you may be or how well you are able to maneuver the vehicle, one is sure to face irritation, restlessness, high blood pressure, anxiety etc. before ultimately reaching a destination.
However, the ordeal is not yet over for those who need to find a place to park their vehicles. It is common knowledge that the number of vehicles are on the rise with every passing day while the size of the roads have been the same. As for parking places and parking lots, though quite a few seem to have emerged yet they are not at all sufficient. Take for instance the small parking space at Dhanketi Point. Last week, I drove to Woodland’s Hospital to visit the doctor at the OPD at 10:30 am. There was no empty space at all to park my small car in the hospital premises. So I drove out of Woodland’s Hospital, hoping to find a place to park in the parking lot at Dhanketi Point. But to my dismay, this was not to be because the Parking Lot was packed with vehicles of parents and guardians who had come to pick up their children and wards from school. Fair enough, it is always better to park in a Parking Lot and pay a parking fee rather than literally throw one’s vehicle on the roadside and face the ire of the traffic policemen or worse get one’s car clamped and be penalised. But the point is that in case of urgency and desperate circumstances what does one do?
To continue with my narrative, I actually took 3 rounds of Woodland’s Hospital hoping to find a place to park either at the Hospital premises or the Parking Lot at Dhanketi. With no luck, I drove towards Asom Kristi Kendra and spotted an empty space on the roadside with few vehicles parked there already. I was in such a desperate condition for I had to see the doctor and it was raining cats and dogs. I snugly fitted my car by the roadside. Like the other vehicles parked there, I too parked my car by the sidewalk that would not disrupt the flow of traffic. At the back of my mind, I felt that my car would be clamped. My premonition came true. On my way back to the car, the traffic policeman had just clamped my car, taken pictures of it and was about to take off on his bike. I ran towards him and explained the reason for parking there. He was sympathetic towards me but also said that he had no other alternative as he was simply doing his duty and following orders that have come from higher authorities. He tried to help me by taking a picture of my license and sending me a challan via SMS. He then removed the iron bars and allowed me to go but to pay the fine and collect the receipt.
The point is that the common man is always a helpless, hapless lot. While the traffic police was bound to do his duty we the general public are left in the lurch. May I request the higher-ups who are far removed from ground realities and who do not face traffic jams or have to worry about a place to park, to understand the trials and tribulations that a common man faces day in and day out. Can they be a little considerate and understand that we do not wish to break laws but are forced to do so when we are in dire straits. I definitely do not condone rash driving nor unabashed and indiscriminate parking of vehicles. But if parking one’s vehicle at a place that does not disturb the smooth flow of traffic due to a dearth of parking places can those in authority be a little empathetic towards lesser mortals? Or an even better suggestion would be to provide more parking lots for the good of all.