Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Indian Way

Now, if you have been reading my previous posts on this blog, you would know that I have made a few unkind remarks about Hyderabad. It really seemed that the whole municipal corporation was digging roads. It was as if someone had told them...ummm...

"Go, Dig!"

Now along with the Nawabi style of driving that everybody follows out here, (“I mean, how dare can I be expected to stop just because of some dumb signal?!”), it makes driving on these roads a unique experience.

But suddenly after the last weekend, the roads are amazing! So something finally did come out of all that digging. I mean, I know it eventually had to, but I thought it would take another six months or something like that. There's this beautiful six lane road from Jubilee Hills to Madhapur and there is another six-laner from Kothaguda Junction to Gachibowli.

But who's going to teach these drivers lane disciple, now that we have some lanes to talk of? My bus driver in the last few days seems to be equally excited and confused, almost like a pet German shepherd let loose on a prairie. Earlier, where his vehicle used to hog the whole road, now he finds himself in a position where he could be overtaken by two other buses, at the same time! So he proceeds to cover all the 3 lanes every 50 m in this stretch.

We are not ready for this, I think. But hey, you guys in Bangalore and Bombay, come and take a look!

This reminded me of another statement made by the man who is now famous for saying, "Thomas, the playing field is being leveled". When asked by Time (I think) about infrastructure bottlenecks in India compared to China (That bogey again) he said this as far as I remember,

"It is a different model. In China, 4 people get together in a room and decide to build a sixteen lane highway from Shanghai to Beijing. In India, we will buy 200 planes, and when these 200 planes keep circling in the air, because there is no space to land, there will be a huge hue and cry and then airports will get modernized and infrastructure gets added. It’s a different model, but it’s a model."

I found that very funny and very true, especially when I notice in the context of all these demolition drives in cities and the hue and cry about airport modernization, all of which is long overdue.

India is an elephant, we will never be like the Asian tigers, but we are taking slow but sure steps forward through the jungle, crushing lots of stuff.

It’s an exciting time.

No comments: