Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bump! There It Is!

Right outside my office is the main road - the main road that leads to a highly congested commercial area. The very same road has seen heavy reparation work in the 18 months that I have been here. In spite of the repair work, which also involved raising the level of the road almost 12-inches, the road still looks like it has never been tended to. Actually, a lot of the roads in Mumbai look like asteroid hot spots...they play the part of natural speed breakers, slowing cars and buses to a halt, forcing every motorist to traverse over them (or around them) ever so gingerly, so as to scrape the underside of their precious vehicle.

This road, which plays the lead role in my post today, was initially made of tar. The government decided that concrete is a more durable and reliable option. After most of the roads were stripped and topped with concrete, the government started paving the road with cobblestones (paving bricks). I have learned that if this process is not carried out properly the road can become very uneven and literally split apart.
This road is part concrete and part cobbled leading to a star crossed situation. A metro is being built over this road too. It will run along the middle of this road, meaning more construction work, more barricades, more pollution, more traffic...and yes, a narrower and congested road.
Add to this scene, tracks of sunken earth popularly referred to as potholes. But potholes seems to be a mild term to use to refer to these crater-like depressions. A result of shoddy work and second rate materials, these depressions are guaranteed to rattle you to the bone, if caught unawares. But then some wise being said, life is full of ups and downs...I guess the reference was to the roads and not life as such.
(The pictures below, briefly illustrate the plight of the road. The "hole" on the right, used to be a huge crater that formed during heavy rains. It was covered with debris and made matters worse. Recently, the authorities dug it up, made a frame, and left it to set. While they were at it, a second depression, similar to the first, formed alongside. So much for the Shanghai dream.)

Mumbai's natural speed breakers. They are capable of breaking much more.

Easy does it...


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