It is natural to love and get attached to people and places. My university, Jamia Millia Islamia is the loveliest place I have ever been in, and unsurprisingly, I have a great affinity towards the institution.
The numerous buildings are surrounded by gardens and well trimmed plants. The guards, in perfect khaki uniforms, man the gates. There is this road that divides the university campus into two, but it doesn’t stop staff and students from either side going over to the other; much like Germans when the Wall came down. This, however, happens every single day, unlike in Berlin.
But what is annoying is the incessant honking of passing vehicles all through the day. An average motorcycle horn produces 85 decibels of noise, so a mini traffic jam can multiply this noise many times over. The honking continues till the road clears and the vehicle is out of sight.
The road that connects Jamia to its surrounding areas has two major hospitals and a school for the differently-abled. Despite this fact, vehicles are driven, rather flown, without a care in the world. As there are no subway or foot bridges on this road, not even traffic signals to help pedestrians cross, traffic is frequently obstructed. To my utter disgust, often Romeos choose to honk their horns for no apparent reason except they happen to see a girl.
The fuel to the fire is added by people who travel on the wrong side in order to bypass the jam.
Oh, and the Delhi Metro is here which has made the situation even worse! The ongoing construction is not a pretty sight; roads have been dug up, colourful signs posted everywhere that read ‘Men at Work’. Trees have also been felled, which means no respite from the heat when summer approaches. The ‘Green Delhi’ sign at the nearby bus stop, however, stays on; ‘plant a tree this monsoon’, it reads.
Getting back to the honking, it not only is annoying because of the noise pollution it creates but also rude. It makes no sense to keep honking at traffic signals. They can’t hear you!
There are countries where doing such things can carry a heavy penalty, but not so in India. Honking is not a crime but it is a nuisance which can turn into a bad habit – apart from its intended utility, a person may honk for fun or just to prove his/her presence on the road.
What is odd is that a lot of people who say they hate people who honk for no reason, they themselves honk for no good reason. Recently I happened to be with this particular person, who admitted that he detested people who honked their car horns for no good reason. But then he himself honked all the way from New Friends Colony to Batla House!
If nobody else, the university administration needs to step up and do something to improve the traffic condition for its students who have to take great risks just to cross the street from one side of the campus to the other. This nightmare has to come to an end.