Kathmandu is a crowd. City traffic is stuck at peak hours. At other times, it is all slow-and-go. Is it merely the result of the population growth? Or is it because more and more vehicles of all shapes, sizes and brands continue to hit the roads?
But there is more to it than meets the average eye. Another culprit is the elaborate conduct of VVIP traffic, as the cops stop the small fry from having motored rides or drives, for full
one hour or more, in preparation. The Indian Supreme Court once ruled that if the government wanted uninterrupted passage for VVIPs, it should provide copters for them. But let the public alone. Foreigners need quite some time to get into the mysterious ways of how our traffic code works. A month or so ago, a Japanese Baba learnt it at some price. Kiyoshi Baba, in Nepal to teach, free of charge, the locals the doâ€™s and donâ€™ts of traffic sense, must have been knocked senseless at New Baneswor, though not physically by a speeding vehicle. For one from a country where discipline and rules are sacred to all, high and low, it must have been a major accident of his life - unforgettable.
An old Nepali saying goes, â€œlaws are made for the weak, not for the strong.â€ So, for our cops, when they are driving, there is only one traffic light, Green; there are never One Ways; and there is no No Parking Area. Red lights, no parking areas, and one ways are meant for the lesser mortals. Kiyoshi Baba had culture shock when he made the mistake of stopping somebody when he was running a light. â€˜Licence! Licence!â€™ he firmly demanded from a DIG of the Armed Police Force. He hadnâ€™t carried a licence, either. There was a heated argument and a scene, as the crowd of the pedestrians clapped and shouted in support of the guest teacher, to no small embarrassment of the biggie. But, in fact, it was Baba who had got really booked, by being sent to a â€˜reserve pool,â€™ and then as the result of a compromise perhaps, he was kindly considered for labour on the footpaths - taking care of jaywalkers. Only Lord Pashupatinath could do something about our traffic mess, if ever He waked up. Until then Baba and other like-minded persons can only sing Sayonara, Sayonara!