The traffic in Pondicherry

Last night we went for dinner to a new restaurant in the far end of Mission street, where it touches Bussy Street. It served supposesdly Italian cuisine but actually it is adapted to Indian tastes – much like Indian Chinese cuisine. We came out and before going home wanted to try out the chocolate shop across the street, owned by one of my former students Srinath.

Sadly, it took us almost five minutes to cross this narrow strip of road. It used to be a place some years ago where there was not a soul and one used to feel a bit scared even to walk alone in that area. But last night we felt we were risking our lives to take those ten steps to cross to the other side of the road. There were so many motorcycles that zipped past us, in that badly-lit road, that we had to stop in the middle and wait. The speed at which they were coming at us was frightening. No one wanted to slow down and let the two pedestrians pass.

Thousands of illiterate and semi-educated young men in Pondicherry now own big powerful motorcycles. But no one knows the first thing about how to use the roads. Just having money isn’t going to solve anything. As I said, ignorance is a form of poverty.

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