I wonder if any of our State officials have tried crossing the Kaloor main road? It takes a heavy dose of courage, a gymnast’s agility and a dancer’s limberness to manure through the frenzied traffic, which I highly doubt any of our officials, traversing in their air-conditioned cars and fattened by years of tax money, possess. Lying sandwiched between the Mathrubhumi Newspaper Office and St. Anthony’s Church on one side and the NUALS University, the Polytechnic Higher Secondary School and a plethora of miscellaneous shops on the other, its very easily one of the most hazardous areas in Kochi city. A very conveniently placed Bus stand, 2 official bus stops and a volley of unofficial ones on either side ensure a constant supply of buses, who vie with each other for passengers and road dominance and in the process scare pedestrians silly with their hit and miss antics.
That apart, their other vehicular brethren have not made pedestrian movement any easier. The constant rush of traffic, amplified by the Tuesday’s mass held at the Church has sent more than one traffic policeman running for his life. There are no medians to speak of, except one at the very beginning of the road where it meets with the Kathrikaddavu road at crossroads, latter to taper of for no reason. No policeman to date has ventured past the tail end of the median. However, there is a footpath in name, which, given Kerala’s erratic monsoons, mostly finds itself in a condition much worse than the most pathetic of gutters. It’s quite hilarious, during the heavy rains, to see people hop and dodge from one foot to the other, unsure, whether they’re next foothold would be the footpath or the gutter!
A constant supply of emails, letters and petitions from the local inhabitants continue to harass the city officials who remain perpetually mum on the subject. The area is shared by at least 5 educational institutions – The Greets Academy School, The Commercial Institute, The National University of Advanced Legal Studies, The Polytechnic Higher Secondary School and the Baalawadi. All five have repeatedly requested for traffic policemen, a zebra crossing, a median or a flyover. The last suggestion was the very first to be discarded on grounds of being impractical. The first request was duly met but the uncontrollable traffic rush sent the poor man packing. The second, strangely enough, had city officials tarring and polishing the road all over again while the third was, in a moment of inspiration, complied with in the most interesting manner. One morning the inhabitants of Kaloor woke up to find the Kaloor road neatly divided by a strategically placed row of neon-orange, cone-like structures. Befuddled pedestrians and bus passengers alike stared, as did bemused drivers, who, unable to discern their purpose, drove carefully through the demarcated road. Thus, for a while peace reigned, traffic became regulated and pedestrians no longer crossed the road worrying about not having made their last will and testament.
It took a maximum of 3 days for drivers to realize that the orange, overgrown clown-caps were temporary medians with which the city officials had very craftily duped them into following traffic rules. The very next morning Kaloor inhabitants woke up to find the orange columns in disarray and the traffic slowly returning to its usual chaotic pace. And inspite of having to once again harass city officials and worry about not having set their affairs to order, pedestrians allow themselves an indulgent grin at the thought of 3 days of artificial serenity imposed on their road…