King Uncle – The traffic saviour
Kasa Kay Mumbai??? Well I am sure you must have helped an old uncle or aunty to cross the road (The most cliché thing you must have ever learned in school is to help an aged person to cross the road :P). But this story is about an senior citizen who helps lots many people cross road everyday.
I travel almost everyday to Dadar on bike like many other, and yes even I jump signals and fail to follow basic traffic rules (Not wearing helmet is on the top of the list). So here is a senior citizen, just like yours and mine grandpa managing traffic at King Circle signal near the Petrol Pump everyday between 5pm to 7pm and help pedestrians to cross the road. Pehle toh laga, yaar yeh hai kaun?? Uncle ko kuch timepass nai hai, isliye he is doing this.
So today I finally managed to park my bike on the side and went to speak to him. I was curious to know.. Boss scene kya hai uncle ka??? Roz roz dekhta hu.. same time pe uncle yahi dikhtey hai…I need to find out. (Actually main bhi full fukat tha..pata nai jaldi ghar jaa ke kya karu? Chalo uncle se baat kar ke thoda timepass ho jayega 😛 )
The following was my conversation with him –
Me – “Hello uncle, can I talk to you for a minute?”
Mr.Subramaniam – “Yes! But you will have to run with me as I cannot stop my work” (while he was making cars and bike stop during the signal and allowing the pedestrians to walk)
Me – “What your name uncle? Where you stay? Are you related to traffic or an NGO?”
Mr.Subramaniam – “ My name is P.S.Subramaniam. I just live in Tambe Building just next to the petrol pump. I am not related to traffic department nor any NGO.”
Me – “So uncle, why are doing this? I have seen you many times managing the traffic in evening and even when it is raining heavily you are still there with an umbrella and doing this work.”
Mr.Subramaniam – “I am nothing special. I am just an ordinary citizen and I am doing my bit to help my city and citizen. I am a retired person , I have consultants many projects for CRZ Department (Costal Regulatory Zone) and used to run a typing institute before that. Now I devote 2 hours everyday in helping people to cross the road. The number of cars and bikes has increased and with that people have forgotten that roads also belong to pedestrians to walk or to cross the roads. ”
Me – “Has any incident made you do this? Like kuch serious hua hai kya?”
Mr.Subramaniam – “No. Nothing like that. I used to come with my grand daughter everyday to this garden. I had always faced a great difficulty in reaching the gates of the garden . There are signals installed at the junctions but none of the cars follow them. They just jump and doesn’t even care that there is a zebra crossing, which has been assigned for people to walk. Many a times I saw elder people and ladies standing for more than 15-20 minutes just to cross the road. So I decided that I would allocate some of my time in at least educating people to stop during signals and let people pass ”
During that time I noticed many of the cars are in full speed and they fail to see their signal is red and when Mr.Subramaniam stands on the zebra crossing and ask them to stop forcefully by showing hand. He would then go and talk to them and urges them to at least check the signals when they are driving. Few apologised and waited till the signal turns green, where as few started arguing. I saw it in front of my eyes, one guy in a Honda city yelling at him asking him “Tu kaun hai be? Mujh ko sikhayega raastey pe gaadi kaisey chalane ka??? Budha pagal ho gaya hai”
Me – “Uncle, how do you deal with such people? Not everybody must be happy when they are asked to stop. How do you respond to them?”
Mr.Subramaniam – “I just ignore them. I am doing my bit to make my city better and educate people about basic traffic rules. But few of them don’t want to accept their mistake or learn. So I simply ignore and keep working. Its not always that people are rude. Many times people say sorry to me, they also thank me for doing such work. Now there are many pedestrians, people in cars and bikes who know me and greet me everyday. Best bus drivers wave me everyday. I feel happy at least few people today are able to understand the basic rules because of me. I feel my contribution is not going waste.
Me – “Uncle what about your safety? I mean what if any car doesn’t stop. You can get injured too? What about that?“
Mr.Subramaniam – “ Many a times people have told me to use a whistle and asked me to stay on the sides of the road only. But I have seen that doesn’t work. People won’t take an effort to see the signal what they will do if I keep whistling. But this way at least they stop and that 60-second signal for people to walk is fruitful. I am doing this for them. They should understand that. The traffic signals are installed not for police officers to collect fines. It is made for us. So that a proper system is maintained which will regulate traffic and the accidents can be prevented.”
Meanwhile, I also saw couple of cars and bikes going on the wrong way in order to reach to the petrol pump. One car narrowly escaped hitting the other car coming from the straight way. It was really scary. Laga ke aaj ek toh accident hoga hi. (Check the video below, you can clearly see this. BTW that car was of some political guy with VIP number and tinted glasses 😛 Aisey log ko hum vote kartey hai 🙁 )
Mr.Subramaniam – “Dekha. These guys can’t even take a small diversion to reach to the petrol pump. They buy cars worth lakhs of rupees and can’t even spend petrol of 2 rupees. There is a simple way, you just have to take a left from king circle towards Matunga station and then take the 1st left which will directly take you to the petrol pump. It won’t take even 2 minutes to reach there. Still they want to go through this wrong way. It is not always fault of the vehicles. People also cross from the wrong side. Zebra crossing is made for crossing then why do you cross from anywhere you want. This obstructs the vehicle and sometimes results in accidents.”
It was a sad but true reality. why don’t people get it? It was a simple solution. Because of this attitude, there are always traffic jams and many a time important services like ambulance and fire trucks has to suffer which many a times proves fatal for the injured person. People don’t even have courtesy to give way to ambulance atleast. I am sure you must have seen videos on youtube that how in foreign countries ambulances are given special treatments and special ways. When the siren is on all other cars moves in the side and make way for them. But here it is useless.
I was very impressed with Mr.Subramaniam and his attitude towards the city. He is doing his bit and contributing without any returns. This was just a story of 1 traffic signal in Mumbai. There might be others too.
A Dhinchak Salute to this senior citizen who is doing this work selflessly just for other citizens. So, next time you see Mr.Subramaniam at king circle, please wave him and thank him for his contribution.