Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Road Traffic in Margoa

The last time I was in Bangkok, some years ago now, it could be said to have had the worst traffic in the world. Along one of the main local arteries, the Sukhumvit, the congestion was so bad that it was customary enough for cab drivers to carry a mobile toilet in the back of the car, for their own puposes as much or more than for the passengers.

Now you could argue that, of course that would not be necessary in a town like Margao where it has been reported that the waste from pig toilets has been run into the street in front of open air restaurants. But no ! The traffic is actually far worse in Margao than I can recall in Bangkok - if anyone can imagine that - but there are no delays of the same nature.

"It Worked For Us" is a nicely written article which sums up a view on India and introduces the ideas of a 'secular' rate of growth and a 'Hindu' rate of growth. I would take the matter further and make it multinational and suggest that there may be a "Buddhist" road traffic pattern and a "Hindu" road traffic pattern. Once that assumption is taken the matter is clear. In Buddhist traffic, everyone uses the time for Buddhist contemplation (or at least a sizeable minority do) and in Hindu traffic many are hurrying to get to their next reincarnation. So you do not have as many delays but many people find the rides scary. And there seems to be worse traffic problems in Margao.

Maybe that is fanciful, I hope so. The argument could be made that there are many Christians in Goa but appearances aside, there are actually mainly Hindus. According last year's 'Lonely Planet' there are 65% Hindus, 30% Catholics. And anyway the Catholics seem even more eager to reach the presence of St. Peter and the 'pearly gates' of Heaven.

The big worry may now be Ratnagiri - nuclear energy waits for no-one. Of course Ratnagiri is far from Delhi, so 'that's all right' to a Delhi politician.

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