Monday, May 14, 2007

Missed by a Whisker

Well this is another of those posts which most of Bangalore bloggers would write about.. No cookies for guessing.. Traffic. Actually I will not talk about traffic per se but more on how I was surprised. My drive to work in the morning is, like most of us, in the peak hours that is 9ish. My usual drive time on a normal day (non holidays) is an average of 45-50 minutes. The fastest I have ever driven from work to home or vice versa is in 17 minutes, that was one day in the wee hours of the morning.

The drive time from home is an amazing leveller. It always happens that if I get through some part of my drive relatively jam free and make good progress, that means that I would most probably be caught in a jam in a different part of the drive. So some how or the other, the drive time comes to the 45-50 minute range. I have always wondered, whether there is communication between motorists in one part of the town to the other, where they tell that I have gotten through here, slow me down elsewhere :-).

There have been a few days where I have been slow all through and my drive time has been near the 1 hr time band. These days are not that often neither are they so far in between. Actually the evening drives back home more are less tend to be longish. I always wondered why. People who did come to work in the morning are the ones who are going to go back, then I should see a similar time in the evening too. But that is not the case, the drive takes atleast 20% more time. I presume the evenings also include people who do not venture out in the morning but venture out in the evening for shopping !!

But today was a different day. From the time I started from home today, it just happened that I never got caught in any of the jams. More so, I even did not stop in the signals where I am more than 95% sure to be caught in the red. I could not believe what was happening. Since I passed through the initial part relatively quickly, I was more or less sure that I would be slowed down later during the drive, just as any other day. But voila that did not happen. I was moving from one traffic junction to another in all greens. Yes !!! I thought I will make it this time, the sub 30 minute drive during peak hours. Myself, being a great fan of motor racing, tend to talk a lot of race lingo, so the "sub-30" minute thing. Actually I am so much into racing, that when I am driving behind a slow moving car in front, I increasingly start feeling that I am driving behind a "safety car" just like in the races :-P.

So coming back to my drive, I was like 1 Km from work, just when I thought I had the best peak hour "lap" in my bag, the jinx did set in. The traffic slowed and came to a standstill. It had taken me 27 minutes to reach there. I just needed a 3 minute drive in the last kilometer. The traffic started moving again slowly, but too slow for what I needed. I moved on and I had 30 seconds more to go and another 500 meters. But then the dreaded thing happened. The signal turned red, the second red signal in all of the 16 kilometer drive I had today. There it goes, I will not be able to make it. The count down clock on the signal was ticking by 20, 15, 10, 5 and 0. Then finally I made through the last 500 meters. So the total time I took was 31 minutes.

**Sigh** I missed my "sub-30 minute" lap by a whisker. I am not sure whether I will ever do it again. This was one of those rare occasions where I even came close to it.