A Daily Commuter’s Enemy

In India, nobody is really settled-down till they own a car and a house. The same obsession with ‘settling’ down made me invest (wait in-fact the ‘investing’ went on till last year) in a car, two years after I started working in one of the biggest MNCs of the country. All my relatives and friends were so proud of me for a week then, because well, owning a car at 24 is a big thing right! Nobody really cared about the EMIs, neither did I — which is probably why the bank messages used to keep reminding me about it! I was happy that I no more had to struggle everyday to travel to the office. At one point, I even felt like I had purchased wings to fly to the office. LB Nagar and Gachibowli, at that time, seemed to be separated by just a happy & cool ride!

Slowly, reality stuck me. Driving in the traffic turned into a nightmare. More than that, I realised that the vehicle needed someone else, more than me — And that ‘someone-else’ was quite a celebrity that the world could fight over. That ‘someone-else’ had a value that just increases with time — that too at a huge rate!

Yes, I am talking about the magical fluid — the petrol!

Only after I bought my first vehicle, I realised how much I hated it! Probably it’s every car owner’s biggest enemy that often is neglected! While my neighbours complain about heating up of the Earth, my only worry in life turned out to be the heating-up price of petrol! The comfort that driving my own car to office gives me got overshadowed by the amount of petrol that it was drinking.

Around fifteen years back, when I got my first bike and when I didn’t even have the licence to drive, I remember getting my tank filled for just Rs 150/- the same price that merely fills quarter(or still lesser) of my car’s tank now. And during the past 5 years, the rate at which the price of petroleum has increased was (far) higher than the rate at Akshay Kumar completed his movies. At times I even wonder why the 20 paisa increase is making me sulk so much, when I own a car worth 8 lakhs. Oh wait, that’s because I have already emptied 8 lakhs from my pocket and I don’t want to empty another 8 lakhs for my daily commute because I travel around 40 kms every single day.

Above everything - almost immediately after I bought the car (atleast I felt so) the whole world has started complaining about the pollution that 4-wheelers create. Apparently 20% of the air pollution is created by privately owned cars! ‘Comfort of driving to work’ turned to be a myth slowly.

The ever increasing traffic, the pollution that I apparently created and turning-into-Gold petrol made me rethink about driving and slowly all this made me quit driving to work! Yeah, after almost 20 petrol hikes I had decided to quit taking my car to work!!

Oh wait, were these continual petrol hikes just a conspiracy to save the planet?

God knows! But yet, I still hate petrol!!

(Based on a true experience. In the past one and half year, almost 5.75K people from Hyderabad have move from 4-wheelers to Commut. While some of them quote traffic issues and health problems associated with driving as the major reason for their drift, increasing prices of petroleum also has a role to play in this.)