I am sorry, but I don’t agree with you. Let me know when you finish reading the constitution yeah?
Shruti Ganapathy Subramanian

My Reply: [a suggested read]

Shruti Ganapathy Subramanian and AMIT SI,

I stumbled upon the conversation today when someone recommended it and it showed up in my notification. I couldn’t stop but put in my 2 words. They are directed to you, Shruti.

  1. Constitution is not a Harry Potter novel that is to be finished in one go. By reading the constitution I mean — and I hope any logical person would mean — reading the relevant ‘article’ that is in news. For eg — if you want to have an opinion on freedom of speech, it wouldn’t take more than 2 minutes to read article 19 in the constitution itself. Another example — on freedom of religion, you can utilize your 2 minutes by reading article 25. Now I am sure the rebel in you would promptly question — how am I supposed to know the relevant articles? Well, the answer is: Google it.
  2. The solution to pollution is both — less number of cars and better fuel engineering. And till we are able to innovate more on fuel efficiency, unfortunately in the short run, the solution remains less number of private vehicles.
  3. You are wrong when you say traffic won’t reduce when buses replace cars. Its simple mathematics. Let me give you Delhi’s example — there are roughly 8000 public transport buses in Delhi and about 20 lac cars. But the buses carry 50% of daily traffic while the cars carry less than 20%. Imagine, if you can double or treble the number of buses! It is not difficult to imagine that 20000 buses will take much less space than 20 lac cars. Hence, emptier roads. For your and even my comfort, there can be different tiered buses — non-AC, AC, Volvo and what not. Pay according to your pocket. I personally take AC buses in Delhi and I think they are about OK. Pretty manageable.
  4. You are right. No one will make a ‘sacrifice’ by giving up the comforts of his/her car. But the initiative has to come from within. Otherwise no matter how comfortable the public transport becomes, it can never match a private car. Another example for you — 80% of daily traffic in New York happens through its metro (or Subway as popularly known). 15% happens through buses and yellow cabs and only 5% through personal cars. I am sure even they want all the comforts. And let me tell you this — the NY Subway is BAD (personal experience). Its dingy and it stinks, still even Wall Street CEOs take it.
  5. True-there’s too little space for too many people. But both are variables beyond our control unless you are planning on a genocide. So till then we have to work our way around it.
  6. Carpooling is a very much scalable solution. Uber and Ola are doing it brilliantly in Delhi atleast. Don’t know about other cities in India.
  7. Saying — a combined effort is required — is like saying we need oxygen to survive. Ofcourse! a combined effort is the way to go. But then if you are going to be so disgruntled and negative, then atleast one of the two parties has already given up.

Lastly, to answer your question — until then we should make do with what we have and as best as we can. Yes we have a myriad discomforts in India, but then for that you can only hold God accountable for not giving you the genetic lottery (being born in the developed world). I still thank him for not putting me in some place like Somalia or Sierra Leone.

End Note: Cheer up. Don’t be so negative. Things can only move upwards. Be proud of your country which is merely 60 years old!. Americans were killing each other around this time after their independence.