Pedestrians of a lesser God?

 

As each of us works our way towards material comfort, winning over the struggle to survive at first and then, to find a cosier niche for ourselves in society…someone else is losing the battle.

That someone is not always a face you recognise.

That person occupies the place in the street just like you, traversing through. If you look carefully, you can see that her eyes are wary, her pace rash and unpredictable. The walker on the street is vulnerable.

Surely, this person must have deserved lesser than you. She must have come from another place…

Far away from yours?!!

-Samarendra M. Ramachandra

 

As a young girl I used to walk
Miles and miles until the dark
Greeting strange people
Smelling strange scents
I walked because I could
I walked because I would
I walked and walked
 until it was time to go home
Now grown, and trapped in a big city
I long to walk again
To meet those strange people
And smell the strange scents
To listen to the stories they all want to tell
Only, there is not another soul walking
There is not a single street to walk on.
Everywhere cars zoom by
Screeching, screaming, rushing through
In this jungle of concrete
Long forgotten are the mysteries of a stroll
People with no time to spare
And for those who do,
There is no space to share.
Are motorists a higher race?
Of a higher God, in this concrete maze.
And those like me who simply long to walk
The city mocks.
Greets us with dump
And danger on the streets… Does no one care?
For us pedestrians, seemingly of a lesser God
Ignored by the city

Trampled over by the urban maul.

PHOTOGRAPH: Malavika Sivaraju

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8 Comments

  1. True that streets are full of vehicles nowadays but I think its the mindset of a man (belonging to any class) to avail a means of transport at their respective home which are decent enough, be it a motorcycle or a car. Decent again is a level of measure to different people. But i dont think cars or vehicles are a problem.

    In today’s time, all we need is a neat design of pavements. Pavements do exist even today on the streets, but right in the middle of it an electricity pole rises. Or even worse, a transformer pops out. That is one and the most important reason people need neat design of pavements.

    On every street if that is provided, people who wants to walk can easily walk plus the vehicles wont be much of a disturbance. We have to move with time. So we cannot really eliminate the movement of vehicles, but thinking of necessities (pavements in this case) can overcome this issue we are facing today.

    There are also places where pavements exists, but people just don’t walk on it. They prefer the roads (God knows why). And that also is a problem for the motorists. People cross the roads where ever and whenever they want to. For a successful future of both pedestrians, the motorists and above all the nation, motorists should respect the pedestrians and vice versa. India runs on a notion “Chalta hain”. That should stop.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. pedestrian pathways and the vehicular roads are two components of a streetscape. the size and the quality of each is critical in an urban scenario. the design of each affects the other and both end up being misused otherwise. in our cities the roads are way too wide, the pathways are way too narrow and as you say risky.
      it is reflective of a culture when one user respects the other.
      we architects have to work on this urban design element.
      sra edu welcomes you to join us in our ongoing endeavour.
      thank you naseer!

      Like

  2. Today in our lives we are struggling with the absence of footpaths along many city roads.Most of the remaining footpaths are also occupied by parked vehicles,street vendors, electric poles, slums and other encroachments. Or the paving is quite poor!

    There are less instances where we can think of walking to nearby places. This is directly and indirectly related to the badly designed footpaths and roads that exist.

    Pedestrians meanwhile have got used to managing without footpaths so much so that they hardly use the ones left!

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    1. yes madhuri, i have noticed that people have adapted themselves to live with the dangers and the vulnerability of walking on the streets than to tread on the footpaths that still linger around in some locations. the footpaths are seen as restrictive, unpredictable and filthy.

      Like

  3. I feel that all are equally vulnerable in one way or the other.No one is to be blamed but ourselves for this condition. We are only paying for poor civic sense.

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    1. yes arihant, while we are ourselves to blame , the most vulnerable are the pedestrians i feel. the planning and design for them is woefully inadequate.

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  4. We cant blame neither pedestrians nor vehicular because lack of proper road infrastructure, zebra crossings, footbridges, under passes or sky walks even at prominent junctions has pushed pedestrians on to the roads, i hope proper infrastructure should be provided for the street vendors, alignment of electricity pole etc and to be designed, and every one should feel responsible for the future development and safety.

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  5. ‘The fault in our Streets’,
    We blame on the Lesser God of Pedestrians?
    Who made feeble forsaken faces, failing to find their places,
    Amidst velocity of wagon races!
    Shall we blame on the lesser God?
    A mother down to earth,
    To whom will she talk?
    About her child, who just learnt to walk!
    On the same road, that we never find a leeway!
    And like plastic bags in the air,
    Our sympathies just sway away…
    And leaned on a stick, a happy old man,
    Makes his way, through some mid-road swamps!
    Or an unhappy half aged, rigid on valid complaints,
    That, puddles n bumps on the road,
    Do not deserve his expensive luxury car!
    Says the God that is one,
    ‘Dear Homo sapiens, forget your so called ‘native-ness’,
    To let emotions grow, even for unfamiliar faces!’
    Because our task is not to blame,
    But to fan our flame,
    To let them not ask, ‘Where do I belong?’
    And to find stepping stones, in the crowd of urban storms!
    To live in a world of devotion, where,
    Extrinsic prejudices are all scraped,
    And then, from our mother Earth,
    We shall create ‘Cityscapes’!

    Like

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