Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pedestrian Prototypes

There was a time when the only people i would curse were the bikers - zipping and changing lanes like pond skaters and giving me quite a few heart attacks. Then came the bus drivers - driving like they owned the road. Defying every law of space and fit - trying to squeeze in where even the bikers wouldn't dare.

But over time I have started to accept the bikers and the bus'ers as bad relatives on the road that one just has to live with. I respectfully give way, and wistfully stare at their departing fumes trusting karma. So does this mean i am beyond road rage? Ha! Far from it. Now it is directed at the pedestrians around. But since i am the one with the mean machine here, i don't misuse my power position. Instead i just observe their ways and tuck them into my PPH (yes my romance with P continues!).

Which gets me to my next question - what's the PPH? It is the Pedestrian Prototype Handbook - my very own system of classifying pedestrian behaviours. My piece of research for an anthropologist some million years into the future trying to understand how certain category of homosapiens behaved under certain circumstances.

Some quick definitions and terminology that exist in this priceless piece of research:

Wistful wanderers - These are the ones who stick to the sidewalks, walking slowly lost in their own dreams. They seem very purposeless in the way they just walk around, a day to slow down and seem particularly at peace with the world.

Sidesteppers - These are the ones who, for reasons best known to them, have developed a deep aversion to the sidewalks. So you will find them walking along the sidewalk on the road. Trying hard to coexist with the cyclists and bikers on the road. And an occasional four-wheeler overtaking from the wrong side

Phantoms - walk like they are the only things that exist on the road. With as much as much as ease in the middle of the road as they are on the sidewalks. When it's time to cross, they just walk across as if the entire road is a completely deserted stretch made exclusively for them to get to places.

Bollywood Bundar - Definitely the most entertaining. They see a vehicle coming their way and then start crossing the road. Actually running - imitating the styles of the older bollwood heros - mostly jeetu bhai and big B. To ensure that there is an audience for their act - they ACTUALLY run towards the vehicle.

Juggling Gymnast - this is the variety that absolutely insists on using the narrow road dividers and try out different walks precariously balanced on the piece of concrete; completely oblivious to the traffic zipping by.

Undercover traffic cop - This is the variety who have an internal traffic signal they move to. Irrespective of what the actual traffic signal indicates, they decide to walk when they are ready. And just so the whole world is in sync with their internal mechanism, they will actually stick out a hand to stop the speeding traffic as they attempt to cross. The only point of consolation - they mostly use the zebra crossing (+/- 2 feet)!

So this piece of scientific work actually helps me find a vent to the anger at the pedestrians. Even as my research continues, I dedicate this PPH to all those creative pedestrians i encounter everyday.

As for those of you pedestrians who respectfully stand at the zebra crossing waiting for the "walk" sign on the traffic light - come on guys, use your imagination!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

tsk tsk.. Pedestrians and bikers rule! I would any day be a juggling gymnast than behind the wheel. :)