One news caught my Eyes today. ‘Obama’s Beast slapped Fine’
. It was on http://uk.cars.yahoo.com/20072011/36/obama-s-beast-slapped-fine-0.html.
The story goes on that, there are congestion charges to be paid, if you are taking your vehicle to Central London area. No one is spared, see not even ‘The President of America’ ( President of America’s car is called The Beast).
I was really happy to know two things, one Britishers don’t spare anyone, and second we were not the only ones asked to pay! Actually the feeling has more to do with that “Duniya apne sukh se itna sukhi nahin hai, Jitna Dooserey ke Dukh se!” (World is not so much happy with their own fortune, as they are for other’s misfortune!) And if I compare my misfortune with that of President of United States of America in this case, my joy is abounded!
You know traffic rules of London were one thing that Sahil made sure, we know from the first day itself. So the day we landed in London and started for home from the airport, he started. He showed us a lot of Lines on the roads. Sahil told that dash – dash white lines (- – – -) mean you can park your car Here. Continuous lines (____) mean you cannot. Double yellow lines mean you cannot park or stop your car there at any time or else a parking penalty will be imposed and a ticket (Challan in Indian terms) for it will be cut and sent to your home.
“No matter where those lines are they are followed strictly, even the friendly neighbourhood is not spared, as I was fined 150 pounds once just next to my house” rued Sahil.
Like a true Indian I immediately converted the pounds in Rupee.
“150 Pounds is a big money, it is almost 11000 rupees”, I gasped.
“This ticket is so wicked that it is cut for any and every, big or small fault of yours”, Sahil was saying as we nodded to whatever he was saying.
“Talking of the tickets, you know”, Sahil continued, “In Britain they don’t have Parking persons, taking money and giving you the parking ticket. There are no chances you sneak into a parking, fight with the chap and intimidate him by saying “You know who I am!” in true Punjabi style. You insert the money in the Parking machine as per your stay duration, accordingly it will give you a timed parking ticket, and you have to display it on your Dash board. If you fail to do so or deliberately don’t do it, they have CCTV installed, the Parking warden will see and no arguments again; the ticket will be cut and silently dropped at your door steps.” Aah haan! I thought.
The Parking Ticket Machine
The Parking Ticket in Hand
“If you over speed than the speed limits written on the road sides, they have censors, they detect it”, whispered Sahil, in tone of Sherlock Holmes. “Automatically a camera flashes in your eyes. It is so bright that you feel suddenly you are a celebrity and you have just walked in the Red carpet and cameras are flashing at you! “But come back to mother earth” shouts the ticket in your hand, as you reach back home and find it seated onto your Doorsteps” added Karishma, Sahil’s wife.
As Sahil was telling us these ticket stories, I could see, ticket was emerging out of the Dash board of the car like ‘Gabbar Singh’*, I just blinked my eyes, rubbed them and came back to reality. One dialogue from ‘Sholey’* was again and again coming to my mind though somewhat improvised “ Jab Door Door tak Parking warden Nazar Nahin aata hai, toh Ma Kahti Hai, Parking pay kar dey Beta nahin toh Ticket Kat Jayega !” (When No parking warden is in sight, Mother tells, pay the Parking son, otherwise Ticket will be cut!)
I was sweating with fear of Ticket by the time we reached home sweet home.
Talking of Machines, Britishers have really worked on lack of Manpower issue by installing automatic machines at numerous places. Be it a Pay machine in a Toilet (instead of a Sulabh Shauchalaya Karamchari (Convenience employee)), Or the Parking warden centrally on a CCTV centre (instead of Parking Persons in every Parking), Speed Censors and Cameras (instead of Traffic Cop), Driver in the Bus performing both the duties of Driver and Conductor (taking money in his automatic counting machine and generating auto tickets through a ticket dispenser). But the most Hit or Super liked (in Language of Face book) machine was the pedestrian machine for us.
“These machines are placed on both sides of the roads, next to the traffic lights. If you want to cross the road, you just have to press the white button, it will show WAIT, after a while the pillar on the opposite side will show green signal for pedestrians and all other lights will be red for pedestrians to cross the raod”, Karishma was patiently telling me. I shouted to call my Husband, who was busy talking to Sahil about the X box at a distance, “look at the machine!” I exclaimed, behaving like an Indian fan reacting after seeing Shahrukh Khan**.
The Pedestrians’ machine
You may laugh, but when first time Karishma showed me the machine, I was so happy. And you know what, like a child, or to be precise like an Indian child, every time I saw it afterward, I used to rush to it, pressing the white button at least twice or thrice, jumping in joy as if it’s my EUREKA moment!
Thanks to who so ever invented it!………………
Long live the Queen! …………….
Again Hick ups!………………
Zyada chad gayi kya????……………………… (Am I too much drunk????)
* Gabbar Singh is a Popular Villian in a Record Breaking blockbuster Hindi Movie Sholey.
** Shahrukh Khan is a famous Indian Movie Star.