In my long naval career, I have lived in many cities including Pune but the traffic sense that I developed is based on traffic culture of Mumbai which is by and far the best in India. I really found the city most infamous for traffic sense, New Delhi, reasonably good for driving, primarily due to its wide carriageways.
And then, upon retirement from the Navy, I made Pune my abode. That is when I realised that this city has not one or two but many living Peshwas. The Peshwa was the Prime Minister of Bhosala Kings of Chatrapati Shivaji Dynasty and were the rulers on behalf of Bhosla Kings of Satara, of this part of Maharashtra. Obviously, rulers make the rules but they need not necessarily follow the rules. The Peshwas of modern Pune do not make the rules but they definitely do not follow the rules.
Recently there was a news item here in Times of India that Pune Police are going to challan the pillion riders who ride (pillion) on a two-wheeler. It made me wonder, so the Police are going to challan the pillion riders without the helmet, Good, Very Good, but in the first place, when is Police in Pune going to challan helmetless drivers of Two wheelers. Is it that they are going to challan pillions and leave the riders scot free.
I do understand. How dare Pune Police challan the riders, who are the Peshwas of Modern Pune? For information of readers, over 90 % of two-wheeler riders find it below their dignity to wear helmets, a very crucial life-saving device. Maybe they are waiting for Peshwai Pagadi (a typical headgear) or a crown.
Poor me, while parking my car anywhere in Pune, was always worried about inconveniencing other motorists. That was so till my better half pointed out to this mortal being (that is me) that I, the poor subject of this city needs to look around. The Peshwas of Modern Pune driving their four-wheelers actually parked at will, other road users be damned.
The procession of the Kings was always taken out with fanfare everywhere in India. In Pune, the fanfare for the procession of modern Peshwas comes from honking of the horn irrespective of the Peshwas riding their two wheelers or four wheelers.
Generally, kings were never bothered about Value for Money which is a concept for commoners. Our Peshwas of Modern Pune are very different in that aspect. They are economy conscious and therefore want to maximise the return on their investment.
Therefore, with an objective of maximisation of per capita consumption of Petrol per kilometre, they do not ride one rider and one pillion. They generally ride triple seat on their two-wheelers. Bhai, economy is also important even for Peshwas of modern Pune.
Signals on the road are for traffic safety. Everyone is supposed to follow the signals. Rules, however, are not meant for Peshwas of Modern Pune. It is very common for us to find, when the signal is green for us, to find a two-wheeler with triple riders crossing your path (mind you the signal is green for us) and taking a turn (for which the signal is red) and if you show annoyance, be ready to face their anger.
Another important habit they have is driving on the wrong side. After all they are the daredevils who would like to challenge the oncoming commoners (read traffic). In Hadpsar, going towards Kondhawa, the road is split into two one-way. What makes me wonder is, there are Peshwas coming from the wrong side of both one ways whereas there are by lanes at regular interval connecting these two one ways.
When I landed up in Pune, I wondered as to why the speed of cars in Pune so slow and subdued. The wonderment got over moment I realised that was obviously in reverence to these Peshwas of Modern Pune of whom all the common (non-Peshwa) motorist were generally scared. Who would like to offend them and take on the might of these rulers of Pune Roads?
May be I also need to learn the obedience faster.