Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Commute

For residents of the national capital region (NCR) that work outside the home, it's safe to assume I have one of the shorter and luckier commutes. My apartment complex is adjacent to my office complex. The net result? Even though I live at the far end of the apartment complex: a seven minute walk from desk to door; that is, if I have to wait for the elevator at the office.

Yesterday, on the other hand, my luck ran out. My company has three offices in the NCR; the one described above, the one where the Wife works which is about a fifteen minute drive and still in Gurgaon (southwest of Delhi), and the one located in Noida, which is the "other" suburb of Delhi on the east side of the capital. Yesterday, I finally went to Noida.

Making matters worse, the hours I needed to be in the office (basically 10 - 6) necessitated hitting the worst of the Delhi rush hour on both ends. Having spent six months commuting from the Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi to Gurgaon during my first assignment in 2004, I'm quite familiar with the flow of Indian traffic jams; the close quarters created when a road designed for two lanes of traffic is stuffed full of vehicles inches apart with motorcycles and scooters filling in the gaps. That, I'm used to and while, frustrating, completely met my expectations. What I couldn't figure out was the traffic in Noida. Here is a city so new that its name is an acronym (New Okhla Industrial Development Authority), yet the traffic pattern lead to 45 minutes in traffic inching forward to get off the highway and into town. The roads seemed wide enough to handle the volume, yet at random intervals along the road, the all too common police barriers were set up, basically chicaning the eager commuters and delaying their progress to the glass and steel towers of Noida. No construction, no evident reason, just people getting delayed for the sake of getting delayed. Based on the amount of open space waiting for development, the problem is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.
A fairly typical scene in Delhi traffic
Days like yesterday make me realize how lucky I am to spend ten minutes a day commuting rather than the four hours I spent patiently riding through the streets of Delhi and sitting in the traffic mess that is Noida. And yes, I recognize a seven minute walk in both directions would technically be 14 minutes of commuting, but you don't expect me to actually walk both directions, do you?

1 comment:

  1. An easy commute surely must adds years to the commuter's life, right?? So much unrecognized daily that is how you have become fit...those seven minute commutes!! AHAAA!