Traffucked for Life: Humans of the Mumbai Traffic Jam


Traffucked for Life: Humans of the Mumbai Traffic Jam

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Picture this: Your bike screeches to a stop, merely inches away from a taxi’s bumper. You scream at the cabbie, saying he did terrible things to his sister. He doesn’t hear you though, as he is too busy screaming at the guy ahead accusing him of doing terrible things to his mother. The guy ahead is too engrossed trying to
manoeuvre his car round a crater-sized pothole. And so on, and so forth, all the way to the signal, where the
traffic cop echoes every gaali back to the teeming column of motorists with a venomous glare. The characters of an Mumbai traffic jam are all of us and every day we do this dance of death with invectives as our props. It might seem hostile to some, but it’s an everyday affair for us. Here is the cast of the movie called Traffucked For Life, the Mumbai edition.

Gareebon ka John Abraham

He sits astride his 180cc Pulsar like an emperor on a purebred steed, revving the engine in insistent spurts. Once upon a time, he saw the movie Dhoom and it changed him for life. It’s 2018 and he still has his hair artificially straightened. He never wears a helmet so that you may have the pleasure of witnessing his do flapping in the breeze, as he risks his life to cut you off on broken road. 

Favourite stunt: Making a crotch-and-butt sandwich with two of his buddies while riding triple seat.

Big Car, Little Man

When not driving, Little Man demonstrates an Olympian lack of self-awareness while bitching about how too many cars are clogging the city streets and how the city is crumbling. However, when it’s time to get on the move, he will strap his portly ass into an SUV meant to carry eight passengers and drive off to office alone. He needs the extra room to carry all his insecurities.

Favourite stunt: Almost running you over while telling his wife to get dinner ready on the phone.

Myself Coming From Village Area

The number of premium vehicles in the world far exceed the number of premium people. Not everybody is qualified to get behind the wheel of a luxury automobile. Still it’s common to see car owners in the city giving the keys of a supercar made in Germany to a driver who claims to get his licence in Jharkhand. That’s like asking Salman Khan to remake Citizen Kane.

Favourite stunt: Driving a Mercedes on a footpath because he’s never seen a city road before.

Pain in the App

All the cabbies who use apps to navigate have already proved that they are adept at harassing their passengers. They’ve also diversified and begun upsetting people who aren’t in their car at all. Confused about which way to turn at signals, they turn around to ask directions and fail to understand how Google Maps works. These drivers aren’t just annoying, they’re uber annoying.

Favourite stunt: Double-parking to block a narrow lane because “Bhaada hai, bhai!”

The Fall Guys

The fall guys of every traffic jam are the rickshaw and taxi drivers who seem to think their job is causing traffic instead of ferrying passengers. With engines that are old enough to vote, they drive their rattling deathtraps across the city, sometimes even through water-logged lanes, in a bid to refuse every citizen a ride. The taxis look like dung beetles, and the rickshaws look like roaches, but sadly there’s no pesticide that gets rid of them.

Favourite stunt: Trying to fit their unwieldy carriages into spaces that even a cycle wouldn’t fit into.