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Back breakers

I read recently in the newspaper (and chose to believe it) that there are some gazillion illegal speed breakers in the city of Bangalore and around.

All of us living in this wonderful city, probably have to undergo the torture of these road creations every day. What was surprising was that the authorities said they were going to look into this issue and take down all illegal speed breakers. I am not sure how they plan to go about making this happen. But let me tell you one thing – I was mighty disappointed.

There’s a reason. I think we can convert these speed breakers into tourist attractions. Put up attractive signs next to them, explain their existence and also why they were created the way there were. Tourists could then go to different parts of the city gazing and admiring all these forms of speed breakers, hitherto unseen in their country. Take photos beside them and send them in to contests – “how many kinds did you see today?”

Don’t get me wrong – I totally agree that as Indians we have no driving sense and most definitely need these speed derailing devices. 1n a country like India where speeding is more common than not, and where there are at least a half a gazillion crazy reckless drivers let loose on the roads, there undoubtedly a requirement for these handy impediments. Without them, I have a feeling that our population would be cut down in half. All mowed down by road rage and reckless driving. Which might actually be a great way to curtail our population explosion, but hold that thought.

I would earlier always come back from visits to countries like Europe and the US in amazement because their roads didn’t have any speed breakers. Only later I realised that you have to credit the people there, not the roads.

But yes, in India, where cows, pedestrians, two wheelers, and children of different sizes all cross the road using multifarious and unpredictable techniques and angles, I wouldn’t want to imagine a situation where a driver, going at around 100 kms per hour has to suddenly make way for all of the above creatures without actually even mildly touching one of them.

We’re not a terribly law abiding country. It takes about five minutes of landing in India to figure that out. Of course there are different signs indicating at what speed you’re supposed to be driving. But who cares right? In fact, ask anyone what the legal speed is on the Bangalore Mysore road and you’ll probably get some interesting (and totally incorrect) answers.

So speed breakers, yes. I was trying to make a strong point here. Definitely required. But the problem in our country starts when all our neighbourhood do-gooders get together and decide to build a speed breaker. I think their conversation goes something like this:
1) Person 1: We need a speed breaker!
2) Person 2: I totally agree. Ramu – cement/material lao!
3) Person 1: How does one contruct a speed breaker?
4) Person 2: Who cares? It’s not rocket science. We have extra cement. Ramu – speed breaker banao!

And there you go. What Ramu finally builds really depends on his crappy mood. And possibly what he did or did not have for breakfast.

So ladies and gentlemen, I give you a cross section of Bangalore’s speed breakers in varying shapes, sizes and dimensions. Tourists attractions that are just waiting to be discovered by one innovative guide. He could go on to make millions. “And this, ladies and gentleman, is the rumble strip of death, Shivajinagar’s foremost attraction. It was built in 1999 when a chicken was mowed down in broad daylight.”

Enjoy! And feel free to add to these experiences.

Half circle of death

Half circle of death

This one is fairly common, but don’t be fooled by it’s seemingly innocent looks. Only once you get closer, do you realise that it’s not that easy to clear. God help you if you happen to be driving a vehicle with low ground clearance.
Back breaker

Back breaker

This one is on the lines of the back breaker, but it’s a tad worse. Chances are that you will have to see either a masseur or a doctor after experiencing the back breaker.
Too much cement

Too much!

This is the classic speed breaker built by Ramu I’ve mentioned above, when everything extra left over from building the road is dumped into the construction. The result – a really, really, big speed breaker, possibly the height of a multi-storeyed building.
Ride me, I dare you!

Ride me, I dare you!

Yes, this one is pretty self explanatory – Ramu was on a high!
Used to be a speed breaker

Used to be a speed breaker

There’s no way you could miss this one. It’s everywhere. This is a breaker which has seen much better days. However, after a bout of rains or a few heavy lorries (which Ramu did not forsee), it starts disintegrating. What results is a reminder of the days gone by. Be assured though – no one will think of bringing it down and putting it back in proper shape again (what is that?).
Curves of death

Curves of death

So this was Ramu having loads of fun and thinking, why not add another curve to this speed breaker? And so on… till we have one with multiple humps and at different levels too. Just for a little variety. Just in case you fall asleep at the wheel after a tired day’s work, fear not – there’s the curves of death.

Rumble strip

Rumble strip

And finally, we have the rumble strip of death, where one is just not enough. we keep addding more till we run out of fingers to count on. feel your body and bones rattle and get a thorough rattling work out on this one.

So there you go! Now, I am sure you have your own to share! At my estimate there would be at least a dozen or two different types and varieties, but this is pretty much what my limited sketching skills will allow me to present.

Have one to share?


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