Car Or Cycle? Children.. This Is Not A Status Symbol

Posted: October 17, 2019

We must teach our children that cars are not symbol of achievement and walking a sign of poverty! 

Sometimes back, I had read about the acclaimed filmmaker, Shekhar Kapur who said, “I don’t need a car to prove my self esteem”. He owns no cars and uses a rickshaw. Had he desired, he could have owned a fleet of posh and expensive cars! This was heartening as I too belong to this league of not owning any four wheelers, but of course, I am neither famous nor rich like him!

My friends are amazed, “You don’t own a car or even a two wheeler? How do you commute, move around?” is their astonished query! Yes that’s correct we, I mean, I and my family have no vehicles. But moving around is no problem. For short distances we WALK, for little longer distance, autos are available and for still longer places we take the cab. It is that simple, no hassles and tension or stress involved!  Anyway nowadays cars are no more delightful driving. Time was when pleasure was the synonym of car

But my friends are hardly convinced and their surprise is viable. Cars are tagged with prestige issue, the bigger the vehicle the more respect you receive. These days, anyone with little money to spare or avail a loan goes for a bike or car. The other day my domestic help requested me for a loan, the reason her grandson had joined college and needed a bike. Last year, she had purchased for her elder grandson, when he entered college. Bike maybe essential but for many four wheelers are more for prestige issues. The bigger you have the more you are respected! Those with small cars go for a big and fancy one. In fact the first thing people buy as soon as they start jobs is purchase a vehicle. Initially, it is a bike and then later a car. No wonder traffic jams leading to noise and air pollution have become grave issues. Yes, people do grumble over the irritating inconveniences, but very few are ready to accept that they too are contributing to these gigantic problems. According to traffic expert, M N Shreehari “The average speed on city roads has dropped over the past few years due to the rising number of vehicles. On most stretches, the average speed is in single digits during peak hours.”

Every day one reads or learns of road accidents. “Two People Die Every Day In Road Accidents In Bangalore!”

In my city the numbers of vehicles on the road keep increasing. There are around 71 lakh vehicles out of which two-wheeler out number four-wheeler! It is presumed by 2022 the numbers would increase to more than a crore! My mind goes dizzy and I wonder at the impending chaotic condition. More traffic jams, more blaring horns, more raucous and fights and not to forget the pollution!

God where are the places for parking? Roads maybe widened and more fly-overs constructed, but will that suffice? Maybe improved and punctual public transport can help. Can we, the citizens, pitch in our mite by way of car-pooling, using public transport and walking wherever possible? Many people have got into the habit of grabbing their vehicles even for short distance. What is true of my city is the reality of other places too.

Few years back, we had visited a family friend who lives in a far off place. The gentleman is a junior colleague of my husband, Chief Medical Officer in government hospital. Since very convenient buses are available up to this friend’s house, we opted for one. The lady was thrilled to receive us. A neighbour had already arrived and was curious to be introduced. Upon learning that we had come by bus, she was aghast! “But sir, I thought, you are Dr….’s colleague?” She could not resist asking. It was quite embarrassing for my hostess. Yes, we have the false notion of connecting status and success with owning a car! But when I enumerated on the convenience and comfort of travelling by bus, she nodded. She said, “My children have never traveled by public transport. I must take them someday”. I advised, “Boarding bus at the starting point will be comfortable, you will get good seats.”

Whenever I am in a traffic jam, I have a little solace -there will always be one car less on the road and obviously mine.

I strongly feel we must teach our children that cars are not symbol of achievement and walking a sign of poverty!

Image via Pixabay

I am fascinated by the English Language and the wide range of synonyms! Nature is

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