Why broaden our roads?


HA, ha, ha,” giggled the slim and slender road as she shifted from side to side, “somebody’s tickling me.” “They’re digging on either side of you,” I said, “they’re broadening you.” “Oh my, oh my is that what they’re doing,” cried the road in sudden despair, “why ever would anyone want to play with my figure, I love looking slim and thin.” “Maybe,” I said, “but the authorities need a broad road, what with the traffic increasing and people wanting to get to places faster than before.” “They’re wasting their time broadening me,” said the road again squirming as a bulldozer gently nudged her sides, “whether I’m slender or broad will make no difference to the people who use me, they might as well spend their money on other things like raising the salaries of the ministers or putting more satellites into space, or packing the legislative assemblies with more shrieking and yelling women.”

“You’re getting nasty and sarcastic,” I said, “any other road would have been proud to have been singled out to be broadened. Why d’you say that broadening you is going to be a useless waste of funds, other than your own vanity?” I asked. “Come,” said the road, “walk along on me and I will show you. What is it that you see travelling right in the centre of me?”

“Why,” I said, “an auto-rickshaw.” “Can you see that he’s doing?” asked the road. “Can you see him preventing every other vehicle on the road from overtaking him. Can you see the number of vehicles trying to go past him from either side. Can you hear their horns?” “Yes,” I said, “I can.” “That man,” said the road “will drive in the centre of the road whether I am ten feet wide or a hundred. He feels the middle belongs to him, and more so, he feels that no one should go before him. Do you see what I mean?” “Okay,” I said, “you do have a point there.” “Watch out,” shouted the road as a bus came and stopped next to me. “It’s okay,” I said, “he was not going to knock you down.”

“Yes,” said the road wisely, “you are standing at the bus stop, but that double decker monster has stopped in the middle of the road. Can you see the people jumping out and getting in. Can you see them blocking all the other traffic? Imagine how much more traffic it would block if I am made broader?”

“Looks like you’re really done your homework,” I said watching the traffic honking and hooting at the non-plussed double-decker. “You people don’t need to broaden me,” wailed the road, her sobs getting louder and louder, “why do you want to spend money broadening me before teaching yourselves how to really use me.” I walked away down the road, but could not escape the sobs of a road crying out in despair to an undisciplined people.


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