India is a developing country and the best example of development is the district of Howrah. The extraordinary roads of Howrah are always ‘developing’ – developing cracks, fissures, pot-holes and all other related holey structures.
The benevolence of the so-called ‘development’ has reached its peak during this underestimated monsoon. Eyewitnesses say that certain parts of the roads can well be considered to have undergone landslides. However, officials do not expect avalanches… yet!
It is worth mentioning that this insignificant discussion is regarding the historical Grand Trunk Road and its sister concern Howrah Road – the sole recognizable roads of Howrah. The purpose is to elucidate and honour all those who manage to pass one more day under the munificent shadow of these roads.
During heavy showers, these multipurpose roads substitute for the unsophisticated drainage system of the town. With various tributaries and rivulets, the main roads form the primary stream of rainwater. This watercourse ultimately forms a delta-like structure and empties itself into the holy Ganges.
One cannot apparently measure the depth of water unless he or she is actually standing in it. This is owing to the fact that the road has infinite number of holes, which account for the uncertainty of the altitude of a particular point on the road. The holes are available district-wide in assorted sizes, shapes and flavour. The most common and user-friendly are the crescent shaped, flat and wide Pot-holes. These are created due to the mutilation of neo-natal layer of asphalt by the tender Trucks and the loving Lorries. Application wise, they are most favourable for people who enjoy getting wet with mud water from a speeding vehicle’s wheels.
Anyway, some practical lessons on the above-mentioned roads can train any illiterate person into a professional Holographist. These well-trained Holographists of Howrah have nothing to do with holograms. Rather, they specialize in the subject called Hole Classification and Management. HCM can be regarded as a combined branch of engineering, management and philosophy (and perthaps also a bit of mythology and history.) The course is free for everyone, except that one has to pay for the self-transportation costs. The prospectus is available for a nominal bribe at the office of the Howrah Municipal Corporation.
Every Auto puller and Rickshaw driver of Howrah has acquired this prestigious and self-assigned degree. An expert Holographist can classify a cavity on the road even without directly looking at it. The method adopted is called Sono-Aural Hole Detection. SHD is very similar to echolocation technique employed by bats! Those aspiring to drive on these roads should be well versed with this germane subject. Failing which, you may require immediate vehicular hospitalization and that too for a considerable span of time. (Note: A hover-craft can turn out to be a maintenance-free alternative.)
Talking of hospitals, doctors of Howrah recommend that everyone should, at least once a day, have a ride on the roads of Howrah. It has been observed through rigorous experimentation that travelling on the roads of Howrah is a sure-shot cure for arthritis, rheumatism and all sorts of joint pains. Studies even reflect that it is a cure for various kinds of stomach problems, indigestion and sleeping disorders. Satisfaction guaranteed and patent pending!
The roads of Howrah has yet another ‘natural’ resource that is yet unexploited. The Education Council of Howrah may reconsider to exclude chemical analyses of salts in the +2 level. Instead, chemical analysis of Howrah’s rainwater may be included. A sample of impure rainwater or pure drain-water contains various organic and inorganic compounds mixed in fixed proportions. This would surely curtail costs for buying chemicals for the chemistry laboratories in schools.
Interestingly, the colour of the clogged rainwater is green. This is due to the fact that a good percentage of the water is cow dung and other such organic and bio-degradable materials. Hence, the petrochemical industry may even review the idea of using it as an eco-friendly fuel.
There is also a proposition to invite Sir Edmund Hillary to flag off a new ‘flat-terrain’ mountaineering course on the roads of Howrah, This new course will not only provide employment for the already over-employed local ‘diggers,’ but also attract a large number of tourists from all over the world. It is a pity that the State Government does not encourage tourism in Howrah. Such unique roads would surely attract many foreigners interested in research.
NASA can even set up an observatory in Howrah. They would surely be able to test drive the Martian and Lunar vehicles on these roads. After all, this is the closest representation of the surface of Mars, right here on Earth. Infallibly, any Mr. Alien will confuse Howrah to be Mars, Perhaps even Mercury.
It is true that the humans are not the only species to enjoy the services of these roads. The educated buffaloes, homely cows and the corporate dogs also share an interspatial conjunction with the services of the roads. It is not hard to notice that the roads serve as their bedroom, living room, dining room and as the god-forsaken lavatory.
I am extremely sorry that while discussing about aliens and non-human species, I almost completely forgot about the unmistakable and ever tolerant residents of Howrah. They are the luckiest of all human beings on earth. Every rainy day, they get a fresh supply of water right in their house. The entire ground floor of the roadside buildings gets flooded with rainwater. This service is absolutely free of cost. Excluding the occasional suspended garbage and sewage particles, the water is otherwise clean and safe.
The culprits behind the buoyant garbage are the most diligent workers of Howrah – the bureaucratic road sweepers. Everyday they remove the garbage from the ever-clogged drains. However, they never forget to pile the resurrected garbage, just beside the drains. During rainfalls, this facilitates swift transportation of the garbage back into the drains. This cycle goes on and on till eternity.
Not far in the distant past, someone tried to reincarnate the roads to its formal grandeur. Undoubtedly, it was just before the elections. The work had started with great valour and enthusiasm. A Himalayan Range of sand and stone chips formed just opposite the un-purposefully famous Don Bosco School. The holes on the roads were patched up. The occasional pitch-work on the road looked like tattered clothes that have been sewn all over. Indeed the population of holes did reduce considerably, yet this was not a permanent solution. A full stop on construction work was highly apparent. The mounds of the sand and stones remained till they were gradually eroded by nature and man. Perhaps that was enough for that year’s election. How about having annual elections in order to speed up the construction process?
It is ultimately the beloved G.T. Road and Howrah Road that forms the identity of the entire district. So much so that it reminds the words of one of our much-adored teacher: "The easy ones you did not do and the hard ones you could not do!" How can we then neglect all the perpetual inconveniences of the authorities towards repairing the alleged roads?
I am extremely sorry that the Howrah Municipal Corporation has decided to disrupt the services of the best affected roads during heavy showers. Tourists are advised to seek alternatives. The inconvenience is regretted.
PS: If any of the words accidentally collide with anyone’s sentiments, it would go as an advice to him or her (or it) that this should be rather taken as an honour.