Picture the scene: You are cruising one of the wonderful highways of your adopted country. Music is playing in the background. You're driving along serenely. There's very little traffic and you think.aaahh....this is why I love being abroad. The roads are just so amazing!
You've cruised along these highways many times before, and yet, you never get over the wonder of how smooth they are, the complete lack of potholes, the space and the sheer speed at which you can travel. And then you think of India, and its crater-filled paths, so optimistically called "roads". Your heart sinks. You can't imagine having to drive in such horrible conditions again. If only..
And then you begin to fantasize. You dream that one day, India will have such roads. You dream that you will cruise along at high speeds. You dream that somehow, just by some miracle, India's awful roads will be replaced by these superb highways. And you dream you will drive on those roads, and yet know deep inside your heart, that you are in your homeland.
Well, the dream has come true. Yes, India does not have these highways everywhere, but the sensational start that is the Mumbai-Pune expressway is anything to go by, we're in for a real treat.
A friend took me on the Mumbai-Pune expressway and I simply could not believe my eyes. I had heard a lot about it, how it could be compared to the best in the world. And so it was..of course, being in India made it all the more exciting. It's a six-lane highway (three lanes each way), with shoulders on both sides. Even in the mountainous ghat sections, the road is superb. I had to keep pinching myself - the drive was so smooth, I had the sudden urge to break all speed limits known to man.
People stick to their lanes and truckers, as directed by the traffic rules, stay in the left hand lane. Given our penchant for breaking all traffic rules all the time, the road discipline is simply unbelievable.
Of course, to make use of the highways, you need modern cars. And of this, there is no dearth in India. World-class cars have flooded the market and you are spoiled for choice.
Obviously, the sheer scenic beauty added to the drive's pleasure. Mountains, huge open spaces, nature. It's a heady mix and for once, since you didn't have to concentrate on avoiding the next pothole or truck, you could really relax and enjoy the ride.
By building this road, the Indian government seems to be making a very bold statement: that it serious about taking the country forward. The road is only a small beginning, but if it is viewed as a metaphor for the future of infrastructure development, you will soon see all your fantasies about a developed India coming true.
- Chetan Dhruve in Bangalore, IndiaThe views of this column are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of NRI Online.
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