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    Volume 9 Issue 30| July 23, 2010|

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The whistle of the crane (bok-seesh)


If you decide to go into keep-fit exercises it can be quite a task finding out the right type of classes, the right type of company, the right neighbourhood, at the right price and so on. The first problem would be to choose from such a variety of options. Also, if you want to earn while you are at it, then you've had it. Moreover, being human, it is your natural desire to draw a bit of attention from others around you. Boy! You asked for it.

It's a difficult and demanding combination, but if would just care to stop looking around and concentrate on the job of traffic police, Eureka! You got it. With the horns and hoots creating an ambient cacophony, often the right beat for aerobics, in the company of all the buses, trucks, and tempowallahs you would care to know, and in your own precinct you could move your fingers and a limb or two bang right in the middle of the road. It's not only free, but you get paid for the sweating, made easier by the outrageous uniform meant for the Arctic zone. And, just think of all the attention you think you would be drawing. As a bonus, it's done in absolute privacy, as actually no one ever notices you.

You will however have a hard time telling drivers that a roundabout does not mean making haste to cross it over the bodies of two pedestrians and a goat; that drivers always go round a roundabout and do not cut across; that red light means a red light, amber means prepare to stop or start, and only green means 'go' if the way ahead of you is clear.

You will be able to shed some extra flesh with the help of speeding buses who have no lights, no brakes, and no drivers, but only a horn to let you know that they can scrape you without killing. No drivers? Yup! They operate with the help of helpers. That is what they are for.

You will not require a sauna bath as you will sweat sufficiently by trying to stop vehicles changing direction without signalling, which is the general occupation of all licensed drivers. The unlicensed also have a license, checking which would be strenuous and a good exercise for the eye balls. You will discover that there is nothing called 'mirror-signal-manoeuvre', which means a driver looks in the rear-view mirror, and seeing the path clear engages a signal, and then the driver manoeuvres his car to the right or the left or, as is the case in Dhaka, they go straight, which also means left and right.

You will be glad that there is more sweating and further depletion of body fat, as you will have to make a suicidal jump in front of the moving vehicles to stop these fifteen seconds after the red light has come on. Sometimes they do not, they cannot stop, but that has not happened to you as you are still reading this.

You will find that, explaining to a learned person that their vehicles should not cross the signal light when it is red is darn impossible and a thoroughly perspiring experience. If you try to make the matter clear to MPs that their vehicles should be parked in a position from where the driver can observe the changing signal lights, they will retort that they are soon going to change the law.

The more you sweat, the more fulfilled is your purpose of joining this earn-while-you burn scheme, and the double yellow line gives you just the occasion, as most drivers consider the two lines as street decoration, while you wonder how much more money from the exchequer into the waste bin.

I know what you are thinking: if there is so much fat loss in managing the traffic, how come we still have police personnel who have to wear their belt below their belt. The reasons, my friend, are quite simple. One, while you are at it, there will be some passersby, on foot and on vehicles, who will transfer to the 'on foot' mode, to reward you with the whistle of the crane (bok-seesh) for the mujra just witnessed, with which amount you can indulge in all things fattening. Two, you are too clever to partake in anything as serious as physical exercise and are idling with the daily newspaper in the shade, and you are actually doing your job with the help of helpers, who are would-be employees of the force that we all want to take pride in. You too are egotistical about the bahini and that is why you browse the paper every day to find out what mistaken news the journalists have again printed.




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