A nightmare called sidewalks

A nightmare called sidewalks

Stepping out of the house on my regular constitutional, I notice a stray mongrel lying right across the roadside pavement with its caudal appendage...

Stepping out of the house on my regular constitutional, I notice a stray mongrel lying right across the roadside pavement with its caudal appendage stretched to the edge of the path.

I stride over it quite gingerly, knowing well that any slip in my stepping would end up with the cur landing its teeth on my legs and sending me to a physician for the necessary number of pricks.

Walking further ahead, I have to go around a car parked right across the platform whose edge has already been chipped and bevelled for its seamless roll over it.

All these hurdles on the pedestrians' path rub salt into the wounds I suffer, by having to get down to the road off and on and walking amidst vehicular traffic flirting with the risk of knockdown by a speeding vehicle.

Saplings planted once on the sidewalks by the city corporation have grown into big trees, letting their branches stoop low over the platform compelling me to endure the pain of ducking down while walking a few steps to pass them by.

Sunshades of wayside eateries and petty shops jutting low over the pavement are the added obstacles I somehow skip from hurting my forehead by skillfully crouching myself till I go past them.

All these are no doubt avoidable hindrances pedestrians adroitly squeeze through or hop, skip and jump over every time they leg the distance through the pavement.

Labourers engaged in construction of buildings often fix something like a mini wooden goal post or a solid cement pillar on the platform with metal pegs fixed on it for the purpose of bending steel rods.

While bending the rods on such fixtures, they care not a hang for the movement of pedestrians; one day it was only by a stroke of good luck that I sidestepped a rod and escaped by a narrow squeak.

Banana peels lying strewn on the platform and providing a slippery surface need no specific mention since it is a common sight on pavements in most of the 'metros. We sometimes find pedestrians insouciantly stepping on them and dropping, bruising their patellae and/ or elbows.

Men, mostly busybodies standing in knots on roadside platforms and using them as talking shop we often notice.

Walking on sidewalks, what makes me more ill at ease than all the other forms of hurdles is to battle with a hefty lady occupying almost the full width of the platform by not the bulk of her body but the swing of one of her arms widely away from herself as if she is the one and only walker on the pavement.

Whenever I chance upon one such, I at once resort to stepping down to the edge of the road.

It is only the failure of the successive governments in every State to take stringent measures against encroachment of pavements by agencies that has left the sidewalks utterly unusable by pedestrians.

Governments may come and governments may go, but encroachment of pedestrians' walkways will go on forever.

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