Thought riding bicycles on the streets of Kathmandu was hard; try skateboards! To my astonishment, I saw a couple of teens on skateboards making their way in the traffic. It was a pleasant surprise for me, looking out the window from a micro-bus, finding anything other than old rusty buses and shiny private cars to look at moving at a snail’s pace in the busy traffic. I wasn’t surprised that they were on skateboards but the fact that they were daring to skate on the chaotic streets of Kathmandu, zooming past the traffic, was what caught me by surprise.
The traffic in the valley is insane, not merely because of narrow roads or the outrageous number of vehicles on the said roads but also because, every bus, bike, car, taxi, micro-bus is always trying to get ahead of one another, in a very reckless manner! No one follows the traffic rules and drives on disregarding everyone on the road. Every single one of them thinks, the other one is not following the rules and is a bad driver, not noticing the faults in themselves.
I have always questioned this – why is it that the one with the fastest means of transport are always in a hurry to get to everywhere?! Everyone will get to their desired destination maybe not on the exact time but they will get there! So, why the blatant disregard for the rules that are there to make the traffic systematic? This just makes me feel sorry the traffic officers who are trying their hardest to keep the traffic flow systematic, to no avail.
Other interesting and bizarre thing, I (many of us) have noticed is that, everyone is ON THE ROAD, EVERYONE, the vehicles, cows, dogs, even the pedestrians! As they have nowhere to walk on the tiny sidewalks that are over-run by street shops.
This is one of the many reasons for traffic chaos in the valley and not just the narrow roads, which I find charming of the city. So, imagine my surprise to find these teen skating merrily on their way when I think every vehicle is on a collision course!
I never learned to ride a scooter for the very same reason that I am petrified of the traffic that rules the streets and all corners of the valley. I am scared that once I learn it, I will have to practice and drive all around the valley in the dreaded traffic and the soaring price of the fuel is like icing on the cake!
Plus, I have got quite an imagination that creates scenarios of horrendous accidents with these large trucks, their heavy tires are the ones that scare me the most than cockroaches and spiders. And the images of Final Destination don’t help a bit!
I much prefer the alternatives – walking or getting on the public transport. For me, the troubles of public transport don’t bother me much when compared to the traffic. Let someone else deal with this monster and let me enjoy the ride, however, slow or crowded it might (will more like it) gets!
I think anyone who dares to cruise here posses a strong heart. So when I acquire the same, only then, I will learn to ride a scooter, as for now, I will either walk or hop on a bus, a carefree passenger.
Besides the cyclists, now I have skateboarders and sometimes, one or two people on roller-blades to look forward to seeing on the streets of Kathmandu which I am happy and amused by but cannot say the same for the drivers, most of whom will find them as nuisance on the roads. Stunts on bikes are already popular in Kathmandu, now I am waiting for the day when skateboarders in the valley will show their touch of magic!