Bengaluru: They brave heat and dust of traffic

Bengaluru: They live up to the old adage that all heroes do not wear a cape. Meet a team of such 'unsung heroes' who man the traffic at Inner Ring Road in South-east Bengaluru, one of the busiest arterial roads.

A team of volunteers brave rains, rude glances, comments and at times even assaults from erring motorists,  while manning traffic at places such as Maharaja Junction, Sony Signal, BDA Complex Koramangala, Madiwala and other places.

They hail from different walks of life ranging from students to multinational employees. Every evening they head out from their respective offices and take charge of each junction to help motorists.

Deccan Chronicle spoke to the volunteers, who rather than crib about traffic chaos, chose to help streamline vehicular movement.

They work for six hours and at times it even stretches till late night or early mornings, especially during rains. They also fill potholes or push buses that have broken down to clear the traffic flow.

Rahul Francis, popularly known as 'Rahul Maharaja', as he mans the notorious Maharaja Junction, works as a Head of Department for an MNC and handles its Bengaluru operations. One can always see him daily managing traffic in and around Kormangala. 

Kevin Patel.Kevin Patel.

A resident of Koramangala near Maharaja Junction, Rahul decided not to waste time watching television at home during leisure hours and stands along with the traffic policemen on duty and help them regulate traffic. 

Rahul told Deccan Chronicle, "Just by paying taxes, it's not enough for the betterment of the city, state or country. We need to do more. As my wife finishes her work only by 10 pm, I decided that instead of complaining about the traffic or chill out with friends, I should use a couple of hours to help namma citizens. I have been doing this for almost two years and regulated traffic at notorious junctions."

Rahul everyday leaves work at 5 pm and heads to the junction to help Adugodi traffic police manning the traffic. His volunteer work spans the entire Adugodi traffic limits.

Rahul FrancisRahul Francis

"Wherever there is a jam or congestion, I immediately go there and try to ease the traffic flow or help the traffic personnel present there. I have to brave the heat, rain, dust, smoke and noise pollution. I am at the receiving end of abuses and shouts by motorist on a daily basis. They don't care about fellow motorists, but want to go first. They will honk, go over footpaths, drive in wrong lanes, jump signals, ride in the wrong way just to be first," Rahul said.

Jonathan Aaron, a masters student, a civil defence volunteer and a traffic volunteer, believes that the worst part to be on the road is when the motorists or pedestrians have absolutely no respect for you and angrily glare at you. Some will even abuse and leave despite breaing rules.

"It's a myth that only the uneducated lot violates traffic laws.  The maximum number of offenders is educated folk. People use their phone when they are crossing the road. Many motorists are glued to their phones, without realizing that the signal has turned green. And when we alert them, the death stare is what we get," said Jonathan. He volunteers near Forum junction and Sony World Junction. 

For Kevin Patel, a sales head for a luxury brand and a resident of H.S.R. Layout, the reason to be a traffic warden was to be part of the solution to solve our traffic woes.

He volunteers to regulate traffic at Sony World Junction. Kevin said, "If we all follow traffic rules, maintain lane discipline and exercise patience and basic courtesy we can solve 80 per cent of our traffic snarls. The traffic officers have a lot to handle and are understaffed. It's a thankless job yet they do it day in and day out. They are often criticised, and people ruthlessly break traffic rules and disrespect officers, then complain about the traffic situation."

These traffic wardens or the warriors leave their comfort zones and hit the road, rather than complain about traffic and be armchair critics. For them it is full of challenges, criticism and a thankless service. But, these volunteers leave all negativity behind and help ease traffic flow across the city.

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