In Providence, it was an offence to park on the street overnight.
Now suppose I had been downstairs when the cop was writing out the ticket. Suppose I had called down my neighbours and thrashed the man. What would you think? What would have happened to me?
Absurd questions, you think? But something like this seems to have happened on Walkeshwar Road, which runs up the side of Malabar Hill in Bombay, a couple of days ago.
This is a very heavily used road, especially during the morning and evening rush hours. Last Saturday, the traffic police declared that there would be no parking on part of this road during rush hour. However, according to the Hindustan Times (March 30),
- The residents of the buildings [in this zone] disagreed, and continued to park on the street in defiance of police orders. They had nowhere else to go, they said.
- According to the police, trouble started after they tried to push the residents off the road. The residents reacted violently -- some 50 of them started to beat the policemen. The police retaliated with a lathi charge.
What's this about? You buy a car, there's no space for it in your own building, so you park it on the street? You insist that it must remain there, even if it is an obstacle to heavy traffic, because you have "nowhere else" to put it?
(Hey, I've run out of shelf space here at home. May I build myself shelves on the road outside and put my books there? After all, I have nowhere else to put them).
Besides, in pretty much every building in this city, if you park your car anywhere except in your originally allotted space, you pay a monthly rental. Why then should you expect to be allowed to park it on the street?
What if you bought yourself 10 cars, would it be OK to park them on the road outside your building because you have nowhere else to put them? 100 cars? 200?
Of course, now I'm thinking I should have told the cop in Providence, "I had nowhere else to park my car, please don't give me a ticket."
Then I should have beaten him up.