We Chennaiites are different. The rest of the world may go by the nursery rhyme that went ‘Stop says the red light, go says the green. Change says the amber light twinkling in-between’. There is also something else about queens obeying it and all that which The Man from Madras Musings has forgotten. Not that any of it is relevant in Chennai where it is ‘Run says the red light, go says the green. Keep going says the amber light twinkling in between’, and twinkling is just about right given the number of traffic lights that are on the blink. There is one near where MMM lives which for over four months has literally been blinking. The ailment began with the various lights blinking rapidly all the time. Then they began to flicker at the edges. Someone then attended to them after which they ceased blinking together but blinked in proper sequence.

A few days later, it was noticed by those who look at traffic lights at all (and yes, that foolish fraternity, though dwindling, does have some members) that the lights had reduced in diameter though that did not in any way interfere with the blinking. Now, all of the three have become mere dots. You need to have the eyes of an eagle to be able to spot whether the lights have turned red, amber or green. Not that it matters to those on the road anyway.

Most of these road-hogging monsters, it appears to MMM, are those who think that the horn is the only component in a car that needs to work. And perhaps that is the only one that they know how to operate anyway. They use it to clear their route of other vehicles, pedestrians and stray animals. Above all, they somehow believe that the louder they hoot at a traffic light, the faster it is likely to change from red to green, assuming that these people are the variety that stops at traffic lights.

There is yet another variety of road-users, as The Man from Madras Musings notices, that never really stops its vehicle. They merely slow down and all the while they keep looking for any gaps that they can perceive in the ranks in front of them. Having identified it, they proceed to nose their way there, often using their horns to good effect (that does remind you of what buffaloes and bison do, does it not?). Having reached the front of the waiting vehicles, they begin inching forward, keeping a wary eye for any vehicles coming at right angles, for the signal is green for them. By relentlessly keeping at it, they reach the other side, long before the signal actually turns green. Makes you green with envy especially when you are left waiting.