here. Pics : Sharath Bhat Meet Srinivasalu Naidu –
a self-appointed traffic regulator who stations himself at a narrow by-lane off Millers Road in Benson Town – a little before the railway overbridge near Coles Park.
If you come in from the Cantonment Station and go past Nandidurga Road, you’ll find this narrow by-lane that takes you to Benson Road or Pottery Road. With two-way traffic, this stretch can get tricky – and that’s where Srinivasulu comes in.
He regulates a steady stream of cars and bikes, with a practiced hand and business-like authority. Without someone out here, you can have traffic getting in from both sides, at the same time. Eventually clogging the road and leading to heated arguments.
Srinivasulu looks like he’s in his mid sixties, but he’s not sure how old he really is. Says he retired from the Railways a long time ago. He is at this spot from around ten in the morning to a little after ten at night; I saw a little bag nearby with his lunch and a water bottle.
Does he make a living from this? Yes. The regulars who use this stretch of road actually stop by and hand over fivers or tenners. Not a great deal of money at the end of the day, but enough to make ends meet, he says. Isn’t it tiring to be on your feet for close to 12 hours? He gets five-minute breaks at around three in the afternoon, when the traffic is lean – but that still makes it at least eight hours of being on-your-feet and moving your hands vigorously.
Srinivasulu tried sharing
the load with a friend, doing shifts that could have definitely eased the strain. But then, his friend would invariably come drunk in the morning which threatened to do more harm than good. So back he was, doing the job single-handed.
He also says the people in the neighborhood are kind and often give him something to snack as well. But the bad news now is a potentially serious back problem that could number his days at this spot.
I’ll do this as long as I can stand on my own two feet, he says. And that doesn’t sound too good. I only hope people in the neighborhood can pool some money together and do what it takes to keep this brave soul going. If his back problem doesn’t come in the way, Srinivasulu could ease traffic out here, for another ten years.