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Ever wondered how no one actually goes around the roundabout or that there is more traffic at the traffic circle that was designed to reduce that very traffic. Well, not to speak in circles, but this has been amusing me since I have landed in Vadodara. While the city keeps growing and you are defined as ‘being in the city only if within the ring roads’, (don’t ask me which are these, I still have to figure them out) I have yet to come to terms how much people like to let you go around in ‘circles’! Although frustrating, if you think between the lines it is fun and actually educative!

Having lived here for many years of my life, there was a time when people used to sit inside the Chakli (Gujarati for sparrow) circle in the evenings and spend some quality time with friends and family. Now looking back on it, there wasn’t much traffic and hence no danger to have parked your vehicle and walked down in the middle of the street to enjoy this evening soiree.

Becoming essential parts of addresses and the city’s main arteries/roads, these rudimentary services have led me to wonder what history lies behind the circles and its relevance in today’s world. In the present and according to the worldwide web, ‘A traffic circle is a type of intersection that directs both turning and through traffic onto a one-way circular roadway, usually built for the purposes of traffic calming or aesthetics.’

While the transition from its history into the present seems very bumpy, and  many debate its existence, I did come across some beautiful ones for 2015 and an article that raises a good point. Also check out some nice clicks courtesy via History of Vadodara (facebook page).

While the city has many traffic circles named after the piece of art within it, these have become landmarks in themselves. Ending off in a fun note, here’s an instance I overheard, where someone asked the auto rickshaw driver for directions to a new place. Let’s see if you can figure it out or end up in ‘circles’, pun very much intended.

‘Bhaiya, where is this ‘so-and-so road’’?

‘Hai,eh kya avyu la’? (Turning towards a fellow auto driver, the guy asked him where this was)

Slowly getting up as if thinking very hard, this is what the second guy said:

Aa agal genda circle this right lejo, siddha phaucho friends circle par, tyathi jao g.e.b circle thi Apda chakli circle taraf. Chakli circle tho joyu che ne? (Me, nodding fervently) Bus tho, tyathi pachha siddha jao, banker’s heart circle avse tya rokata nahi …

I think this suffices for current conversation. Now go explore those circles!

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