Pedestrian Day, initiated with a noble cause on a globally marked environment day, did not rate high on the desirability charts, and it still remains a big thorn in every body’s sides.
The seemingly altruistic drive easily generated a sea of public ire, expressed immediately after its enforcement, on social sites, discussion forums and it lost the battle of votes on a live national TV interactive discussion session.
All of 15 Pedestrian Days later, unanswered and unattended pleas have withdrawn to silent quarters and ‘Pedestrian Day’ has replaced ‘Tuesday’ in the general arrangement of the days of the week.
Except for the few breastfeeding mothers who have received a stroke of reprieve from the government the rest of the population fire up for a Tuesday drill starting Monday evening.
Necessity is an inventor and so every walking, cycling and Taxi-hailing people on the streets have more or less slipped into what could be called a Pedestrian Day-mold of mindset and dressing.
In the realm of the office goers, private, corporate and government the usual smartly attired reflection in the morning dressing mirror cannot be carried with convenience walking all the way to respective work destinations due to the day.
Subjects in this category wear pants, shirts, jackets, sports shoes and carry their ghos, kiras, shoes and stockings in an extra backpack or plastic accessories to wear it at designated pit stops before the work zones.
Women swap their stilettos or fairly high-heeled shoes for flats and sneakers.
People are tuned to carry numerous bags and employ all hands and fingers to carry pack lunch bags, laptop bags, and extra bags unavoidably dictated to be carried. In some cases, people sacrifice their lunches due to inconveniences.
The sharply customized fresh look goes in vain when the sun or a slight drizzle visits without caution or simply because you have to walk the distance to office. Many therefore prefer to take their time or just go late to work.
For some, it is ‘early to bed’ on the night before pedestrian day and ‘early to rise’ on Tuesday.
A civil servant Kelzang Dorji, 27 who lives in Hejo goes to bed early on Monday to wake up an hour earlier than usual days to walk to office.
He said he gets to enjoy his peace walking and listening to music and breathing the fresh morning air around. “I get to know and interact with lots of people, especially friends and neighbors who you seldom meet on other days,” he said.
Planning the route is crucial for those who intend to drive as near as possible to the work place and park the vehicles in the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) designated parking areas.
This batch of people hold-up until 6PM and then drive home according to the Pedestrian Day rule of ‘No vehicles after 8AM till 6PM’.
For many parents, Tuesday mornings are an exceptionally grueling routine; wake up at 5/6AM, prepare breakfast, pack lunches, groom the children for school, drive them or book a Taxi with them to school.
Picking them up is another story.