Category: Traffic

3d zebra crossing. A ‘killer’ solution, literally.


An Ahmadabad based artist, Saumya Pandya Thakkar along with her mother Shakuntala Pandya has painted a 3d zebra crossing and it is being acclaimed as a breakthrough solution to India’s accident prone roads.

Why are we so stupid? This is more of a dangerous distraction than a solution. Only a country which randomly copies ideas can get so carried away and miss the entire narrative.

A zebra crossing is a suggestive marking to alert drivers to slow down and stop “IF” and “ONLY IF” there are pedestrians using it or waiting to do so. The subtlety is obvious only to a society which has not only invented but also respects, understands and uses these signs.

Stop and yield combo sign
The 3d zebra crossing is visually misleading and dangerous to drivers as it gives the impression that there is an obstacle on the road and one HAS to stop and then let the brain and the eye reanalyze the image, conclude that it was a false alarm and then proceed.

Not all drivers have the same perception or visual analytical ability or reactions.
What if a distracted driver sees this at the last moment and confusedly slams  on the brakes? Or worse, what if a motorist ignores one of our notorious speed breakers thinking it is a 3d painting? 

As with everything else in our lives, we have been able to buy the best ready made solutions without having to strain a single grey cell and hence don’t appreciate the decades of trials and errors, research and iterations these solutions undergo. We feel that the first crazy thought that comes to our mind is a winner. We Indians need to realize that the reason we cannot find others using these ideas is not because they are unique, but because they have been debated, tried and discarded.

Why do we Indians make heroes out of ordinary citizens doing ordinary things? It could be because of our lack of real heroes in any field. And this street art by this mother daughter duo is not even original. They have copied the idea from the Chinese city of Changsha.


Also, why do we Indians have this penchant to justify every act of ours as having a higher ethical, social or moral cause? Why cant this be appreciated as just art and not seen as a solution to a social problem?

I really hope the IRC takes serious cognizance of this and issues a stern warning to all those involved.


More images here at

Edit: The central minister Mr. Nitin Gadkari feels this is a good idea and is mulling on trying it on the highways. I really hope he realises his folly before more lives are lost. 

Shashi Tharoor is wrong. Indians cannot innovate.

This post was long pending and lazily taking form. But a particular incident accelerated its publication – a few tweets exchanged between me and Dr.Shashi Tharoor MP, Diplomat etc.

sashitharoor_1st tweet



[I have been trying to hear his speech but have been unable to do so due to a tech glitch. Not sure if it is at my end (I stay in India) or the host site. Will keep trying. In the meantime I checked for the speech. But they haven’t put it up yet.]

Now the meat of this post. At the outset I cannot accept a superficial opinion of how well India is innovating based on an armchair expert’s understanding of what innovation is. Such well meaning people have unwittingly caused more harm than good. We have been subjected to this lie for centuries. A look at our history (err-mythology?) and our text books which perpetuate this lie are proof. This lie which has been bandied about recklessly for centuries has made us complacent. What we need instead is a jolt of reality, a shocker to wake us from this reverie.

Dr. Shashi Tharoor is basically a well read, well educated, widely traveled diplomat, author and nouveau politician of certain repute. The fact that his only claim to the Indian tag is ancestry and matrimony may be the only dampener. That not withstanding, he should, like many other celebs and politicians, realize that they are basically ‘media magnets’ at such events (Launch of the India Innovation Institute – University of Toronto) . Not experts on each and every institute and organization they inaugurate. What if Mallika Sherawat assumes she is an expert on cancer just because she once inaugurated a cancer hospital.

Why did Shashi Tharoor make this statement? What makes him and his ilk experts on innovation? Why do they mask our lack of innovative spirit as globalization? Is innovation so simple and pedestrian to define and judge? Has such careless talk of big, earth shattering innovations scared and prevented the Indian tinkerer from experimenting? Have such references set the bar too high? What is innovation?

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