Some kids call him "muchho waley uncle", others "Singham uncle". For others who know him, he is Sanjeev Trehan. Tee-clad, thickset and sporting a broad horse-shoe moustache, you will almost always find him at the Shipra Sun City underpass on NH 24. And what’s he doing? The answer, a heartwarming surprise. He is a resident traffic volunteer. And no one skips a U-turn when he’s watching.
A resident of Shipra Sun City, Indirapuram, he has been actively serving as traffic guard at this underpass since 2006. Punctiliously, he stands there from 9 to 11 in the morning and from 7 to 9 in the evening - the exact hours when traffic gets crazy. Traffic management at this underpass is crucial as it connects the commercial areas of Noida, Sector 62, and the residential areas of Indirapuram, Vasundhara and Vaishali.
Trehan is also the owner of a catering service. And the reasons for his doubling as traffic cop are simple altruistic instincts. “It’s my little contribution to bettering the system. All I want is ‘a smooth and safe passage’,” he replies with a certain buoyancy that’s hard to miss.
Now in his late fifties, Trehan left Punjab in 1988 and settled in Noida, making Shipra Sun City his home in 2003.
Being a self-appointed traffic cop, he is also a willing observer of commuters. He knows that without authority, people are less likely to listen to him, so he uses a ploy. He carefully places his bike right next to the traffic post to give the appearance of power. And it works, of course!
But he admits that playing a traffic cop is no child’s play. People are stubborn, aggressive and almost always rude. “No matter what your class is or where you stay, people are all the same on the streets, barring a few,” he says.
But Singham Uncle is not the one to quit, not till he can.