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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Driving Sense In India. What Is That?

Team Being Cynical
Driving is never fun, more so if the roads happens to be that of India's. It is for all those helpless Tom, Dick and Harries who are planning to come down to India soon and more dreaded, if they are planning to drive around also, this piece of literature might just help a bit.

So, which side in India you drive? well, officially left, but don't worry, here official guidelines are seldom taken seriously. So coming back to our question : you start from left, if it is not been occupied, if so then go to the right. Don't bother about the incoming traffic, as in they would also be in a lookout to switch to their right. Just be careful of those lazying bulls or stray dogs in the mid of the road, temporarily doing the road divider job. If you can negotiate those unwanted entities in the mid of the road then it doesn't matter which side you are driving or planning to drive. Now that you being bestowed with the basic of driving knowledge in India, lets venture into other finer points to be a successful and accident free driver on Indian roads.

The set of funny looking lights of green, saffron and red do have the same meaning as at any place of the world. The difference is it's utility on Indian traffic. So don't get it wrong - Red means stop and so on. Hang on, not necessarily always. A little piece of secret- Indians (at least those who drive) are colour blind. So don't be so sure to zoom off when your side is given the green light. You never know a colour blind might just rocket into your lane from the woodwork with a neck breaking speed in his bike. For that matter, you are advised not to get frightened or dismay if you see your side is moving ahead nonchalantly even if there is a red signal for you guys to stop. If unfortunately you take these traffic rules too seriously then you might just end up your car being smashed from the back side by yet another colour blind or worse, you find yourself the only idiot standing in the mid of the road waiting for the lights to turn green, when all others zoom past you from all sides. For a change you are allowed to look at those paan chewing traffic cops with disbelief, who are rather busy catching hold off bikers without their helmets on- not for the sake of road safety, but for some early morning business.

While on Indian roads, you are advised to exercise double caution, when it comes to negotiate a peak time traffic. You can expect anything from anywhere to come in between you and the noise making lorry barely couple of feet ahead. I mean- literally anything. It could be three jovial chaps riding a single pre-Independence period scooter, or a babe with half of her face wrapped for protection from pollution or sun rays with her ever so imbalance scooty, a bunch of stray dogs doing some sort of gang war thing and another set chasing them or even a full length sedan inserted vertically making an angel of 30 degree, almost touching the lorry in front and your head lights at the back or worse all four at the same time. The foremost thing to do, is to have some respect for the town buses that fly on the roads. Hell, how could you recognize one such nuisance? Mark a stuff barely looking like a bus, with the number of passengers boarding it could easily exceed the population of few of the smaller cities of Europe. Err!, I beg your pardon. You can't say all have boarded the bus as half of them would be seen hanging from the door, window panels with help of their respective toe nails or even with skin of their teeth. So please don't be disturbed if one of those cliff hanging individuals do give up and fall on your car bonnet occasionally. Keep it in mind, these buses do have the license to kill. They can stop anywhere at any position without giving any warning - like applying the indicators or the back lights showing the slowdown of the vehicle in front for the benefit of those coming from behind. Not entirely the fault of the driver of this dreaded vehicle- it is just that most of the time these warning apparatus don't work and occasionally even the authenticity of their brakes are questionable.

Now the second deadly species need some serious apprehension, are the taxis or auto rickshaws. There you go- An auto rickshaw full with objects having striking similarity to humans. The stuffing continues till the point few sitting inside get faint in want of fresh air or oxygen and many others, who barely could squeeze in, ending up just barely managing their heads in with their bulging posteriors tucked out. The driver driving in some funny looking half sitting and half standing Natraj posture, left foot jigging up and down to the loud music of the Bhangra rap version of Gayatri Mantra, a Gutka pouch tucked in the right hand and above all ogling the chick standing on the left footpath. A complete orchestra of tragedy in motion. NASA could have gone with hiring few from these drivers for their Rovers experiment instead of hiring the all expensive dentists to streamline the maneuver in acute angles on Marsh surface.

The third deadly thing to negotiate are the bikers or the moped wallas. Let me warn you, don't get yourself fooled with the dirty looking World war-II era bikes they would be riding. Their gravity as well as death defying stunts on road would give Mike Duhan and Max Biagi some serious complex. No sooner you think of hitting the gas paddle little hard, there would come this biker with most of the times with two pillion riders from the wrong side with the vehicle emanating noise decibel which could confuse you it with some cryogenic engine. Much more than their driving skills you should save yourself from that fountain of saffron saliva which time and again these pillion riders would be seen spitting like a spitting cobra. A slight judgement of error, your wind screen would be left with the mercy of your car washer or if unfortunately you are not driving a four wheeler, it is advised to take off your shirt then and there and throw it to the nearest gutter you come across.

I am not sure if I cautioned the prospective future drivers of India on the clear and present danger or actually made them completely abandon their plan of this adventure? In any whichever way output would be for better only. But having said that, as they say everything has some positives associated with it, so as driving in India. If you can manage to concur this summit without getting hurt or hurting someone else, then let me assure you, there is no place on this planet where you can't drive and for that matter moon's surface is even not out of bounds for you as far as driving is concerned.

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