IF YOU DRIVE IN INDIA – PART II

This article has my tweets on the thread #ifudriveinindia (Part I was published in Jul 10). Comedy and humour apart, more people die of road accidents in India than in any other country in the world. It is because of our peculiar driving habits. One of the old Hindi movies had this song: “Zindagi ik safar hai suhana, yahan kal kya ho kisne jana?” (Life is a pleasant journey; but, no one knows what will happen tomorrow). Well, whilst driving in India you have no idea of what will happen the next moment. Read on; these tweets may be of some use to foreigners desirous of driving in India or even Indians not yet totally initiated.

If you drive in India: 
  • You would learn the virtues of patience as you go along; it is not important to reach anywhere!
  • You would become a very spritual person at the end of your journey!
  • And the road sign gives you a number to call for assistance it would always be engaged.
  • And carry a map for directions it is false security since many roads and their names would have changed since publication.
  • On a long journey you would need to know different languages to read road signs in different states. 
  • You should be prepared for the entire traffic to be diverted, even on a highway, for a VIP to cross. 
  • And stop to ask directions don’t go by the person’s words; look at his gestures; try to match them together. 
  • Remember that brake, accelerator, indicator lights, clutch etc are not as important as the horn. 
  • And are thinking of enjoying your journey, you have not been reading my tweets! 
  • You should have a volley of choicest abuses ready to hurl at the other driver who rams into you and starts doing the same. 
  • You should be prepared for vehicles overtaking you from both sides on a single or double lane highway!
  • And find that the main road or highway has suddenly landed into a river or canal, just enjoy the scenery and……pray! 
  • You have to compete with such traffic as vehicles, carts, animals, people, processions, statues and hoardings on all roads. 
  • Do not be taken aback by seeing about 300 people riding in a 45 seater bus; many will be on the roof top. 
  • And get the impression that drivers all around you are trying to kill you, it is not a hallucination; they are if you are not careful. 
  • And are totally hassled, there is nothing new because all around you there are totally hassled drivers. 
  • Remember that Indians don’t respect road medians and don’t mind risking lives by coming on the wrong side to save 1/2 litre fuel. 
  • Be prepared for perpetual work going on the roads. 
  • Remember we got our freedom on 15 Aug 1947 and we haven’t stopped celebrating this freedom on roads to do anything and everything! 
  • And have to overtake a roadways bus you can only do so when the driver is not looking your way. 
  • You have to drive very carefully all the time as danger lurks where you would least expect it. 
  • And there is only one other vehicle with you on the highway you should never take your eyes of it; else it would surprise you. 
  • You must realise that roads are environmentally friendly and kept close to original state of being rivulet, field, ditch or forest. 
  • And reach home without dents on car, personal injury, and bruised ego, you have performed a miracle. 
  • Remember that upon overtaking you a vehicle will immediately be turning left; it just couldn’t wait to do it after you cross. 
  • You will realise you have very little chance of keeping yourself from becoming mad. 
  • You will realise that there is ALWAYS work going on the roads especially on your lane or your side of the road. 
  • Remember that you will feel safest in a road-roller even if you don’t go anywhere far; in any case in India you should not go too far. 
  • Remember that on Indian roads it is the survival of the fittest, nay, biggest: truck has right of way over car, car over scooter and so on. 
  • The commonest expression that you will hear is, “Yeh sadak tere baap ki hai kya?” (does this road belong to your father?) 
  • And give dirty look to a driver who has done something wrong you are in for trouble. In India everybody is someone big especially in politics. 
  • And park your car in a parking place and go to restaurant or movie; it is as safe as a virgin girl in a colony of rapists. 
  • And get out of crowded city and heave sigh of relief you will realise that your relief is short lived. In India two is a crowd. 
  • And stop to let pedestrians cross, everyone around you will honk to show their displeasure at you for delaying them. 
  • You should remember that hardly anybody cares about lanes; people drive with the lane marking line between the two tyres. 
  • And start going through a One Way Street; it does not mean traffic will not come at you from opposite direction.

© 2010 – 2016, Sunbyanyname. All rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  1. Sir you are at your witty self as usual.This time it is the Traffic Police who should read this.In Mauritius,what struck me after I came here was the good road discipline.It is a different matter that Mauritiuans themselves consider it below par and want it to be improved further.Vehicles rarely honk and lane discipline is good.Roundabouts are a great sight,people wait for their turn to join.The best part is people acknowledge good manners by a beep,a smile,a wink or a hand wave.If the same ethnic Indian blood can be disciplined and good mannered here then why cannot we do the same back home?

  2. I was once told that we are ill mannered because we are poor. But, then, I went to the poorest country Ethiopia and there too people ain’t downright rude like us on the roads and elsewhere. Then, they said it is because we are populous; but, I visited China and they observe road discipline. Perhaps, like I am fond of saying, we are like that only.