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Thread: A hilarious account of driving in India

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default A hilarious account of driving in India

    This article was apparently written by a 'Dutchman' who
    spent two years in Bangalore, India, as a visiting expert.

    Driving in India!

    For the benefit of every Tom, Dick and Harry visiting
    India and daring to drive on Indian roads, I am offering
    a few hints for survival. They are applicable to every
    place in India except Bihar, where life outside a vehicle
    is only marginally safer.

    Indian road rules broadly operate within the domain of
    karma where you do your best, and leave the results to
    your insurance company.

    The hints are as follows:

    Do we drive on the left or right of the road? The answer
    is "both". Basically you start on the left of the road,
    unless it is occupied. In that case, go to the right,
    unless that is also occupied. Then proceed by occupying
    the next available gap, as in chess.

    Just trust your instincts, ascertain the direction,and
    proceed. Adherence to road rules leads to much misery
    and occasional fatality. Most drivers don't drive, but
    just aim their vehicles in the generally intended
    direction. Don't you get discouraged or underestimate
    yourself except for a belief in reincarnation; the other
    drivers are not in any better position.

    Don't stop at pedestrian crossings just because some fool
    wants to cross the road. You may do so only if you enjoy
    being bumped in the back. Pedestrians have been strictly
    instructed to cross only when traffic is moving slowly or
    has come to a dead stop because some minister is in town.
    Still some idiot may try to wade across, but then, let us
    not talk ill of the dead.

    Blowing your horn is not a sign of protest as in some
    countries. We honk to express joy, resentment, frustration,
    romance and bare lust (two brisk blasts), or just to
    mobilize a dozing cow in the middle of the bazaar.

    Keep informative books in the glove compartment. You may
    read them during traffic jams, while awaiting the chief
    minister's motorcade, or waiting for the rainwater to
    recede when over ground traffic meets underground drainage.

    Occasionally you might see what looks like a UFO with
    blinking coloured lights and weird sounds emanating from
    within. This is an illuminated bus, full of happy pilgrims
    singing bhajans. These pilgrims go at breakneck speed,
    seeking contact with the Almighty, often meeting with

    Auto Rickshaw: The result of a collision between a rickshaw
    and an automobile, this three-wheeled vehicle works on an
    external combustion engine that runs on a mixture of
    kerosene oil and creosote. This triangular vehicle carries
    iron rods, gas cylinders or passengers three times its
    weight and dimension, at an unspecified fare. After careful
    geometric calculations, children are folded and packed into
    these auto rickshaws until some children in the periphery
    are not in contact with the vehicle at all. Then their
    school bags are pushed into the microscopic gaps all round
    so those minor collisions with other vehicles on the road
    cause no permanent damage. Of course, the peripheral
    children are charged half the fare and also learn Newton's
    laws of motion enroute to school. Auto-rickshaw drivers
    follow the road rules depicted in the film Ben Hur, and
    are licensed to irritate.

    Mopeds: The moped looks like an oil tin on wheels and makes
    noise like an electric shaver. It runs 30 miles on a tea-
    spoon of petrol and travels at break-bottom speed. As the
    sides of the road are too rough for a ride, the moped
    drivers tend to drive in the middle of the road; they would
    rather drive under heavier vehicles instead of around them
    and are often "mopped" off the tarmac.

    Leaning Tower of Passes: Most bus passengers are given free
    passes and during rush hours, there is absolute mayhem.
    There are passengers hanging off other passengers, who in
    turn hang off the railings and the overloaded bus leans
    dangerously, defying laws of gravity but obeying laws of
    surface tension. As drivers get paid for overload (so many
    Rupees per kg of passenger), no questions are ever asked.
    Steer clear of these buses by a width of three passengers.

    One-way Street: These boards are put up by traffic people
    to add jest in their otherwise drab lives. Don't stick to
    the literal meaning and proceed in one direction. In meta-
    physical terms, it means that you cannot proceed in two
    directions at once. So drive as you like, in reverse
    throughout, if you are the fussy type.

    Lest I sound hypercritical; I must add a positive point
    also. Rash and fast driving in residential areas has been
    prevented by providing a "speed breaker"; two for each
    house. This mound, incidentally, covers the water and
    drainage pipes for that residence and is left untarred for
    easy identification by the corporation authorities, should
    they want to recover the pipe for year-end accounting.

    Night driving on Indian roads can be an exhilarating
    experience for those with the mental make up of Genghis
    Khan. In a way, it is like playing Russian roulette,
    because you do not know who amongst the drivers is loaded.
    What looks like premature dawn on the horizon turns out
    to be a truck attempting a speed record. On encountering
    it, just pull partly into the field adjoining the road
    until the phenomenon passes. The roads do not have
    shoulders, but occasional boulders. Do not flash your
    lights expecting reciprocation. The only dim thing in
    the truck is the driver, and with the peg of illicit
    arrack (alcohol) he has had at the last stop, his total
    cerebral functions add up to little more than a naught.

    Truck drivers are the James Bonds of India, and are
    licensed to kill. Often you may encounter a single
    powerful beam of light about six feet above the ground.
    This is not a super motorbike, but a truck approaching
    you with a single light on, usually the left one. It
    could be the right one, but never get too close to
    investigate. You may prove your point posthumously.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004


    That was a good one. Made me laugh loud. Thanx. Keep them coming


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