Thursday, July 26, 2007

Drive me crazy

Well, a favorite topic of anyone who has traveled westwards from India is the traffic and ease of driving.
I have my own take on that. I actually like driving in India more. Driving in the US is monotonous, almost soporific. Follow lanes, no sudden stops, no maniacal turnings. Boring. Like the assemblies we used to have back at school. Everyone stand in line and follow each other. Curbs our independence.
Driving back home is an altogether different thing. Its excitement every kilometer, you need to be alert guessing if the old man would walk across your path right when you are too close. Keeps the reflexes well oiled.No way can you switch on the music and have a relaxing drive. Except maybe at 2 in the night. But not anymore in Bangalore. The call center cab drivers make sure you relax only after the car's safely parked in the garage (well, whoever can afford having a garage, else it's just the public road with all the alarms on high alert).
Drivers in America drive like the American do (always on the right). While back home, half the drivers drive like Indians should, on the left and the other half drive the American way, on the right.
You miss a turn in India, just turn around on the same side and merrily merge into the oncoming traffic to find your way back. And if your bike or car is upto it, just drive it right over the divider and across. Other drivers will generally understand. You must be in a hurry to get somewhere. Though some drivers might think you are really in a hurry to meet Him up there.

And you really get a good brushing up of your vocabulary on the road. Either directed at you or you directing at someone. While in America, everyone gets along with a wave of the finger.
It is like an nationally approved signal. Can imagine air hostesses showing the finger while welcoming you into the country. Can imagine AirIndia's Maharaja proudly showing off the finger instead of the famous bow. Hehehe.

A pedestrian crossing a busy street in Bangalore is really testing in the ancient scriptures of the belief in karma. Every time I have to cross a road, I say to myself "God, if I have been good through my life, let me reach the other side safely".

Why did the chicken cross the road in Bangalore?
It didn't. It just chickened out.

I have had quite a few incidents on the road myself. Once, I ran across after my friend and got hit by a bike. Nothing much except bruised elbow and knee skin. Another time, I jumped off a bus and chipped off my front tooth. Stupid driver didn't stop at the busstop.
Every time I look in the mirror, it's a grim reminder of what could have happened. I was lying face down on the road, arms flayed. Any vehicle coming behind the bus, and they would have had to scrape me off with a spatula off the road. Heh heh. shouldn't make fun. that could have been much more serious :(

Here's a nice time lapse video of the traffic in India. Funny to watch all the chaos. But what the heck, I revel in it. trying to sleep now. Maybe I should go for a drive. That should do the trick.

3 comments:

Prasad said...

Hi Prashanth:
Hope you are having a nice time in Memphis.

Your puns aren't always very funny, but this time your post definitely was. And the video, it rocked! I found it really really funny...wait a minute, isn't the video showing something we all should cry about :)

In any case, have a good time and keep awake on roads :)

cheers
chap

Prashanth said...

Hi Chap,

Yeah, having a pretty nice time, but the city doesn't have much to offer.

Thanks for the feedback :)
I know, the situation is pretty bad, but guess, we are just getting used to it.

Somu said...

Hey Prashanth, a very nice post and for once the PJs did get me ROFTL :p especially scraping one off the road with a spatula!!