Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Driving in India- Hilarious one

An Expert who works in BAAN, Netherlands who spent two years in
Hyderabad, wrote this hilarious article.

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 intended
direction. Don't you get discouraged or underestimate yourself except
for a belief in reincarnation; the other drivers are not in any better

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 horn
to express joy, resentment, frustration, romance and bare lust (two
brisk blasts), or, just 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 rainwaters to recede when over ground traffic meets
underground drainage.

Occasionally you might see what looks like a UFO with blinking colored
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 (Baby Taxi): 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 teaspoon 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 metaphysical 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. Least 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

This mound, incidentally, covers the water and drainage pipes for that
residence and is left un-tarred 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 makeup of Chenghis 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.

Our roads do not have shoulders, but occasional boulders. Do not blink
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. Of
course, all this occurs at night, on the trunk roads.

During the daytime, trucks are more visible, except that the drivers
will never show any Signal. (And you must watch for the absent signals;
they are the greater threat). Only, you will often observe that the
cleaner who sits next to the driver, will project his hand and wave
hysterically. This is definitely not to be construed as a signal for a
left-turn. The waving is just a statement of physical relief on a hot day.

If, after all this, you still want to drive in India, have your lessons
between 8 pm and 11 am when the police have gone home and - The citizen
is then free to enjoy the 'FREEDOM OF SPEED' enshrined in our constitution.

Having said all this isn't it true that the accident rate and related
deaths are less in India compared to US or other countries. !!??

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