Tuesday, May 12, 2009

If you are in India, don’t follow traffic rules

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, goes age old wisdom. And that’s a wise course of action to follow in pretty much any situation. So, when you are in India, it makes sense to completely ignore any written or unwritten rules of traffic, road safety, or road behaviour.

In upcountry or rural areas, there are few cars, and the ones that exist practically own the road. The highways belong to the heavy vehicles, the buses, trucks and trailers, and woe be to anyone who takes panga with them. The cities though, are a different story. Urban Indian roads are a free for all where anything goes and the rules don’t matter. In fact, in some cities like Hyderabad, you will actually be honked at, and cursed out, for stopping at a red traffic light! That’s right! It happens only in India, as a Bollywood song says. So, don’t stop! God gave you the car to be a sort of juggernaut. Drive straight through, the destination awaits!

Traffic rules are things that happen to other people. Unless there is imminent danger of being stopped by a traffic cop, and having to shell out some money, ignore all of them. Lanes are meaningless, and the white or yellow line painted on the road is actually to remind you where the exact center of your car is, so make sure you drive on it, with right wheels and left wheels at the exact same distance from it, on either side.

When you want to go right at the coming intersection, make sure you drive on the extreme left of the road, and then make a sharp cut to the right about two meters before the turn. Never, never, under any circumstances, use your indicator signal; you don’t want the weirdoes out there to know what you are thinking! Let them wonder! Keep them guessing until the last possible second, and then change lanes or turn very, very quickly.

If you live on the wrong side of the road, don’t even bother to drive down the right side of traffic to the next gap in the divider and then taking a u-turn. Wimps do that. Just drive down the wrong side, into oncoming traffic, and let the other drivers fend for themselves! Who do they think they are going down the correct lane? Who gave them a license anyway? This road is your father’s ancestral property. After all it’s a public road, and you are the public! Don’t be cowed down…. Take them on!!

Wanna admire the shop window? In the middle of traffic? So what? Just slam on your brakes and stop! Let the bugger at the wheel behind you figure out what he is going to do. It’s not your problem. Are you holding up traffic? Well, so what? What president Obama is stuck behind you? These small worthless people don’t deserve any consideration. What the hell is their time worth anyway? Swerve when you like, speed up when you like. It’s your car, your rules. If one of those idiots so much as touches their car to yours, don’t forget to get out and create a scene, in the middle of traffic if possible, blocking and delaying as many people as you can for as long as you can. They have boring lives…they deserve some drama!

There are no such things as one way streets. All streets are two-way, no matter what the notice says. Drive straight down and never mind all the idiots honking at you. You have a horn too; use it as often, and as creatively as you can. Its like music to drive with, make full use of it. Park wherever you like. It’s all public property and you are the public. The no parking signs are just for show. Don’t pay any attention to them. Ignore all rules! Welcome to India!

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