Cross Section of The Indian Driver(up-the-wall)

I like to think I have travelled a bit – so I do know what I am talking about when I say the average Indian driving on the Road is unique. I do not think any one country has the same diversity of species as can be found on our roads.

Forget roads.

One road.

Any one road in India will have at least one representative of all the following species.

Mr Thinker

That one man who will stop his two wheeler at the busiest intersection and of all things – think. I always wonder. What is that profound thought occurring to him at precisely this moment? What could it be that cannot wait ?

Socrates with a theory.

Einstein with a breakthrough.

A new financial policy ?

A way to eradicate illiteracy ?

The end of terrorism ?

Right there. Right then.

You have to stop in the middle of the road and think. Stop at the busiest turn. Look left – look right and see the oncoming traffic. But remain zoned out.

Into this place of incredible enlightenment.

Mr Philanthropist 

His heart is enormous and generosity unparalleled. From the windows of his car will come bottles, plastic and other fun non biodegradable stuff. He will pitch out wrappers.. subway sandwich leftovers.. water..a plastic bag… an unwanted relative or two…and when he has nothing more to give he will give of himself. Literally. Body fluids will be dispensed left right and centre.

At the RED signal – he will open the door of his Fancy RED car and spit out RED fluid – smile at his neighbors and go on unaffected without waiting for thank yous and accolades. Such a warm giving unselfish heart.

Mr Left-is-Right

He is the one with the right indicator on when he wants to turn left. The one who will take the left most lane when he wants to turn right. The one who will look  bewildered at you standing in the right lane – because according to his poor little mixed up mind – it is the wrong lane.

How can you stand towards the right when you want to go right ? How incredibly foolish and so sadly predictable!!!

Mr Politician

He is the one who will make the most noise for absolutely no reason at all. None. He will honk behind you at a red signal. Like Dumbledore you are expected to wave a wand and make the signal green so that you can move out of the way of his highness. He will Honk EVEN when there is absolutely no one on the road. Empty stretches of pristine road. And STILL he feels the need to announce his arrival. Empty vessels making the most noise and all that.

And he will go that extra mile to outfit his scooty with the horn of a truck – just so that he can make an entrance !!! So you hear a jarring siren and literally jump to the left imagining an 18 wheeler behind you .. and there he will be on a mangy little two wheeler grinning from ear to ear shuffling along like an 85 year old.

Mr Boss

He is the guy who will park at the doorstep of the shop he wants to buy something at. It doesn’t matter if that means double parking or triple. It means that for 20 min traffic will be reduced to a snail’s pace because a two lane road has been reduced to 1/2 a lane by the parking skills of a donkey. If it were possible to park inside the shop – he would. Most of the time though he will park badly in front of the shop and call out – chotuuuu… and make the proprietor come out to deliver his stuff. God forbid he needs to walk two steps to his destination. He may drop dead.

All land is his.

All parking spots are his.

All bumpers of cars he will dent because of his superior sense of orientation – are owned by him.

Even his car number will be 1 or 8088 – with the 8’s designed to look like Bs.

Mr Stuntman

He is Ajay Devgan from his Phool aur Kaante days. Weaving in and out of traffic. Jumping signals. Sucking his breath in and squeezing between a truck and a pedestrian. And the most dare devil act of all… taking on a school bus head on. Everyone knows school bus drivers are the most vicious of them all. The phone numbers written behind the bus in order to complain probably keep ringing off the hook.

Mr Diarrhea

He is in a perpetual hurry. On empty roads – in traffic jams. Red green orange blue violet signals – they all look the same to him . Yellow. The color of diarrhea. The kind he is constantly afflicted with. The reason he needs to race against time all day. An upset stomach. I usually make way for such people as a rule. Poor chap.

The difference between him and the stuntman is that the stuntman mainly is a daredevil. Not really in a hurry. This chap has an agenda. He isn’t doing it for the thrills. He genuinely is in a hurry. He is a stuntman with diarrhea.

He is the guy we should send to represent us in the olympics.. he will bring home the gold for us every single time. All we need to invest in for him are – adult diapers.

And Finally

Mr It-must-be-a-woman

This is most special species of them all. The ones who combine all of the above species and still blame all traffic mishaps on women drivers.

He has his left indicator on and turning right – bangs into a woman on a two wheeler and yells – ladeez..chalana nahi aata. ( Ladies .. dont know how to drive)

Is half drunk and bumps into the car ahead – ladeeeez park karna nahi aata…(Ladies dont know how to park)

Is speaking on the mobile and a woman dares to honk behind trying to move ahead – speeds up extra and says… what else ? Ladeeeez

And on a parting note –

If you are stuck anywhere -anywhere –  behind a parked vehicle – in traffic – in a narrow lane where the oncoming traffic is blocking your way – behind a broken down truck – at a signal – behind pedestrians jaywalking -at a blocked road because some genius has decided to erect a shaadi ka pendal mid road – in the middle of a procession on the road –   if you honk asking people to move – they will give you the quintessential Indian traffic gesture. No no – not the middle finger – that is western and oh so boring.

The Indian one is – right hand out and beckon…. like – come forward come forward – don’t worry – the road will widen on its own – space will be created on its own – things will move out of your way – your car will shrink – Angels will come down from heaven and escort you – soft instrumental music will play in the back ground – all you have to do is just be brave – come forward – come forward.

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FIVE THINGS I LEARNED AFTER DRIVING A NANO FOR 5 YEARS

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1. People really DO believe that if its cheap – it is bad. Poor Ratan Tata – set himself such a stupid task – to provide a cheap car for people who cannot afford to buy a more expensive car. Little does he know that they would rather walk around in 47 degrees than sit in a car that costs so little. If you don’t have to sell your soul to buy a commodity – what good is it anyway?

2. People who don’t have 2 paise to rub will be the loudest in ridiculing something cheap. Like the Nano. They will be in cycle rickshaws and in age old broken down vehicles and wear clothes that have seen better days – and THEY will say – hahha… Nano..with a sneer.    I say – hahaha…really? I am here sitting with a roof over my head while you are out there getting drenched in the rain – and I am the one getting laughed at ?

3. People will make comparisons that are so illogical that either they have to be eccentric geniuses or complete buffoons. I shall not comment on what I think they are.

eg. They will will talk about a Nano not having airbags.  Airbags. I mean seriously. Most cars that cost three times as much don’t have airbags. And if they do – they have all of one – for the driver alone. Like the passengers lives are worth nothing. But nooooo a car that costs so little MUST have them.

Like the bikes they ride have airbags and they have spent their entire lives in a cushioned bubble.

Like the Nano is capable of such incredible speeds that an airbag is mandatory.

Like airbags ALWAYS deploy.

4. There are two kinds of people. The bullies and the ones who are bullied. The Nano is that kid at the school playground who will get pushed around by the kids who grew up too fast too soon. Everyone prefers to be the bully because it beats the other option doesn’t it ?

5. If you are mad enough to say you like something cheap – people will give you that – ‘We know.. you poor thing -grapes are sour’ look of sympathy.

Do you think I should send in an entry for one of those shows – (wo)man vs wild(car) or Fear factor etc?

I mean after all – This is the 6th year of my driving that unsafe, airbagless,cheap,noisy, nothing-better-than-an-autorickshaw car. And I survived.