Friday, December 18, 2009

And you thought New York was bad

I've entered the land of the horns. Driving in India is a daily experience. I'm not quite sure there are rules, but people stop at red lights, most the time. Lines on the road? What are those? Drivers often pass on the right (likely due to the British style cars - driver on the right) and honk as they do so. If you need to pass through an intersection, you inch in until something decides to stop. Eventually they all stop and it is before they risk hitting you.

If it moves, it goes on the road. Cars, rickshaws - electric and bicycle, motorcycles, bicycles, cows, goats, donkeys, bulls and people. In fact, I even saw two camels today.

Cars often lay in a zigzagged formation and though I think the speed limit is 50 km per hour, I don't think you could go faster if you tried. People try to sell you stuff when you're sitting at lights and I find they harass Americans more. It surprises me that they never get hit. I suppose I'm even more surprised by the fact that I haven't seen an accident yet. I'm not used to being able to reach out and touch the car next to me. I'd hate to be a bus driver in this country.

We had a case on Tata motors during first year. The Indians tried to explain the essence of traffic and driving in India. Clearly, I didn't understand until today.

The lack of road signs also amazes me, not that our driver had a clue where to go anyhow. We have yet to use a map. And I'm not sure if GPS exists. It is typically my savior at home. However, we have asked everybody for directions and have found more informed than not.

The daily adventure that is driving provides much entertainment. Given that we will continue this adventure in the car for the next 8 days, I anticipate more stories.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Amardeep Dabass said...

In US ppl trust the others not to make mistakes. In India ppl trust others to make mistakes.

Gaurav said...

Yes! driving in India is a nightmare. I was in the US like a week back and it was an infrastructure shock for me:). So it goes for you as well. Some of my American friends term the harassment as "Skin Tax" :). But then, in a country where a good 40 percent of the population survives on USD70 per month, the lesser privileged do need to struggle to make ends meet and sometimes they go overboard in their quest to do so. Life in the hinterlands of my country is a shock to me, so I can completely understand your state of mind. Safe travels! May you discover the mystic that India is :)

Braveheart said...

Welcome to India!! :)

Any plans of coming to Delhi?? Would really like to catch up and get some gyan...and i will drive the car you dont have to worry :) ...

And beware you will find something called footpath but when roads are choked you will se cars on them...

MBA Aspirant said...

Welcome to India, hehe ;-) well we do have GPS, road signs nd nice high ways for sure, but only in terms of a country which is in developing stage, so u guys will definitely find it to be a WOW ride.
which city r u in? if its camels on the road then it dsn't seem like banglore, but quite like Delhi

Hemant said...

Welcome to India :)
This feeling stays only for 1 week, after that you will enjoying the driving as well as the other things. But unfortunately your stay is pretty short.