Post-independence India has drawn many a British traits that still reflect in our constitution, our lifestyles and our society. Some of them are the English language, the cake cutting culture, the blazers and most importantly the traffic rules. Like the UK even India has a right hand left side drive. The British introduced the keep left rule in India and left but today we employ left right and every speck of motorable space left.
Have a scientific and calculative temperament
Some creepy crawly snails who come to think of themselves as the likes of Schumachers and Hamiltons inch slowly on the right side rendering the ancient rule of ‘Overtake from right only’ a primitively silly idiom triggering the adrenaline in you leaving no choice but to zip from left.
If you are on the left you are at the mercy of the matadors of human jallikattu or the boon giving gods, the buses whose kindness to mankind could often leave you with a screeching jolt as they can be stopped anywhere anytime by simply hailing with a raised hand or by a little pat on their back. They act like the A380s of the Indian roads who can take large number of hanging passengers all along its way for many sweaty hours.
They move like beastly asteroids in the galaxy of traffic often dropping meteors and comets from their left side in the form of people jumping out even when there is no stop, occasionally they also spew toxic waste from their windows both on left or right side in the form of paan or sputum that could emanate a shower of abusive fireballs by an affected victim who is often a neighbouring two-wheeler or a juggling jaywalker.
Some spirituality during peak hours
This is not all the Indian roads are festooned with the frenzy of the 3tyred wonders that can zip zap zoom from the extreme right to extreme left like Rajinikant and put James Bond to shame. They can block and vilify the convoy of lane disciples at a free left turn or simply choose to doze off stretching their legs out at 65degrees on a tapered road in peak hours. These echelons of grace can mobilize a poll strategy or even help you understand the law of gravity on a rainy day, in fact it is this clan that went on to discover that the earth was really round and round and round. Their efforts towards women empowerment are laudable as more and more women today are learning driving and completely owe their new found freedom to these all..mighty’ mess..iahs. Hypothetically the reason for the notoriety of this humble clan can only be attributed to your karmic repercussion of the misdeeds in your past birth because these rickshaws simply work on Murphy’s Law of mysterious motion you see, they stop when you don’t want them to and don’t stop when you want them to.
Research on Symbolic gestures
A little research into the dynamics of gestures doesn’t hurt as you need to decipher those various hand and head signals sometimes even eye signals while driving on Indian roads. A jaywalker’s show of palm without looking at you as if to bless you invariably means ‘stop! I will cross the road no matter what’, when this hand is rotated clockwise by a fellow driver it means ‘stop honking and wade clear’, continuous honking in a definite pattern during a red signal means ‘what the heck I am colour blind’, a hand sticking out from the left window of a truck however indicates that the indicator is not working or it could even be the case of a tired cleaner simply stretching out so don’t attempt researching these one eyed Cyclopes as they can race, roll, reverse and swerve at their own impulse blowing you with the blackest of smokes and living up to their punch line of ‘Boori nasar wale tera moo kaala’ .Their traditional lineages can be found raging on highways looking their bejewelled best sporting even more trendy slogans to give you some food for thought.
India is a country of diversities this you can witness on every street. Cycles, trucks, pani puri gaadis, BMWs, bullock cart, buses, bikes, buffaloes, cows and cars plying and vying with each other, farting and fuming at the moody red flicker who has gone into a reverie. United they stand at the altar of the traffic signal closing the gaps to win the cup of traffic race waiting for the red light to turn green and say ‘Amen’ as that buffalo cuds his grab buoyantly posing like a showstopper on the median oblivious to the symphony of beeps and bleeps from honking vehicles coupled with the rhythm of the tireless eunuchs and beggars who knock at every window that seems like a catastrophic jugalbandi with the FM radio guys who sweat their mouths out behind those speakers.
I switch off from this din amid vibrating splutters and look around, a biker struggles and wriggles like a worm to pluck out something from the inside of his trouser pocket, he then sticks it inside the helmet and tilts a perfect 45degrees cradling that priced possession on his shoulders under his helmet “Hello, I am driving I will call you later”, oh is that all! But why did he even take the call l as I begin to ponder he disappears zigzagging into this everyday hubbub only to get started afresh tomorrow.
The Great Indian Traffic inches on………….