Driving in India is so much different than driving in the US. I’ve written about the various traffic similarities earlier, but today I wanted to focus on the differences.
1) If you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere.
Driving in India is like playing a video game – You have to dodge other cars, autoricshaws, stray dogs, buffaloes and aliens to go to the next level – the next signal. The challenges get harder at every new level. You also get a few weapons to help you play the video-game: The right to use profanities and various gestures with the hand that can be used against different villains. If you brush your car against another, then you have to get out of the car and the game turns into Street Fighter! If you’re really good, you can practice some Mortal Kombat style fatalities and provide entertainment to the other players in the video game.
The Corollary is also partially true – If you can drive only in the US, then you can’t drive anywhere else. You’ll be so used to rules and lanes and driving mundanely that the excitement of playing this real life, multiplayer video game called ‘Exxxtreme Driving Bangalore!” will probably cause you a heart attack.
2) You don’t have to worry about pedestrians in India.
I’ve always believed that Pedestrians are a necessary evil of society. Sort of like the Calorie and Fat information on chocolates. They are completely ignored all the time, but for some reason, need to exist on every Chocolate bar. So, imagine my shock when I found out that Pedestrians have the right-of-way in the US! I mean come on! That’s just stupid on so many levels. Firstly, Footpaths are for Pedestrians, and they should not be allowed on the roads, even Zebra Crossings. After all, the don’t let cars drive on the footpath, do they? And secondly, Pedestrians are the evil mutants from another planet who are spying on us earthlings. Have you noticed how these spying pedestrians constantly look at you when you’re driving towards them. Their stare gets even more glaring when you increase how fast you are going towards them.
That’s the reason I like driving in India is because the pedestrians have the last-right-of-way. The official order is: (by importance)
2) Killer Trucks & Buses
5) Stray Dogs
7) Dirt, Dust and Garbage
3) Driving in India is a very spiritual experience
Driving in India will really restore your faith in God. You’ll constantly be praying and hoping that you’ve not used up your quota of Luck when you cheated in your exam and didn’t get caught. I’ve been in this worrisome situation many times, and I’ve always wondered which God to pray to. We have millions and millions of them in our tradition, and there is no clear distinction as to whose domain ‘Traffic Problems‘ falls into.
Which brings me nicely to the need to create a new God for Traffic. I propose that we derive inspiration from Spider-Man, who, if you’ve noticed, despite living in a crowded city, never seems to have any traffic problems. Our “Traffic Hero”‘s name will be ‘Udta Hua Macchar‘. He’ll be like Spider-Man, but instead of being bitten my a spider, our Hero will have been bitten by a giant Mosquito, and will have acquired all the super powers of a Mosquito – Namely to appear out of nowhere and be present everywhere.
If you’re stuck in Traffic, all you have to do is pray to our “Traffic Hero” (The prayer, incidentally, goes like this – Goooooiiiiiiiiii, Gooooiiiiiiiiii – That’s “Help Me!, Help Me!” in Mosquitoeese) and he will swoop in from the sky on to your car/bike and carry you safely with the help of his powerful wings to your destination. And in return for this help, you have to let him drink your blood, but that’s a small price to pay to avoid traffic.