Maneuvering around the craters aka potholes and the mountains aka speed breakers is only one of the several challenges when driving in India’s by lanes. Added to that challenge is the many types of drivers themselves. Let us look at the psyche of the many tribes of drivers that are peddling the lanes.
All the drivers feel that they are riding on a two wheeler. Does not depend on the size of the vehicle that is being driven currently. It could be a three wheeler or the auto, the small car or the gas guzzling imported SUV. They think that if there is enough space for the front wheel of the motor bike to squeeze in, they can get their vehicle in, irrespective of the size. So you will find during the commute, a scene where a huge SUV has just shouldered into a tiny space where just a fraction of the front of the vehicle fits in and inevitably, it is the same mind set of the person driving on the other side. So you will find another car or jeep stuck in the same position on the other side resulting in a jam. Then the good traffic Samaritans get out and start directing the traffic with all kind of hand swinging, confusing the life out of the two drivers of the stuck vehicles. Lot of gesticulations and loud instructions are chain passed (one passing to the other until it reaches the destination) resulting in more confusion. All this makes for a good watch unless you are in a hurry and need to reach a meeting in record time. Moral of the story, never give car/jeep/SUV/lorry license to anyone who had a two wheeler license in this life or past.
‘I cannot decide my lane and I will not allow you to decide yours’, is the next category. These are people who will drive between the lanes veering into one for some time and to the other if that seems to be moving fast. It is like those indecisive shoppers who keep hopping between check out lanes at super market counters. Inevitably, their quest for speed slows them down and others behind and around them too. End of the day, if you stay long enough, you can see that this confused person will reach the destination the last. In India people are just getting used to lane discipline and it is these followers of Confucius that make it is difficult to stick to the lanes.
Then there are the ‘Kamaikaze’ drivers on the motor bikes. I firmly believe that they are reincarnations of the pilots of the Second world war who could not fly to their hearts content. The dare devilry that this tribe displays is outstanding. Sometimes, I feel like pulling over and cheering the crowd. But then it is so risky to ride around them that one feels as terrified the threat of a bomb blast dangling above the head. They will break so close the car that you can count their eye lashes.
In the technology world ‘disruption’ is the new buzz word. They might have learned it from some drivers of Bangalore. This creed will disrupt everything on the road and make them stand on their head. Their vehicle, others, pedestrian, nothing can stop them. They can surmount and go ahead of anything and everything irrespective of the size.
These days there is a new class ‘Fresh of Boat’, because of the young ones coming from the small towns to become Uber and Ola Cabbies. They have little or not experience driving in traffic seas. They might have driven in towns where there is one or no traffic signal. I totally sympathize with these drivers because they have come in pursuit of livelihood, but then they add to the traffic chaos.
Street buses driven by ambulance drivers, School buses stopping at every turn, the ubiquitous auto wallahs who will stop anywhere anytime are some of the many factors adding to the entropy that is called traffic. In all this, can we deny the color on the road? See the picture above to confirm the same.