This is one of the levels of the popular PC game “Road Rash”. Sadly I play this game in real life daily. How? My daily drive from my home to the college where I work is nothing short of Road Rash’s The City but of Level 5. The description “Nasty traffic and zombie pedestrians” does no justice to the categories of people I come across while driving. Unlike the kicks the biker in the game has, I am armed only with :-
# A good horn (Transition from Bajaj sunny to TVS scooty gave me a powerful battery charged horn)
# Okay brakes
# Good maneuvering skill (Yes I haz them! Not like the girls or aunties whose vehicle drives them instead of the other way round. They seem to have absolutely no control of their vehicle. I have seen many actually drive with one foot down always!!)
# Plenty of scornful/reproachful/frowning looks.
# My patent dialogues :-
मरने के लिए यही रास्ता मिला है क्या? (Got this road only to die?) – For those who don’t stop crossing a road and come in front of my scooty.
सिग्नल कौन देगा? (who will give signal?) – For those who turn suddenly without proper indication.
लाल बत्ती नही दिख रहा है क्या? (Isn’t red light visible?) – For those who can’t wait for the light to go green.
With these weapons I set forth daily (except Sundays) to encounter the following specimens :-
1. The Vikram – Betaal Jodi :- Guys riding these type of bikes with higher back seat.
2. The Spitters :- These people just turn their heads while driving and spit either the remains of a paan or saliva onto the road, without seeing if anyone is overtaking them. Sometimes I wonder if they suffer from hyper salivation. I used to think only guys have this disgusting habit until one day an auntie proved me wrong. I have the morbid fear of being caught in the line of such a spit someday. 😦
3. The Undertakers :- Actually these people are those who overtake a vehicle which is already overtaking another vehicle and while doing so come into the opposite lane. So they act as undertakers – people responsible for you ending up down under after death.
4. The Jai-Veerus :- Just the famous duo from the movie Sholay, these people are inseparable. One friend drives bike and another on cycle keeps his hand on his friend’s shoulder and thus moves effortlessly along with his friend on bike. Then some people decide to stop their vehicle suddenly and chat with their friend(s) coming from the opposite side; thus blocking the traffic.
5. The KG drop outs :- These people have never attended Kindergarten and its various levels. I know this because they don’t seem to remember the basic traffic rules ( For example walk/drive on left side of road; Look to your left, then right, again left before crossing the road; overtake from right) that are taught in KG.
6. The Honkers :- These people keep on honking their vehicle horns even when the gate at railway crossing is closed or has just opened. They seem to think everyone else there is standing out of pleasure and have no intention of moving.
7. The Mobikers :- These people are inseparable from their mobiles even while driving. Nowadays even girls can be found to belong to this category. I wonder whether they get a crick in their necks by the end of the day.
8. The Singers/Whistlers/Oglers :- Singers/ whistlers range from 18 yrs to 50 yrs and can be identified by their tendency to burst into some Hindi song the moment they see you overtaking them in their rear view mirrors. Oglers are more hazardous to traffic as they tend to lose sight of road if there is a pretty girl anywhere in vicinity.
9. The Color-blinds :- These people ranging from truck drivers to cyclists can not distinguish between red and green colors. What else can be the reason that they dare to risk their lives and keep on driving even when the light on their side is red?
10. The Three Stooges :- Last but not the least, I pass by 3 traffic policemen standing at the busiest junction of my town monitoring god knows what and whom. If they did not move their limbs once in a while I would have assumed them to be actually waxworks!!
If I continue with more categories, this will be my longest post ever. How is one supposed to have good health or work with a fresh mind after all this daily stress? It wouldn’t surprise me if I am a high blood pressure patient soon. But one thing is sure…driving on an Indian road daily provides the brain just as much mental exercise as Sudoku. I won’t suffer from Alzheimer’s in my life at least. You can download and read a hilarious account of driving in India by a Dutchman here.
Related posts :-
Arvind Iyer tells you how to jump lights at junction.
Smita tells us her own traffic rules.
Nita asks us the solution to India’s high accident rate.