I had recently narrated an incident that occurred with me on the roads. HERE’s where you can read the article.
On my drive to office every day, I encounter a number of F1 enthusiasts who look at the pothole-ridden roads as a challenge to simply zoom forward. It’s become somewhat of a habit for me, shaking my head as driver after driver crams into spaces they shouldn’t be going into or drive by dangerously close even though the entire road is open to them. Isn’t there such a thing as being careful?
While the rest of the world is busy making their roads safer for their growing population, India is simply making sure traffic slows down. This, by leaving gaping holes in the roads, placing more speed breakers on them than should be the number, and ignoring glaring traffic violations. Of course, a major chunk of the population considers themselves above law and take advantage of this, acting like the roads were handed down to them as part of their ancestral inheritance.
Picture Courtesy: indiamarks.com
One of the major reasons why I dread learning to drive a car is the lack of common sense on the roads. Is there a cap on how much I’d have to shell out if some overenthusiastic idiot decided to overtake the car and dents the car instead? No, there isn’t. And it gives me the shivers.
Two-wheelers on the other hand, I’m used to. Of course, the number of people thinking of a two-wheeler as a machine to show off their nonexistent style, pigheadedness, and ego is way too high. I’ve seen Karizmas and Pulsars try to make their way through spaces that are merely a foot wide. And they are horribly mistaken if they think that that is going to earn them brownie points. I only feel like smacking them in the head. With a baseball bat. Attached to a wrecking ball.
At a traffic signal, common sense dictates that if you want to take a left turn, stay to the left. If you want to take a right, stay as much to the right as is possible. But India being Incredible and the drivers inhabiting it being even more so, there are those that cut across oncoming traffic in the opposite direction like they were born to rule them. To them I say: Someday, you’ll yell at someone who does this to you and I pray on that day that realization comes back to bite you in the ass. Oh, and that day, I will unknowingly smile, wherever I might be then.
Drivers feeling entitled to sweep the road with their vehicles are the craziest part of our country. Not its politics, not its cinema, not its roads. It’s the entitled-feeling drivers that show our country’s madness to the fullest. Imagine an auto-rickshaw swerving onto the road, a truck barreling on with no concern for traffic coming from either way, a car rolling through spaces it obviously cannot fit in, a two-wheeler bending either side as though kissing the road, and pedestrians crossing the road like they cannot see the traffic.
Oh yes. Pedestrians are at fault, too, despite many countries showering them with the status of King. Many stores call their customers King. But in India, pedestrians think of the road as their personal park. Many of them walk across the road like they have all the time in the world, or as if the drivers have all the time in the world. It does not absolve drivers of guilt and anger, but any sane person knows that neither driver nor pedestrian is exempt from using their common sense.
Despite the pedestrian-bashing, there is absolutely no doubt that India is home to more careless drivers than careful ones. It escapes my mind why ego and competitiveness take precedence over safety and courtesy. Or maybe this question bogs me down not only in this context, but in the larger picture as well. Either way, I know that neither question will be answered anytime soon!