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Driving in India

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Written on 2:41 AM by Mrudula

The Dutch Software Company, BAAN had opened an office in Hyderabad (sometime in 2004) and
had been bringing in some of their staff from the Netherlands to work in India. This is an article written about the driving conditions in India by Coen Jeukens, functional Architect for BAAN.
“Driving in India”
For the benefit of people visiting India and daring to drive on Indian roads, I offer a few hints for survival. This is applicable to every place in India except Bihar, where life outside a vehicle is only marginally safer. Indian Road rules broadly operate within the domain of Karma where you do your best and leave the results to your insurance company. So here are the driving hints:
Do we drive on the left or right of the road? The answer is “both”. Basically you start on the left side of the road, unless it is occupied. In that case, go to the right, unless that is also occupied. Then proceed by occupying the next available gap, as in chess. Just trust your instincts, ascertain the direction, and proceed.Most drivers don’t drive, but just aim their vehicles in the intended direction. Don’t you get discouraged or underestimate yourself. Except for a belief in reincarnation, the other drivers are not in any Better position.
Don’t stop at pedestrian crossings just because some fool wants to cross the road. You may do so only if you enjoy being bumped in the back. Pedestrians have been strictly instructed to cross only when traffic is moving slowly or has come to a dead stop because some minister is in town. Still, some idiot may try to wade across, but then, let us not talk ill of the dead.
Blowing your horn is not a sign of protest as in some countries where we honk to express joy, romance or just bare lust (two brisk blasts). Here, it may be to show your resentment, frustration, or just to
mobilize a dozing cow in the middle of the bazaar.
Keep informative books in the glove compartment. You may read them during traffic jams, while awaiting the chief minister’s motorcade, or waiting for the rain waters to recede.
Night driving on Indian roads can be an exhilarating experience. The roads do not have shoulders, only occasional boulders.
Truck Drivers are the James Bonds of India and are licensed to kill. Often you may encounter a single powerful beam of light about six feet above the ground. This is not a super motorbike, but a truck
approaching you with a single light on; usually the left one. It could be the right one, but never get too close to investigate. You may end up proving your point posthumously.
During the daytime, trucks are more visible, except that the drivers will never signal. Often you will observe that the cleaner who sits next to the driver, will project his hand and wave hysterically.
Occasionally you might see what looks like a UFO with blinking colored lights and weird sounds emanating from within. This is an illuminated bus, full of happy pilgrims singing bhajans. These pilgrims go at
breakneck speed, seeking contact with the Almighty and often meeting with success.
I must add a positive point also. Rash and fast driving in residential areas has been prevented by providing a “speed breaker” which is two for each house. This mound, incidentally, covers the water and drainage pipes for that residence and is left untarred for easy identification by the corporation authorities, should they want to recover the pipe for year-end accounting.
Good Luck and God be with you!

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2 Comments

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