It all began in amusement, late one evening on the road, when I found myself in an unusually compassionate state of mind, forgiving people from behind the steering wheel. Suspicious enough to mentally pull myself over for driving “under the influence”. But it turned out pointless, because you see, nobody has devised anything to sniff out endorphins. So I sat back and played the all forgiving observer. “Honk away, it’s not your fault…was it ever?” “Oh you may as well cut across after that humiliating exchange with your boss.” “If YOU don’t jump signals then who will??”
And smack, how a memory of a couple of articles, more than 10 years old, showed its face again as the effects slowly began to fade away. Somewhere an Ostrich raised its head from a cloud of cough syrup.
Here is what came up. One, a radical view on why our cities need to retain non-motorized modes of transport like bullock carts and why we need to stop expecting pedestrians to get off the road. He had been my hero for the rest of that day. And the other was about lateral thinking and how Indian roads naturally lent itself to it!With St. Marks road in the process of getting more pedestrian space than road space, the first is almost a reality! The second, well, it’s not in the least restricted to just when you are in a state of natural or induced, road euphoria.
At other times it’s about being lazy. To get angry. When it becomes easier to stare through the indifference of the cops.
Or mulling on something while gently nudging cows out of the way. Or getting into a staring contest with buffaloes. Or thinking of outguessing goats and the direction they are gonna head. These are the blissful moments; the nasty ones come with a Ferris wheel of teeth grating rage and bile spitting spite; throw in some megalomania, misandry, mockery, and every other human condition and add a liberal dose of muleheadedness – our roads have room for all these and more.
All said and done, when nothing else works, hope these come handy. A few, from the I-try-not-to-break-these-rules list.
If you find yourself behind an auto or Wagon R, never try to predict which direction it is gonna turn. (Wagon R drivers, don’t hate me, but I’ve seen too may Wagon R bad drivers to dismiss it as a mere coincidence!)
Never, ever mess with a Taxi, bus, a truck or an Innova.
Taxis are the scourge of the road. Never take on one in any kind of ego battle.
Keep an exit plan ready, in case you run into that Karma driven maniac.
If everything else fails it’s okay to totally and unrestrained-ly lose it. After all you are merely human and traffic rules are just an illusion you are running after.
Why India will always be a mystical land. Bring on the snake charmers and the elephants too. We’re not going anywhere, any time soon.
It’s not funny, though.