Vantage point

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Cheap-Chocolate Blur

Traffic rules in India are meant to be not read, especially when you are applying for a driver’s license. What makes Mumbai an exception is something I have never completely understood, and which is the topic for a separate post altogether.

But except for Mumbai, lane-discipline, one-way streets, right-of-way etc are terms which may well be written using alpha, beta and gamma.

Even in the disorderliness, there is disorderly, and the there is sheer bloody-minded violent disregard, even contempt of traffic rules. An example of the latter in Lucknow yesterday resulted in my heart being lodged in my throat for a good hour.

We were in a cycle rickshaw, and this cheap-chocolate coloured jeep was speeding right at us, following the traffic conventions that belonged more to the American than the British way of driving. At the last moment, he veered off, speeding past us from our left!

Usually when people drive on the wrong side of the road, they do so gingerly, with a mix of caution and guilt. But this cheap-chocolate blur was just too much.

Oh, needless to say, it had a green-and-red flag fluttering on it, bearing the name of a political party we all know.