Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Of perspective

Driving in India is a skill to be acquired by continuous and careful practice. If you've never had to drive on Indian roads, thank your stars - lucky you ! But there are some souls like mine that have to endure this mini-test of human patience every morning.

I live in a residential area, so there's this 2 minute drive I need to do to get to the main road. This 2 minute stretch feels more like an hours' drive, simply due to the plethora of potholes on the way. Moreover the road is so narrow that 2 cars have to practically kiss each other's rear view mirrors to get thru.

Ah ! and it does not stop there. This teeny weeny little side road is full of twists and turns, and not a soul honks the horn when coming from the other corner. That way I do not know (until the guy's vehicle is a micrometer in front of mine, that is) that someone is coming from the other side.

If it's a bigger vehicle (like an SUV), one party has to reverse and let the other one get thru , which always happens to be me, because I have the smallest car in the Indian market.

Until a few days ago, this was a source of constant irritation for me. The fact that noone else obeyed the rules was annoying. Even more frustrating was the fact that there was nothing I could do about it, other than to reverse my car into ugly-looking side roads whenever required.

A close shave with one of these umm....'drivers' served to bring a dose of perspective. I panicked, and stepped on the gas instead of on the brake ! In a second, I was back to my usual self, and avoided a french kiss with a transformer.

Here is what the incident taught me :

0. Pray before thee starts driving.

1. Be prepared for vehicles to come in un-announced. If none appears, consider it a blessing !

2. Expect potholes, bigger vehicles, children jumping in front of the car, reversals into side roads and the worst of all, the big lorries that use up the whole road.

3. Whatever happens, do not panic.

4. If indeed you panic, do not open thy mouth.

5. NEVER lose thy cool on the road. Everyone makes stupid mistakes.

A problem is only as it big as we think it to be. I read somewhere a few days ago that a child was born without a face. Two eyes and a mouth, but no face ! Over a period of time, the child has learnt to live with it.

And here, I worry about reversing my car onto a side-road.


Sachin R K said...

"I cried because I had no shoes, till I met the man who had no feet".

Hmmm, from your description of the sideroads, let me guess, you are from Bangalore. For me the greatest annoyance has always been the two wheeler drivers who always insist on overtaking from your left ( without any horn , of course).

stayingpositive said...

Sachin - Great quote - very apt!

And I am from Kerala. The situation here is just as bad (or good - depending on perspective) as that in Bangalore !

Anonymous said...

Quite true! Even though not in the driver's seat have felt the same abt the traffic nowadays in Kerala, esp in Cochin