Driving in India

March 14, 2011

Here is a collection of notes made over time as part of a continuous description of being on the road in India, whether by bus, taxi, auto, or with Sunny:

-Driving in India is an exercise in controlled chaos.

-The constant deafening sound of two stroke engines is drowned out only by the shrill yell of car horns.

-Just when you think your cab could not get any closer to the car to your right while going thirty, he suddenly finds two more feet he can move forward, just barely missing the kid to the left and the dog running on the right. Passing and being passed, jockying for position.

-Mini truck 50 years past retirement, with a two stroke bellowing out thick black exhaust smoke that always results in coughing before you can get the window up.

-Asking directions while going 40 down the highway to a passing motorcycle with a family of five somehow clinging on, the father waving and shouting his reply with one hand and driving with the other, his eyes shared between you and the road.

-The inside of this cab is a rattling, shaking, bucket of parts, with a screaming gearbox, dents and rusting chrome outlining a bad upholstery job of Turkish carpet-inspired seat covers, the driver hawking and spitting paan ever few minutes, with only a little Ganesh on the dash keeping you alive.

-Horns are used for the exact opposite reason as in the states; at home we use them when someone cuts us off, here we use them when the person in front of us does not cut someone off.

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