Friday, April 12, 2013

We're Gonna Die !

 It’s hard not to think you’re going to die when you hit the road in India. Aside from the fact that, from an American perspective, they drive on the wrong side of the road, no logic is apparent on Indian streets and highways. I asked our guide Devender about this and he admitted Indians drive erratically. “Driving isn’t tested in India because there are far too many people,” he explained. “An instructor would have to test four to five hundred people a day and that just isn’t possible, so we all learn on our own.” 

This becomes interesting when the roads are choked with cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, tuk tuks (motorized rickshaws that swarm like locusts) camel-pulled carts, sacred cows, goats and the occasional elephant, not to mention people walking in the streets.
The sound of traffic is deafening; a cacophony of blaring distraction. Horns are used to let others know your location. A driver on a moped with three other family members (no helmets) doesn’t jump out of his skin if a bus creeps up from behind and lays on the horn. The driver simply moves into oncoming traffic to let the bus pass. Many times it appeared that our bus driver was playing chicken with vehicles barreling toward us at high speed.
Also, there are a lot of quarries in India, and while driving through them you do not want to be seated in the back of the bus. Riding a camel is a lot less painful. I never saw a traffic cop in India, yet I never saw an accident, no collisions of any kind.
This seemed to be the order of things concerning animals in traffic:

#1 Drive around cows and do not honk at them; they are sacred. Indians firmly believe in
reincarnation. The cow you’re disturbing might have been related to you in a previous life.

#2 Nudge goats and lambs out of the way with the bumper of your vehicle.

#3 Dogs are everywhere but they’re too smart and nimble to get hit by moving traffic.

#4 Cats hate India and are not to be found. Monkeys might have eaten them all.

For the rest of this post, travel to the new Chubby Chatterbox (here) and sign up for my India Adventure Give-a-way.


  1. Love the post the pic because the pic you posted is Pakistani road, rush hour time.:)

  2. I'll never complain about my commute again. In a lot of ways, your descriptions remind me of what it's like to drive in Mexico, sans monkeys.

  3. Monkeys eat cats? You're joking right? I've never heard of that. I'd think that it would be other predatory animals (like dogs) or even humans who are eating the cats.

  4. I couldn't deal with that. I'd need a handful of Valium.


  5. Hahaha all i can say is - welcome to india ;) I really like the way you wrote this ! your blog looks filled with awesomness ! Thaanks for visiting my blog and appreciating my work , I am now following you :)

  6. You hear stories of Indian traffic all the time. I'd never thought of the driver testing before. We have no idea of a dense population. I'm one who doesn't like malls because there are too many people. Your descriptions of India are fantastic.

  7. A few years back, the producers of History's Ice Road Truckers hit upon the bright idea to send at least some of the stars from the show to other parts of the world. Evidently, driving on an ice road was not required. For one of the first places they went was hauling construction equipment from Delhi up to some construction projects in the mountains of northern India (I think). I could only watch a couple of episodes because of how ridiculous it was to me that there is enough money in this world to pay someone to drive anything there--let alone a truck! Natives notwithstanding, of course.

  8. Can you imagine that driving test, if it existed? There'd be way too many animals mentioned! Cool trip! I had a similar experience driving in Ecuador.

  9. "a cacophony of blaring distraction" Nice job squeezing Cacophony into a sentence.

  10. I would be horrified; in fact I am just by looking at the picture. Great job of describing the place. Now I don't have to go there--I wouldn't.

  11. I was amazed at a tale of a friend who had purchased a new car in India. The first thing he did to prepare the auto for driving in India was to remove the side mirrors. Strange how the chaos and disorder is much safer than our organized roads.

  12. Now I have this picture of cat-eating monkeys... it's not pretty. But it would make a great short story!

    The Indian traffic reminds me of the downtown streets in my beloved Dominican Republic. I swear traffic is something to be studied and too complex for mere mortals who pretend that they can survive it by just following the signs (when they are there). You won't have a hard time seeing a man, an woman, two children and a few bags travelling on a tiny motorcycle. And, of course, there is the sight of people hanging from buses' open doors...

    Ah, how I miss home and its exotic (nearly deadly) attractions ;-)