Life in India… – I

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There are many things that comprise Life in India. One cannot and may not classify them under any one blanket judgement.

Traditional – yes. Freaky modern – also yes. Family bound – yes. Infidelity – also yes. Snow – yes. Greenery -yes. Deserts and thorny landscapes- also yes. Karma – yes. Karmic Yoga – yes.  Corrupt politicians – also yes. Astrology – yes. Occult-yes. Feng Shui and Tarot cards – also yes. Religion- yes Atheism – also yes.The Audi Q7 – yes. Bullock carts at a traffic signal – also yes. Aishwarya Rai – yes. Innumerable village beauties- also yes.  Joint families – yes. Living in with partners – (more recently) yes! … and the list goes on. What I propose to do in this series (if it comes to that) is to highlight a facet of Life in India each time – sometimes great stuff and sometimes not so great.


To drive a vehicle in India you need special skill sets. Not everyone are equipped with those. According to popular belief – for driving you need hand-to-eye coordination, good judgement on the roads, adherence to traffic rules, and maybe a little bit of first-aid knowledge . In India, you need all this and more. I reiterate.

1.What would you do if – you are in a car going in one direction, and find yourself sandwiched between two huge luxury buses that are going in the opposite direction, trying to overtake each other – and therefore converging towards your car? Hand-to-eye co-ordination? I think not.

2.What would you do if – the bike rider behind you decides to squeeze past in the unbelievably small gap between your vehicle and the median? Good Judgement? Hmpph… And wait- this awesome racer will not go with the regular traffic flow, but will cut across vehicles twice his size in nano seconds to reach the other end of the road – in order to have a tender coconut!!!

Taking a turn when the board explicitly forbids it

3.If you escaped the other two situations , you would definitely have encountered the following one. Ceterus paribus (all things remaining the same) imagine cruising along the road at a normal speed, probably trying to get to office on time – I am sure you would have met this girl. She is a skinny coy girl, head bent down and crossing the road, unaware that you are coming at her in your luxury contraption. As you grapple with the wheel to avoid hitting this helpless girl – you find out that she was on auto-pilot as she crossed the road, head bent down – not because she was timid to make eye contact, but because she was texting! First-aid knowledge? Maybe a little …

Like I said before, you just have to be more talented to drive in India. You need more soft skills like – thinking out of the box (which you will have to do sometimes in self-defense) , physical skills like – good neuro-muscular coordination and extremely high reflexes, and a spiritual side too – an instant connection to the power above to save the many lives that you meet on a daily basis – on the road. And I forgot to mention the one quality stands between you and raging Insanity – Patience.

Woe betide you if you are a woman. Every man across every section of the society subscribes to the one opinion that – if something has gone wrong, it must be YOUR fault. The oestrogen. It does not matter if the guy in front of is tipsy after a little drink or just wallowing in his own EGO . He will unashamedly ask you ” I wonder why they grant licenses to women?”. And if you are wearing Sunglasses, the average Indian male registers your presence as a visually challenged person. So for women, the quality mentioned above alleviates to -Extreme patience.

Well to give you a fair idea, the 3 situations mentioned above are not stand alone situations. They happen all at once. The 2 buses coming at you, a bike guy trying to squeeze in between, and when you come out of the blind spot – you spot the “blind” girl walking slowly towards her destination. Add to this the separate rules that exist for the autorickshaws, the pedestrians who eat into the roads because there are no platforms, the people fitting banners and flags, the dug up roads, the cacophony of horns – You are finally in the everyday Indian driving situation!

Bikes, Autorickshaws and Cars - each trying to overtake the other. The Buses are missing...

I seriously believe that if you can drive in India, your skills are definitely easy to adjust anywhere else in the world. It is just like a video game – but the difference being – the first level is just as complicated as the last, and that you have just one life instead of three!!!


9 thoughts on “Life in India… – I

    risingbharat said:
    February 25, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I should not have read your article. I am planning to go for my driving classes from next week :).
    Probably need some more trinkets and prayers .

    Good read

      Mathangi Jeypal responded:
      February 25, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      Ha ha… As Indians -we are endowed with these special skill sets. So not to worry..
      Anyhow my prayers … and Best of luck for next week! 🙂

    ataraxiphile said:
    February 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Hahahaaa! Loved the last bit comparing Video games to driving on desi roads!

    Sukanya Ramanujan said:
    February 27, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I know the feeling- having driven on these roads for the last 12 years. Sigh! And yes on these roads it is always the woman’s fault – grrrr!!!

      Mathangi Jeypal responded:
      February 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      Tell me about it!

      Mathangi Jeypal responded:
      February 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Tell me about it.. that is gonna take a long time to change!

    Malou said:
    February 28, 2012 at 3:39 am

    Great post! About the driving style, so similar in the Philippines as well. 😉

      Mathangi Jeypal responded:
      February 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Malou! Thanks for your comment too 🙂

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