Postcards From: A writer's journal and photographer's blog of just about anything that interests us.
December 2 2011
Did I mention the traffic?
I wrote earlier about the flexibility of road rules in Hyderabad, and from what I understand, it’s not just a local phenomenon, but a matter of national pride to get in/on your vehicle, enter the fray, and casually show the world you own the road between your starting point and your destination. For an Indian, red lights are merely a suggestion, the number of seats in/on a vehicle entirely flexible depending on how many people you wish to transport on a given trip, and jaywalking in rush hour ranks slightly below cricket as an entertaining spectator sport. But having done the half hour car ride to and from our hotel and the Deloitte offices for three consecutive days now, I will say that no matter how chaotic it seems, there are no better drivers than the Indians.
Indian drivers in rush hour perform a ballet of sorts. And they have to pay attention. Cars enter the intersections at speed, shift and float across lanes, swoop forward and to the side, then brake back before surging again to insert themselves into openings half their size. With a toot of the horn, they announce their intentions and go for it, all the while avoiding collision by mere centimetres. They are like a constantly moving school of fish or flock of barn swallows riding the evening wind. For them, it’s just the way things are. For a newcomer, it can be frightening. For me, it’s just crazy! But the fun kind!
Here’s a few raw video clips I took (reaching out the car window) of our morning drive to work, with many thanks to our excellent driver Ansar, who remained cheerful and polite in spite of my risky behaviour! Oh. And by the way. If you see the traffic cop at the end of the last clip, don’t get any fine western ideas about law and order. He’s usually just a suggestion too.