How many people here have been to Delhi? You need not be proud of that. Even I am from Delhi. You guys should know what IST is. IST is the only time zone on this planet where the clock hits 10:30 for the 10:00 clock meeting to start. And it is not our fault. The Delhi traffic is unpredictable. If google says it will take 15 minutes to cross a stretch of 2 kilometers, it could take anything from 5 minutes to 5 hours. How can you plan anything? Today I will talk about this unique beast called the Delhi traffic. It is very different from 101.
Road rules are different in Delhi. There is no lane driving and no speed limits especially the minimum ones. Everything shares the same road. A Merc(Mercedes) can lose to a hatchback in a race. Especially if a bullock cart is participating. And if there are cattle on the road, a bike might be the only one reach the finish line.
Drunk drivers are not an issue in Delhi. They have people with a variety of health problems. One of them are the constipation drivers. It takes them a lot of effort to step on the pedal. Everyone is waiting. The light goes green. It won’t go greener. But these guys don’t leave until the first biker jumps the red light.
Then there are the loose motion drivers. They find their way. A gap over there and a gap over here. If you are not driving bumper to bumper, they will squeeze in. And as soon as they get a complete opening - “Badhaam”. They are always in a hurry. Even if they are going to pick up their mother in law, they are in a hurry. Then there is another category called the dementia rivers. These are difficult to locate. You can meet them whenever you hit their car. They come out shouting - Do you know who I am? You know who you just hit. Do you know who my father is? Maybe I should just call him up and tell him that I’ve found your missing son. In the age of cellphones.
But these are normally not the causes of the unpredictable traffic. There is this another category of vehicles. When the rules for motored traffic were made, they crafted two types of licenses, a two-wheeler and a four-wheeler. These people invented a new vehicle category - called the three wheelers or auto-rickshaws. And since three wheelers are between the rules, they have no rules for them. They are literally the moving speed breakers. You know when you are going up at 70 km/hr, you see a fly over. You then start going up a fly over. Suddenly in front of you, there will be an auto, going at 12 km/hr, overloaded with 10 different limbs hanging out of 10 different sides. It is running on CNG. Overloaded auto, on CNG going on a fly over. Like an asthma patient going up to mount Everest ….EEEEEEE… It can die any time. But that is not the biggest problem. The bigger problem is that it is taking over another auto that is running at 10 km/hr.
In Delhi there are different uses for various parts and pieces of the transportation system. The lane markers are parking boundaries. You can safely park your car as long as you don’t ouch the line. At least one lane should be free. The traffic signs have a wide variety of uses. From notice boards to hawker stalls, there is use for everything. You have a drying rack for clothes at every intersection.
The horns are used for declaring that you are driving. If you see a car and it doesn’t honk for 10 seconds, it must be parked there.
The hazard lights also have a different meaning. They could mean anything from - it is a hazardous situation - “my wife has gone shopping”, or it could foretell a hazardous situation “ I am gonna break all speed limits”. You don’t need them in case of a real hazard. A few hundred people will gather around you within a few minutes all looking at you – What happened? “That car came from nowhere. It really hurts.” “Ok. You should call the ambulance.”
There are many advantages of driving in Delhi. You can easily appreciate the improvements of a century of the car industry. Those cars are really a tough bunch. After Delhi, you can drive in any part of the world. As a defensive driver, you will never get hurt. God save the others on the road. If you ever go to Delhi, definitely drive. You will fall in love with driving because the other options - like buses and railways – are much worse.