Saturday, July 17, 2010

At your own risk

Just last week, we drove to Bangalore from Tirupati.  That was an experience, I have been driving in and around New Jersey and some other states in USA for a decade now, but, I am still nervous to drive in India. The driver we hired to drive us was a very calm man, who preferred to be quite but, my husband made that a very difficult task for him. It started with one word answers to my husband’s frequent questions, and soon by the end of the trip he was able to talk more than a sentence.
Coming back to the driving part,   there are 2 parts to it. Driving in the city/town is an experience and driving on the highway is another experience.
As we started our drive at 5.00am in the morning (running a half hour late from our plan), the scenery around the highway was not enough to keep our visuals engaged.  Everybody drove or treaded the highway at their own risk. The people who drove, the animals who passed by these roads and us passengers. Overtaking or passing other vehicles is so common, highway being a little more than 40-50 ft wide for both going and oncoming traffic. The drivers did that at their own risk. At one  place a group of dogs decided to come on to the road suddenly and there was a screeching break by the driver. Then the road cleared and the driver continued and the passengers relaxed. At 8.30am we reached the outskirts of Bangalore.
Bangalore is undergoing a humongous expansion (this word doesn’t do justice to the site we saw) , the city that I visited as kid for our summer vacations, when I used to pass through it on my way to college, or even when I visited it around 6 years ago has disappeared. In its place is a huge unending expanse of developments and localities, shopping places and hospitals that are springing up everywhere. I haven’t heard of the word ”Diabetology” until I read that on one of the hospitals, Institute of Diabetology, Research and development.
With the unending potholes, road expansions and repair, swarming traffic, and trusting fellow road travelers for directions it took us a little more than 2 hours to travel a distance of less than 25 kms from the city limit to my brothers place in Bannergatta.  The passerby’s were ever so generous to tell us which way we should be heading.  When the traffic signal changed to green and they moved ahead, we still saw their fingers out of their vehicles pointing us in the direction that we needed to turn.  Finally, after lots of phone calls to my brother for directions and with the help of the other road travelers we reached my brothers place at 10.30am.


Rachna said...

Very true, didi. Driving in India is a pain. This was a post I had written about driving in India. My agonies on driving on the Indian roads. You might enjoy reading this one ;)

gayatri said...

Hi Rachna, read ur blog..u have put it so well and I can understand ur frustration because u are dealing with this, day in and day out.

But, the reason that you are still able to drive around is because you have figured out the method in this madness. There is a method in every chaos and hat's off to u Indian drivers. Yesterday, as we sat in the car in the congested traffic on Road No 1 in Banjara hills, on the way to the airport, there was a car beside us driven by a women and a passenger women, both were talking oblivious to the madness around them..We were envying their calmness there.