Short prayer for motorcycle riders
I would not tamper with the live-and-let-live style of Indian driving.
,Vying for the attention of the driver in India, in addition to all the humanity and machinery on the road, are redundantly deployed potholes and speed bumps, uninterrupted text and voice messages, a forest of oversize, panoramic billboards and signs broadcasting everything from political messages to Vodafone ads, and whenever it is possible to see past these, breathtaking views.
Passenger cars in India share any width of road with an assortment of trucks, bulldozers, pushcarts, three-wheeled auto-rickshaws, fondly referred to as u201cautosu201d and loaded with as many as five fares, motorcycles and scooters carrying two, three, four or five riders, both astride and sideways, buses many of which appear to be pre-state vintage, bicycle riders of all ages, large numbers of pedestrians, a few aimless cows, and an occasional elephant.
,u201cSeat belts are not required,u201d noted wryly our gallant driver when he picked us up at the Cochin airport, noticing that we were searching eagerly for the familiar accessories of travel.
He had spoken very precisely.
In the back seat they are not required by law.
u201cBut they are highly recommended,u201d we thought.
We were wrong.
Against the hazards our driver faced from oncoming trucks and taxis in our lane, avoided in the last second by a slight turn of the wrist, leaving perhaps a few inches to spare, seatbelts would be entirely ineffectual.
The forces of G alone would be enough to euthanize one instantly and, one hopes, painlessly.
,Here is a link to a short video we shot from inside our car.
(Do you recognize the background music?) ,,nTraffic, by nature, endeavors to fill all empty space ahead of it.
In the democratically minded post-French revolution western world, a large number of rules have been enacted to ensure that this is done on a first come first serve basis, for maximum fairness and equity.
In India there are few rules, properly speaking.
There is a vague directive to give preference to the left side of the road, if possible, but it is by no means considered binding.
At any given moment any vehicle can move in any direction.
An observer would be hard put to glean the main points of Indian traffic law by watching a group of vehicles trying to make a right turn at a busy intersection in Bangalore.
Much of the time our intrepid driver was facing a rush of oncoming traffic that briefly parted before him as the Red Sea, enough to let us pass narrowly, and coalesced behind us as soon as we passed.
Drivers in India rarely speed (traffic on Indian highways averages around 30 km/hour), but they tend to maintain the same speed regardless of the density of traffic.
Of course, if there is no alternative, they occasionally stop.
But as soon as the opportunity arises to open a new lane where previously one did not exist they take it, wherever it might lead.
If western rules were enforced in India, with the volume of traffic that Indian roads must transfer during peak hours, and given the unequal ability of vehicles even in the same class to proceed with dispatch, it would mean that at times patches of road would not be covered by transport, which would painfully reduce the efficiency and throughput of the roads.
,The initial encounter with Indian traffic induces sheer panic.
Unsuspecting passengers find themselves pumping the brakes constantly and inhaling quickly.
After a few days, however, the terror transforms into bemusement, then admiration at the impersonal, efficient, and elegant handling of it all, indeed its superiority to what we are familiar with, say, in Europe, the US, and Israel.
The first difference is in the use of the claxon.
Indians drive with their hand on the horn, but the meaning of the music is quite different from what we are accustomed to.
Honking in the first world usually means u201cHow dare you?!u201d u201cYou moron!u201d or u201cPeople like you should have been shot when they were little!u201d The message is underlined by the aggressive, sustained duration of sound, long after its usefulness, if there ever was one, has expired.
Honking in India may mean u201cLook out, Im coming!u201d u201cMove over a bit.
u201d u201cDont even think about it!u201d or u201cYou can do that as soon as I pass.
u201d Before prayer Hindus ring a bell to draw the gods attention to the fact.
Sounding the horn is similar in intent.
It has absolutely no moral content.
It is not aimed to teach a lesson.
It is not intended to correct the driver at whom it is directed.
And it is not meant to convey the superiority of the honker over the honkee, as amazingly, the ego of the Indian driver is in no way invested into the success of his maneuvers on the road or his progress relative to other drivers.
Once competition is out of the picture, driving becomes a lot more goal-oriented.
The law takes a similar view of the matter.
When our resourceful driver, at an intersection, passed in the oncoming lane seven trucks waiting to turn right, and that right under the watchful eyes of a policeman directing the traffic, the latter simply waved him on to clear the intersection faster.
,The Indian driver who passes a slower vehicle does not do it to improve his relative position but because he perceived an intolerable empty stretch of road ahead and strives to cover it.
To do so he must move into the opposite lane of traffic in view of the oncoming bus, fully expecting it to sidle over a bit and give him a little room, at the same time honking briefly to let the vehicle he is passing know of his intention, so that it too can provide a few more inches of space.
And if at the same time he is being passed on the left by a motorcycle that has occupied the theoretical space formed between our vehicle and the one being passed, this is perfectly alright, and our driver will in turn offer whatever accommodation he can.
All this is done with a great deal of elegance and ease.
The Italian word is sprezzatura: making a difficult operation look effortless.
The success or failure of any maneuver is not a point of honor.
The driver doesnt insist, and if the move is not feasible he relents and waits for a better opportunity.
This he does with such fluidity that he hardly ever has to slam on the brakes, a good thing too, given the wafer-thin space between vehicles following one another.
Traffic law in India could be summarized in one phrase: live and let live.
The Indian driver entirely trusts his life to the cooperation of the other people sharing the road with him, and his trust pays off.
Traffic-related fatalities in India are exactly the world average, whether measured per population or per number of motor vehicles, much lower than in most of Asia, and half that in countries with far lower population densities and stricter enforcement of traffic rules.
(List of countries by traffic-related death rate),It turned out after all that our car did have seatbelts, but that their various components were snugly tucked away and out of sight behind and under the back seat, so as not to interfere with the comfort of the passengers, and simultaneously to furnish them with the opportunity to express their confidence in their driver and in his colleagues, as they rush toward each other in the same lane.
Motorcycle prayer Quotes
Here are some of Them::Time waits for no man, time is obviously a woman.
Two wrongs dont make a right, take your parents as an example.
,I can totally keep secrets.
Its the people I tell them to that cant,Im really good at stuff until people watch me do that stuff.
Thats the governments job.
If I ever need a heart transplant, Id want my exs.
Its never been used.
,My job is secure.
No one else wants it.
,My ex wrote to me: Can you delete my number? I responded: Who is this?People who write u instead of you.
What do you do with all the time you save?,Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I cant see.
,I made a graph of my past relationships.
It has an ex axis and a why axis.
What do you call a laughing motorcycle? A Yamahahaha.
,As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools.
,A good wife always forgives her husband when shes wrong.
,Women should not have children after 35.
35 children are enough.
,The only dates I get these days are software updates.
The first 5 days after the weekend are the hardest.