On the long list of adjustments we have had to make while living in India, motor transport must be near the top. It’s not just that we don’t drive and must rely on public transport, or that the roads and cars are often in rough condition, or that they drive on the British (wrong) side of the road. It’s that Indian drivers are demonstrably insane. Also, they are geniuses.
Indian traffic is an ever-moving, ebbing, flowing dynamic entity. Just as water flowing downhill constantly shifts shape and changes direction to fill the space it is given, Indian traffic expands and contracts to fit the shape of the roadway. Lanes, if they exist at all, are only theoretical ideas and not meant to be followed in any literal sense. To the western eye, such weaving appears chaotic, disorganized and reckless. But to witness your cab driver navigate his way through narrow, twisting, crumbling mountain roads, while avoiding large cows and small children, is to see a genius at work. They aren’t careless drivers; they are more skilled and careful than the brain-dead automatons that occasionally nod off and pile up their cars on the 75/85 connector during the morning commute. They must be, or else they wouldn’t make it.
Remember: what seems like a risky maneuver is only risky if you don’t have the skills to pull it off. We salute you, brave drivers of India!
India 1; USA 1