Sunday, May 23, 2010

Code Red

When the British are ordered to stick to speed limits, they all grow worry lines. Jeremy Clarkson writes a new column, and people on holiday hold placards at an inconsequential square. Someone called Chad launches a new community on Facebook, with hateful comments from his pals and the 1,44,203 other users who would have signed up within an hour or so. When the same happens in India, well no, it doesn’t happen, sorry…

That ‘80’ sign you see on the expressway is simply a number to ward off all that is evil and cursed, nothing else. Worse – on the twisty bits of the e-way, some lunatic’s stuck a 30 placard. 30? That’s how much I can do on skateboards – backwards, and blindfolded.

I have never, and I really mean this, been on the e-way in a car going just at the speed limit, forget under it. Sit below a 100, and people will most certainly throw little bombs through your side-window. Under 80, and they stick their butts out, flashing fingers. 60 is what you do during your fling with the toll booth attendant. 40 is only just allowed if you’re running a flat tyre – if you go by the rules, you can run, you can hide, but you can’t stop on the e-way, my love. 20 is what lorry drivers do while they masturbate listening to Red FM’s Naughty Nights with Natasha.

But that’s it. Go any slower, and the people will burn your house down and take your children away to the Rann of Kutch - where they will be distributed amongst vultures. But come to think about it, I’d rather organise for them to be fed to large birds (because I don’t have children) than have our Red Baronesses run them over, left, right, and worryingly, centre.

Pune’s dailies carry, at the very least, one report of a road accident. More often than not, the deceased is a motorcyclist, run over by an errant lorry, or increasingly, government run public transport buses – PMTs and PMPMLs. PMT (and PMPML) drivers are infamous for their careless, often ruthless, driving style. Lurid tail slides, optimal opposite lock, the works – move over, Tiff Needell. If style points were civic phenomena, out bus drivers would score Top Gun.

This week, I am suffering from a multi-grudge syndrome, in that I have not handpicked One face of our rather large populace, but Two. Woohoo! First in line to be shot are aforementioned bus drivers. It’s bad enough they go from 60 to zilch in 1.1 seconds – in the centremost lane, of all the topography available to them. What’s worse is they get from 0 to 60 even quicker, often sideways, giving your new car a striking new paintjob and a spot of flame surfacing.

Second in line, is the ever growing breed of motorcycle conversationalists. These are not the sorts who discuss the finer points of counter-steering having parked by a tea-stall. These are families of four, or politico-wannabes, discussing horseflies, or something else that I couldn’t care less about – whilst riding! Repeated honking has no effect on them, and don’t try gentle ramming either – they are helmetless, and will be killed instantly once you run them over. And you’ll spend the rest of your life in an 8x2 cell, with someone you will recognise immediately – the bus driver, no doubt, in the ‘hanged unto death’ waiting list.


  1. Pune seems to be a proverbial mirror to the traffic conditions in rest of India. Bangalore is marginally better. Hyderabad is the worst of the lot. Surprisingly, I think Chennai traffic, by far, is the best. Not the fastest, mind you, (that credit goes to Delhi and Ahmedabad) but decently well behaved. I am actually dreading the new car arrival. Getting the heebie jeebies, if you will. :(

    Ride safe, my friend.