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Reasons To Hate Indian Traffic

Does Traffic irritate you as much as it irritates me? What, it doesn’t? Either you have the tolerance of a Zen guru or I must really really hate traffic. True story. When you live in a city like Mumbai where the roads are narrow and driver’s licenses are available to 18 year olds like Polio drops are to little kids, you tend to realize how much you hate Indian drivers and their penchant for driving like your mother on a good day. Now I’ve started to notice recurring patterns (I have a lot of time to think about these things, in be-tween moving my car up an inch an hour) and I’ve decided that, one fine day, I will trick these crappy drivers into signing a ‘petition’ on my specially prepared Death Note (watch or read the manga if you haven’t. For ONCE, the Japanese have made something good and not weird).

I will now briefly categorize a list of things you will encounter on the road along with why they so royally suck.

Rickshaw swarms, amongst many things, are the reasons I hate rickshaw drivers. Happens to me every time I’m driving back home in the middle of the afternoon. Devouring every square inch of road-space available to them and putting you in the frustrating position of “Should I bulldoze through? SHOULD I?” The annoying and most commonly known fact about auto rickshaws is that they’re the most reckless jag-offs on the street. This stems from the fact that their vehicles are small, easily manoeuvrable and as cheap as the compliments I dole out so freely. It also stems from the fact that rickshaw drivers are impatient, rash and in all probability, not breast-fed as children. Honestly, driving with high concentrations of alcohol in your blood isn’t nearly as bad as driving with high concentrations of idiocy in your blood, and rickshaw drivers regularly drive like they’re drunk on idiocy. I weep for days when there are rickshaw strikes because I tell myself that this is the end of rickshaws altogether and they keep coming back the very next day! It just hurts me in so many deep and irreparable ways!

Well, I can’t fully blame pedestrians for willingly offering themselves as sacrificial road-kill. I mean, there are so many areas where the line between pavement and road are completely blurred. Here’s the thing though. Even on streets with a clearly defined separation between walking space and driving space, pedestrians don’t seem to give a flying hoot if they’ve promoted themselves to a needless extra red light. Some of them will halt you with an open-palm as they cross your path. Some of them will halt you with an open-palm as they let a large group of people cross your path. Some of them will even stand there in the middle of your path just for the fun of making your life miserable. And it might just be me and my impressively terrible luck, but they always seem to do this when the bloody traffic light is green. I mean, come on. Seriously? You couldn’t find the time to cross when every impeding car was at a standstill? My favourite part is when they choose to randomly celebrate in the middle of the street every couple of weeks. It’s always some festival, or some wedding or some other pointless reason to clog up traffic. It’s always the same dress-code, the same music. And the music will make you head-bang. Is it metal? No! It’ll just you make you bang your head against your steering wheel and make me come up with ridiculous jokes like this.

Is it just me or is the annual death toll for two-wheelers just not high enough? I really hate having to handle two-wheelers with kid-gloves and then instantly having to tolerate their verbal abuse as they narrowly avoid murdering themselves against my car. Don’t get me wrong, two-wheelers are awesome. They’re cheap, durable and have excellent mileage and are much easier to park. But then there is that widely increased risk of injury, death or douchebaggery. I’m going to emphasize that last part as the most serious risk that no two-wheeler should take lightly. Now, if you’re half-way good at handling yourself on a two-wheeler, you’ll never take these risks lightly. If you’re like practically the rest of the two-wheeler population, you’ll consider yourself an immortal stud of the street, free to ride as you please. I have once laughed for a full minute when I saw a motorcyclist fall over after stupidly attempting to slice through traffic. He didn’t die, of course, otherwise I would’ve laughed for two. And note: cyclists are not excused from two-wheeler douchebaggery. They’re probably worse, given the fact that they really shouldn’t even be on the road and the fact that they can crumple and die with even greater ease. And, hilariously enough, they take these risks even less seriously. Hurray!

Time to take a sip of my coffee laced with 100% pure hypocrisy. Just the way I like it. See, it’s easy to wail on two-wheelers until you realize that they simple suffer Smaller-Vehicle Syndrome. As a smaller vehicle, you naturally tend to want to move through traffic faster and more efficiently than bulkier more space-consuming vehicles. Two-wheelers fall under the same frustration (not saying they’re fully justified for being total douchebags. Just that they’re, at least partially justified for being total douchebags). Now to partially understand some of their tribulations recall every instance you get blocked off by a bus or a truck or a car that’s approximately the size of the former two. It can be pretty damn frustrating, right? They just don’t budge and they treat your vehicle like it’s completely invisible. And dammit, bigger vehicles can be such hogs when it comes to space distribution, aside from the fact that they don’t even have the courtesy of driving faster than you. Buses, for some strange reason, always want to ram you into a divider. I’ve always made a constant mental reminder to never drive alongside a bus unless I have a quick and easy opportunity to overtake it. Linger on for too long and you’re playing a losing game of Road Rash with them. As for bigger cars, understand that they’re probably also more expensive than yours which means they’re forced to drive that much safer, even if it comes at the cost of making your life miserable.

In short, there’s nothing to love about driving down anywhere when it’s not a rickshaw strike (god bless those days. Every single one of them) or when it’s not at an unearthly hour. From what I hear, it won’t be long before jetpacks and flying vehicular transport becomes a glorious reality! Of course, our traffic will most certainly blot out the sun and the resultant chaos (and there will be plenty of it) will result in a lot of crashed vehicles raining down along with paan-spit dropping on our heads like pigeon-shit. On the bright side, we could use the shade.

| articlestwitter |  

Abhay Gupta
What about me? Well, I don't know really. I could be brooding and nihilistic or bouncing off walls like flubber on crack. I categorize and analyze everything because I get bored easy. I'm a tv buff, movie buff, comic fanatic, atheist and meme-literate. I follow the words of a wise and all-knowing philosiraptor who once said: If one enjoys wasting time, is that time really wasted? And finally, cheesecake.


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