Sunday, February 13, 2011

Indian Traffic & Life

Travellers from outside India, when talking about their first impressions about India, will tell you that they were completely shocked by the traffic. That when they were being driven around in cars, they were extremely scared. Indians who have lived in countries in Europe or the US, even for just a few years, come back and find it difficult to understand the traffic here. When people have lived outside India for sometime, they are really scared to drive here... EVEN people who have never gone anywhere outside India find the traffic really horrible most of the time.
And of course there are many factors that make it what it is. The two main categories are -
  • Infrastructure & authorities
    • The condition of the roads
    • The way the constructions /repairs are being done on the roads
    • The amount of traffic compared to the size of the roads
    • Insufficient & sometimes careless authorities (even people responsible many times do not know what is right and what is wrong)
  • BAD drivers
    • People who drive on the wrong side
    • People who do not follow the traffic lights
    • Many, many people who drive without knowing the rules
I get very annoyed while driving mostly because of the bad drivers. We all travel on the same roads, so the infrastructure factor is common for all of us. But the second factor, bad drivers, make it even worse. And they make it especially bad for the drivers who follow the rules.

Having said that, recently it has struck me that Indian traffic is really like Life!! :-) The traffic in US, for most part is very orderly. No body's life can be like that. And if it was like that it would probably be extremely boring.
In Indian traffic we start with an idea of getting some place by certain time, but will we get there in that time, no one can be sure. That's so much like what happens in life!! Also, in Indian traffic people, carts, cycles, two wheelers or cars, basically many different things keep coming at you from any direction at any speed - that's how life is! In life too, things keep coming at you at different speeds and from various directions. In Indian traffic, we see many people getting ahead of us who we know don't deserve it or we feel are getting there with wrong means. That too is so much like life!!

And sometimes you are taken completely by surprised and you have a wonderful experience with people being fair, following rules not being too pushy and you managing to get someplace ahead of time. Is this about (Indian) traffic or life??? In my opinion, both!!


  1. And life isnt so bad... so the traffic too aint so bad...

    People may be surprised but my brother and brother-in-law have been driving around the city and outside without using the horn... I mean can you imagine driving in India without going honk.. honk, but they do drive and I know for sure because their horns don't work :-)...

    ...And get to their place of work on time.. or before time... another marvel isnt it..

    Life indeed is full of surprises ;-)

  2. I think the message here is important. There is a trend to call such things as speciality of India which still has novelty but across the web we need to say it is bad simply because there is too much of waste in this system be it fuel which the country can not afford, our health due to stress and jerks, be it time which we can spend better than in traffic (this I am kind of neutral on simply because I get time to hear some music while in car). This waste is beyond acceptable limits and needs to be cut down and can be cut down. Life is uncertain but why help increase the uncertainity. Somewhere in my mind I feel the helplessness in our minds may be turning us to look at this positively but if we categorically deny to paint this positively and start calling bad as bad along with our thoughts to improve, things will not change. I would rather join you to call it bad and contribute to improve it.

  3. Jitendra, I don't quite agree with you. Traffic IS bad. I can definitely imagine driving in India whtout the horn. I honk very little (many times not at all). In fact one of the problems is also that people honk too much! :-)

    Hemant - I completely agree with you. Traffic is bad - no doubt about it. And while I compared it with Life, I meant to really compare the unpredictability. Not that its OK or we should just accept it.
    And while LIFE's unpredictability is not in our hands, traffic is this way because of people!! Which is the real bad thing.