Thursday, 19 March 2009

'Driving Mr. A'

People who live in India or lived in India and learnt driving a car on the busy roads of major cities know that its nothing but the 'Survival of the Fastest'.

We Indians, have a unique way of manoeuvring our vehicles through people with road rage, endless number of pedestrians, street hawkers, crazy kids on bikes, aunties on 'Activas' with 'as slow as you can go' syndrome, the beggars and lastly the cows and dogs littering the road and bringing traffic to an absolute standstill whenever, they have the desire to just hibernate in the middle of the street.

Added to this chaos is the endless horn blowing by some mindless freak. As if the red light at the traffic stop is just a minor hindrance in his way.

Its been a pleasant experience walking on the streets of Lancaster. I am never in fear of being run down by some smart ass with a foot on the pedal.

We moved from the University 6 months(after 'A' finished his MBA) to town. We felt the need of a car after lugging groceries in the shivering cold. This prompted 'A' to get a UK driving licence. Here the process of getting a driving licence for the car is quite tedious. You apply for a learners licence then you have to first learn the rules and give mock tests online and then go for a written test. If you pass that, only then can you give the practical exam. Thankfully they drive on the same side of the road as we do.

'A' having cleared his written exam is now taking driving lessons for the practical test. He has been driving in India since he was 18. Learning these new rules is unnerving him since, the Brits have really strict rules. I have known people who have been driving for 20 years in India but who failed the practical test 3 times.

Unlearning the Indian driving tactics and adapting new ones is not so easy . The errors are not so much in the way you drive but are more so about the rules. Where to stop, when to stop, how to signal, how to approach a turn, a traffic signal or how to even stop your car. 'A' is at his wits end. Thankfully the instructor is a gentle soul quite unlike the instructor of one of our friend has, who gets frantic and frustrated and loses his marbles entirely.

I too will be going through this arduous process quite soon.

This post is making me miss India so much. I miss the traffic, the smells and the noise of horns ...nostalgia makes me think of the song...

' Babu samjho ishare, horn pukare...pum pum pum..'
'Yahan chalti ko gadi kehte hain pyare pum, pum pum.'

5 comments:

Aniruddha Kherekar said...

Very true. In India your just "Drive"! But here you need to plan ahead, make a strategy, evaluate your options, do a quick NPV analysis of the options and then drive. Makes you feel frustrated in the beganing.

But once you have got the hang of it, you realise that its a safe heaven on th roads since everyone (well, almost..) follows a set pattern.

Buut having said that, i surely do miss driving in India. Its much more exciting, entertaining and THRILLING.

Wish you all the best for your turn.

Ani

AmitL said...

Haha-Aquarius,I was missing trains in my post,and u're missing Indian roads..Well,Lancester,from the pics u put up,seems like a safe enough town to learn driving and drive...so,good luck..unlike out here in Dubai..after 7 yrs also,I don't have the mad urge to get a driving license,something most people here do..and, some do admit to me that I'm one lucky individual...coz I don't have to worry about toll gates,parking,fines,yearly renewals,cars blowing up in summer due to heat(Aisa bhi hota hai)accidents...:):):)Will drive once I'm back in Baroda,definitely.

Zee said...

hehehe..... I so enjoyed reading this blog. Da description was just perfect. Could perfectly relate to it as I am going through it myself.

Aquarius said...

Amit-The public transport in UK is very good but sometimes you do need a car since its cold all the year round and its easier and cheaper to travel by car.

Cars blow up?? must be a scene....

Baroda I miss that place and especially Alkapuri...

Aquarius said...

Zee- Good to see you commenting..I know you too can relate to it. I am Sure Karachi must have the same chaotic traffic like cities in India.
Do keep stalking my blog...

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