What the HONK!?

Kolkata traffic can be summarized in a few words as “Honk, honk, honkity-honk, honk honk honk.” Puncuated liberally by the yell, shout and the sound of the rickshaw blow-horn, which I swear, was invented to emulate a dog’s yelp.

natWhen I landed in Kolkata airport that morning, I took a deep breath to smell my country. And I got the familiar aroma of singara, kochuri, luchi aar aloo’r dum.

And the whiff of urine someone had relieved himself of. Smoke, beedi, diesel, petrol and lebu-cha (lemon tea). 🙂

City of Joy.

In the taxi ride from the airport to my residence, to put it simply, I was sh*t scared. The driver was maneuvering through traffic like a complete maniac, with barely a few inches margin between the car and the object of terror. Brrrr. Pedestrians and bicyclists were treated like maggots. And the incessant use of the honk to get into that little space between the bus and the road divider. Oh wait, THAT’S NO ROAD DIVIDER! That’s ANOTHER BUS! May be the bus was used in the 1942 Quit India Movement. Those things should not be on the road. Really.

Anyway, in retrospect, may be Indian driving has always been like this. May be I always needed to cross roads like that because everything on wheels was out there to kill me. May be because I have seen a different kind of driving in another law-abiding country, lawlessness on the road is more pronounced. Meanwhile, I wonder… before getting used to the US style of driving, I wondered… when I used to drive in India, did I drive like a madman too? Probably.

Photo courtesy: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20061223/nat.jpg

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