Sunday, April 16, 2006

Driving in Chennai

is clearly an art form. Its just plain crazy to drive on these roads. For one, there's no concept of a lane, so people just love to weave through the smallest gaps without any indication. Pedestrians cross half-way before turning back to look if there's any on-coming vehicle. Most I guess, attribute the first right of passage on the road to the pedestrian - strolling coolly while chatting in the middle of the road is a common past-time. What really takes the cake of course, is the auto. Encountering one is enough to drive jitters up the spine of the most astute of drivers. For these, driving is a series of brakes, jumps and left-right jerks. One cannot even raise an eyebrow, for the fear of being doused with the choicest of expletives.

As a pedestrian/bicyclist, I never used to realize how bad darting across the road is to the nerves of the on-coming four-wheel driver - it was just plain fun, or maybe a dash of heroism. Now, as I learn to drive these bigger machines which do not possess the maneuverability of the two-wheeler, I realize that the surest way to get a high blood pressure is to drive a four-wheeler in Chennai.
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