For the past month or so, I have had the unenviable opportunity to pound the streets of Kolkata and suburbs extensively on my beast, covering around 120 kilometers a day on an average. What started as a an ordeal, owing to the unfortunate circumstances, which made me make those trips, after a few days, it became more of an eye opening philosophical ritual, when I metamorphosed from a grumpy and frustrated Bike rider to an enlightened one, whose senses had become “Darwinisque”, only that Darwin realized the law of evolution, and I realized the law behind how mindsets work while driving! Below is my take on what kind of drivers are found on Indian roads.
“Flow as water” Drivers – When you pour water anywhere, it simply finds any available path to flow, till the time it is either forcibly stopped, or loses its critical flowing mass. Following the same principle, this set of drivers would move their vehicle into any and every empty space on the road (and on the footpaths), irrespective of any lane restriction. As a result of this phenomenon, you may find some vehicles facing altogether a different direction with respect to where it intends to go! Hence you may come across an enchanting kaleidoscopic view of “Vehicle mesh” (with some vehicles facing north, while others facing north east etc.) on a Road which is supposed to be running from East to West! The philosophy followed by these drivers is “creating opportunities”! They eventually result in creating traffic congestions, which are quite difficult to de-congest!
“Bikers turned Car Drivers” – This category of drivers have had (or are still having) a profound experience of riding bikes, and carry the same mind-set while sitting in the driver’s seat of a car. Hence, more often than not, they misjudge the space available in front of them, and force the front of the car into a narrow gap, which won’t allow the rest of it to pass! Result – Your guess! More often than not, you would find such drivers putting side wheels of their car on a footpath in the hope that they can make optimum use of space available, a-la, a bike!
“Horn Happy Drivers” – This kind has strong belief on the power of sound! They believe that blowing a horn can blow a hole in the wall of traffic in front of them (irrespective of whether the traffic signal is red in front), so that they can make good use of the hole. Another line of thought on this type of drivers is that they probably love talking, and hence while driving, in the absence of any fellow passenger in the vehicle, they talk to the whole diaspora of drivers by blowing horns.
“Musically oriented Drivers” – This kind is a subset of the “Horn Happy” category, on that they specialize in blowing the horn rhythmically, which can go “Trran Trran…. Trann trann trann….” or any other rhythm. They believe that the holes are indeed created in the traffic wall, if the request is musically placed instead of being aggressively harsh.
“Catch me if you can Drivers” – This kind resembles the cute pet dog, who wants to play with you. It would bring a ball or a toy at your feet and urge you to take it so that it can show its fighting spirit in not allowing you to do so! “Catch me if you can” drivers would, for no apparent reason, overtake you on the roads, and after travelling for some time, would slow down and allow you to pass before repeating the same routine. This would continue happening till the time your routes diverge! This is mostly seen in case of young bikers (typically without helmets). They basically try to demonstrate that they have come of age, and can challenge the world.
“Habitual Protesters” – This is a very common category. Whenever you overtake this kind, they would make their displeasure known to you by blowing the horn once or twice, but would not necessarily settle the score by overtaking you back. Their annoyance is quite short lived, and they would patiently wait for the next “Over-taker” to exercise their “horning rights”.
“Eternal Followers” – Imagine this. Vehicles are waiting at a crossing for the signal to turn green. Things are very orderly, and all the vehicles are standing behind the stipulated waiting mark. All of a sudden, a bike or a car crosses that mark and makes another few meters and stops. Immediately, some of the vehicles, which had been an epitome of patience and discipline come to life and make their move to be level at the first offending vehicle. The idea is, “I was not the first! I just followed the pioneer”! The eternal followers for you! J
“Drops of Water makes an Ocean” – Imagine yourself waiting in a traffic with the vehicle in front of you is just a meter ahead, with no other space available to you to pass. Hence, you decide that wherever you are, you should stay put, till the time the vehicle(s) in front start moving. But then, you hear an insistent horn behind you! When you look back, you find a biker or a driver with pleading eyes urging you to move a few inches, so that they can also make a similar progress. Gaining an inch or two assumes paramount importance, because these are the inches that would add up to give you meters and kilometers!
There are quite a few more types, which are currently under observation. Would like to hear from you all on other types that you may have encountered. Wish you all a happy reading and brainstorming.