Well, here is a post about the pet peeve for almost everyone in Bangalore* (Substitute “Bangalore” with almost every developing city in India for it to ring true for you!) Also, let me clearly state that I am not angry or upset with any of this – I’ve learnt to handle it for myself and will probably try to throw some light on how it COULD help those of you, who want to try out a few things!
Saturday was my daughter Shruthi’s birthday anniversary – and I had suggested that instead of us all going out to eat like we normally did, that she take her friends out for a movie and probably some snacks! I’d wanted to give this to her as a token of her completing 14 and well and truly on her way to being an adult. However, when Hema (my wife) spoke with the parents of the other girls, they were not too impressed with the kids being on their own – so , we promised that we’d take them to the mall, and be “in the vicinity” should the girls need any help.
So, here we were, 5 girls, 2 boys, Hema and I, in our trusted old Scorpio – driving through Bangalore traffic from JP Nagar to Forum Mall. A distance of about 7 kilometers, which ought to take not more than 15 minutes, ended up being a 40 minute drive! And while I was driving, I was observing what was happening on the roads that probably caused most of the traffic snarls (not to mention the increase in people’s blood pressure):
- A vast majority of the drivers do not have the most basic traffic sense – certainly they do not have common sense – seeing that it is so uncommon.
- A vast majority of drivers, especially 2 wheelers, have absolutely NO iota of consideration for anyone, including themselves (if they were sensible and had some consideration for themselves, they would not be putting their lives at the mercy of other drivers to drive cautiously)
- Enforcement is lax, and is almost non-existent at most places – the police only are interested in making money rather than enforcing the law.
- Almost all of the inconsiderate drivers think themselves to be the most intelligent persons on the planet – and this is coupled with thinking that everyone else is an absolute idiot.
- Almost everyone is completely oblivious to there being “lanes” on the road – well, for that at least we also have our town planners to blame – even when a spanking new road is being built, they do not have the foresight to build bridges at intersections – probably since by splitting up the process, they end up making graft money twice :). The net result is that someone who wants to turn right, starts from the extreme left (or vice versa) and holds up traffic in the process.
- Everybody is in a hurry –regardless of whether they truly are!
A few things that I have tried and that which has worked for me are listed here. I am not yet at a stage where I am able to practice these all the time – however, I MUST say that driving does not stress me out as much as it used to, for sure.
- Drive with a smile on your face – and try to keep the smile on your face when it is most difficult to. I can see you going “ WHAT? Smile when that %$#$%# cuts in front of me without a signal?” Well, the fact is that we MOST need to smile ONLY when something like that happens. It might not be possible at first, however, awareness is the first step to cure 🙂
- Slow down your speed by about 10%-15% of the speed that you presently drive at – it might be counter intuitive, and I can BET that you will reach your destination in about the same time that you would have otherwise. And, the bonus is that you are not stressed.
- Smile at all those who make trouble – and this MUST be a genuine smile and not a grimace :). Try and eschew sarcasm from your actions – this is SURE to make the other person think – and who knows, like the Munna Bhai Gandhigiri, we might even be able to make them change!
- Listen to classical / soft instrumental music while driving – these are proven to keep our tempers down and our wits about us. At the other end of the spectrum are loud / RAP / Heavy Metal kind of music.
- Follow the traffic rules, whatever the reason to break them. We might feel a little odd when we are the only person stopping at a red light at midnight – however, I have also seen that when I do that, at least 50% of the other vehicles on the road, stop. And it is apparent that the ONLY reason they stopped was because someone else had already stopped.
I think that if I write any more, some of you might get the feeling that I am sermonizing, which is NOT the intent. As always, and like the time I put off blogging, I wonder now, if some of you who chance upon this will find it irrelevant – and believe you me, this is then intended for those of you, for whom it strikes a chord!
Here’s to safe, comfortable and happy driving. May GOD bless you all!