Welcome to my city….!!!

Henceforth you''re going to be tailgating ad infinitum, on the potholed, narrow bumpy roads, infested with the rivulets of spill over flowing from the choked-up drains.
Welcome to my city….!!!
File Photo/GK

One hand on horn, one hand greeting; one ear on cell-phone, one ear listening to loud music; foot on accelerator, eyes on chick-looking pedestrians; conversation with someone in the next car, welcome to my city!!!. Forget looking for an orderly driving…..it's more a cerebral reflex or the universal understanding (the visceral knowledge) than an orderly plan that keeps things running in our part of world. You don't drive, but aim vehicle in the generally intended direction.

Henceforth you're going to be tailgating ad infinitum, on the potholed, narrow bumpy roads, infested with the rivulets of spill over flowing from the choked-up drains.

You'll swerve your way through hillocks of garbage and construction material strewn here and there, as also the gridlock of unruly hand driven carts, cyclists, bikers, scooters, three-wheelers, cars, SUVs, VIP cavalcade, army convoy, trucks, tippers, buses, all kinds of bovines, chicken and what not. The recently discovered species, the 'IPod oblivion', that walk on the road with earphone, listening to music, talking or simply texting….live in their shell. They've their attention mostly diverted to cause hearing deficit. As if not giving damn to the countless close calls they've every day, please be cautious, these nerds don't at all comprehend honking or someone simply crying out.

My macho driver believes he owns a laser gun; he can zap you out of existence.  You turn back and see him honking horn…..nobody knows why. He honks, once….maybe twice…..and then honks, honks and honks….right till it goes up the value chain. He'd rather honk when he's walking. For he hasn't blared horn in the last one minute and hasn't heard a honk in 30 seconds now he should press the gizmo. His horn lever has only one position…….

But then he doesn't believe he honks at all!!!!! And finally if ever he toots, it's just to let others know that the traffic signal has turned green…. Honking horn is your pet peeve, and you wish you honk back at him saying, 'Dude! Inside your car you don't hear the horns, come outside and enjoy the sweet sound of your pressure horn that you've been blowing continuously in my ears. I'd let you pass if I'd the tiniest fraction of space, but if you don't stop honking I'll make sure you don't pass. Trust me, I won't: many bikers won't.' You honk at me for no reason, I do that. I'll slow down. Even if you're on a Truck or a freaking Ferrari, I'll make sure you drive @30kmph…. happy safe driving, buddy!!!!'

Prompted by digital tsunami and Internet dynamics, the Post-Millennial, Gen Wii, with the hairstyle of Jhonny Bravo Redux, is hot and warm blooded. Seated behind the wheel and dressed baggies, hip hop, racing dad's car upwards of 90 kms per hour, with a pack of dudes nestled alongside him in the car, weave through traffic all the while high-fiving friends and listening to new albums. Car windows are down, so that everyone can hear their totally bitching Alpine speaker's subwoofer-induced earthquake, sounding like it's going to vibrate the car apart. Nope. Stop, boys. Girls don't like it. Guys think, you're obnoxious and your parents stopped loving you. Your sound system costs more than your car?

The motorcyclist, the grizzled dude with leather jackets on big bike, or less-grizzled, younger guy on smaller bike that certainly makes you jealous when he weaves in and out of gridlocked traffic, revs his engine unnecessarily, irritating everyone within earshot. Bikes are common as pins. There's no bike lane, so bikes tend to drive where a lane would be if it's painted on the road (provided the road had asphalt). They never wear helmet. Motorcycle, the most common configuration, is to have two people on the bike, seeing three people (A family including a little child) or seeing one person riding it alone are both as likely.

Seeing four people isn't uncommon, and seeing two people with the person on the back carrying something that could snugly fit in the trunk of a small car is common, the second person on a motorcycle maybe holding a television or two 3-meter poles. Motorcycles are the best way to get around. They don't stop at stoplights (though few cars do, either), they don't pay any tolls, and since they hold as many people as a car does, who needs more! Helmets aren't common, and if they're worn, only the driver wears it, not the child in front or in back of them. Protecting a small child means sandwiching him between parents.

Finally cows (and bulls) that stay to the side of the road, but nothing stop them from walking in it, crossing it, or taking a nap in it.

Drivers give them their respect, and living with them is quite nice. You may see one cowshed with cows in it, but otherwise, all cows we see are on the roads where you might fancy them eating or regurgitating. Interestingly when cows do walk in the street they seem to go with traffic, not against it—-even the cows have some decency when it comes to traffic rules. While driving in a busy rotary, a cow blocking your way, after some honking and waiting, and then maybe you bumped it in its back half, it blinks quietly, fishtails a bit, looks forward, and walks away, minding its own bovinely business……

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Greater Kashmir
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