This video became pretty popular in the US about a year ago. For the bandwidth challenged, it’s a hyponotic, mesmerizing video of traffic on a typical Indian road. Oh well. The Americans found it hypnotic and mesmerizing. We would’nt find it exiciting in anyway as it’s what we go through on a daily basis. All of us (me especially included) assume that we can drive at 80 kmph using vehicles that can do 100 kmph on roads that can take 40 kmph in traffic that moves at 10 kmph. And since the sub-species Homo Unsapiens Indica is visually impaired, we use 100 decibel horns instead of “plain sight” to indicate our position and velocity to other drivers on the road.
That brings me to the main point of this post. My driver Abbas. He is a quiet, unassuming 20 year old who, one would expect, drives like the usual Indian road monster. But he does’nt. When I am late to a meeting, he drives at no more than 50 kmph on open roads and gives right of way to dogs, cats, garden lizards and middle-of-the-road crow congregations. He gives way to, horror of horrors, pedestrians! He also does not honk. He frustrates me. A groundswell of irrational anger bubbles up everytime he stops at a signal even when the light is amber.
I have been late to several meetings ever since I hired him. I have kept my wife waiting several times because my time-distance estimation is all awry because of the drastic difference in his and my driving velocities.
The entire speech cortex in my brain is screaming “Press the &%$%# accelerator, Abbas” most of the day, but I somehow manage to keep my larynx from obeying those neural instructions. I think there is something to be learnt from Abbas. Road Gandhism.