Driving in India

In Europe, the basic unit of traffic is the lane. Here it’s any space big enough to squeeze into, at any speed, without making the next vehicle brake too hard. It’s ok because people honk madly while they do this. It’s also ok to make a U-turn on a divided highway and going against traffic. All this in a mêlée of cars, huge overloaded trucks, bicycles, pedestrians pushing carts, cows, farm engines pulling big bulging loads, ox carts, tuk-tuks, and everything in between. For extra excitement, there are often vicious speed bumps and pothole fields.

At night, most cars and some trucks have rear lights. The rest relies on bicycle reflectors, or a guardian god of their choosing. In the case of gas tankers I hope it’s a premium god on 24-hour duty. Twisted wrecks lie on the side of the road, or are stacked in piles. And in case you are wondering: the first truck really is leaning, and the truck with the broken axle is loaded with as many butane gas cartridges as would fit, and then some.

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