Traffic

We’ve mentioned the traffic, inserting little “local interest” bits and pieces into other stories. I’m not sure that I’ve sufficiently expressed, however, my true admiration for the art form which is motion in India. It’s not just the cabs. In New York, people say that those cabbies are crazy – they’ll kill you rather than stop for you! But those cabbies are probably Indian, Pakistani, Bangledeshi…someone from around here. Here, it is your job to be careful. It is your job to get across the street. It is also your job to put your vehicle in the way of harm, knowing that it is also the other guy’s job to be careful. Careful means a different thing here. Rather like the way you will be leaned into by the person behind you in line, you might – really, honestly might, with no ill will or rancor – be gently pushed by the bumper of the person behind you if you don’t take advantage of an opening in traffic that any ant would see as tiny. Each driver assesses the traffic. There is no zoning out while driving. You just can’t get away with it. Driving is active, participatory. It is not rude, exactly. It is matter of fact. If the fact is that I can fit between you and the bus and therefore get to the next road before you – I will. Even if “fitting” consists of pulling in my sideview mirror and slowing so that I don’t bounce in the pothole. And really, I like it. This is traffic in a country not run by insurance companies. This is traffic in a place where people have places to go, single car lanes to drive down, and cars small enough to allow it all to work. I love being[…]

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