Friday, July 03, 2009

My Driving Dilemma

Driving can be fun, that is, when you know driving, and when you don't have to constantly apply brakes. Alas, thats not the condition in most parts of India, and to be specific, in Calcutta (aka Kolkata, as some people would prefer to call the city of joy).

I recently shifted to Calcutta, and one of the primary concerns after landing here was the dilemma if whether I would be able to drive. As with most of the cities, people drive their cars in a general direction (is there something called LANES?). Yes, and thats where the problem starts. Bus stop to pick up passengers on the fast lane. Rickshaws (both cycle as well as hand pulled) also prefer to drive on the right lane. And thats just the beginning.

Then there are the infamous yellow Ambassador taxis, which don't follow any traffic rules, but expect you to be a law-abiding citizen (ever seen one of those without a sign of "obey traffic rules" on its back?). And their numbers are in 100s and 1000s. If you manage to look at the streets here, you'll only see the yellow color everywhere. (There have been a couple of times when I just managed to escape from being hit by a taxi while overtaking me from the left).

Yes, thats pretty much it. You get the picture, right? So, I was a bit too scared to take my car out on the roads in the beginning (and, sometime, I am still). But, you get used to it. You get used to the buzzing city, the city full of lights and life. And that's what makes this city one of the best cities in India (at least when you are not driving :P ).