a calm chaos

Driving in India is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. No I haven’t been driving – I’ve been riding in cars, buses and auto rickshaws, but it’s all relative.

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When I first arrived here I thought the driving was insane. I thought there must be a bazillion accidents a day and loads of injuries – but I’ve been told otherwise.

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When you’re any one road, there are many modes of transportation you could see. There’s no bike lanes, walk able sidewalks (they are more like mountain climbing the pulled out bricks and garbage) or lines that are used on the road. There are bicycles in amongst cars, motorcycles swerving through the buses and trucks, with no helmets. There are cows wandering or sleeping in the streets. Men carrying loads of fruit on a rolling cart or women with a bundle of grass on their head march at a good pace through it all.

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Pedestrians walk, in all directions, anywhere they want to. When trying to cross an Indian street, you only aim to get across one lane of cars, if lucky – one direction of traffic. The traffic will go around you, wherever you stand amongst the never-ending swell of honks.

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The horns are non-stop. They go on and on and on, all day and much of the night. They use them to tell people to go or to move over because they want them to pass. There’s no one looking around going ‘shit what’d I do wrong’ when they hear a horn like at home! It’s not what is happening, it’s always just someone helping the traffic along.

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Through my time here in India I’ve learned to no be on the edge of my seat anymore. I don’t have a death grip on the door handle. Through all the different things on the road and all the horns blaring I’ve realized that these drivers know what they’re doing. They are much better drivers than ones in other parts of the world. There is the same percentage of accidents here as in North America, but they’re driving on roads that aren’t well kept, that are crammed with millions of people in cars that are barely running in some places.

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It’s another world with begging children tapping on your window while dogs streak across the street. It’s a world of calm chaos on these Indian streets.

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