Monday, April 18, 2005

Traffic Jam Chaos

If you're stuck on, say, the Jersey Turnpike, you basically just sit there and listen to NPR show after NPR show. But in India everyone keeps fighting to get through. There are lots of motorcycles, and they cut through every available inch of space. Sometimes it doesn't work out, as in this Dilip D'Souza post:

Leaving Dandi, we are in an enormous traffic jam, trying to make our way through the hordes of trucks, buses, vans, jeeps, SUVs, cars and people who are trying to make their way to Dandi for the Congress rally. The heat is fierce, and I don't envy the folks stuck in buses or the back of trucks; though in one, they have broken into song and dance and are having a rip-roaring time.

Just ahead of one place we are stalled interminably, a motorbike tries to move ahead on the edge of the road. As I watch, it slips off the edge and rolls down the slope into a thicket of thorny bushes. Its driver gets up screaming. His arm is broken, the bone visible, the blood already staining his sleeve. The amateur nurse with us takes two plastic water bottles and fashions a splint with them for him.


And another section of the post I liked:

Another truck driver decides he's had enough of this snarl. He tries to swing his truck around to go back. Somehow, he manages to get it perpendicular to the road, but then he is stuck. He can't complete the U-turn, he can't go back. The traffic is that snarled. He keeps pleading with the surrounding vehicles to let him get past, but as they can't move either, it's futile.

A motorbike tries to edge past him; at that very moment, he thinks he sees a gap and he tries to move forward to finish his U. In near-slow motion, I see the motorbike toppling sideways, the truck almost running over it, people yelling at the driver to stop. Luckily he does, in time, and nobody is hurt. But several men around are incensed and rush up to his door and start banging on it and on his windscreen, one with a long stick. (What's a man doing with a stick like that in traffic like this?). He has his hands up helplessly, his passengers jump out and run. I'm afraid the men around him are going to lynch him.

But they relent, perhaps because all of us know what a mess we are in and the kinds of things that sometimes happen in such messes. The driver eventually backs his truck down the slope, out of the traffic, into the bushes, and sits there waiting. For all I know, he's still there.


Ms. World said...

Thanks for bringing me back to my senses! I`ve been flirting with the idea of using a motorbike around Mumbai during my extended stay there next fall. However, now I think it is best for me to ride around on a granny bike.

10:11 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home