Odes to (Delhi) Roads

Delhi-ites are a spoilt bunch of bumpkins
So it’s Mid-October. In plainspeak this means that the “bearable” season of weather has begun in North India-. It gets cold (cold being defined as less than 20 degrees Celcius) in the morning. You can spend some parts of the day without a ceiling fan. There’s a particular flower that blooms in this season between 5 pm and midnight – it smells GREAT! Is it Rath ki Rani? Somethine else? Dunno. Anyway, enough rambling about onset of Winter.

This post is on New Delhi’s roads. By most anecdotal accounts the roads of New Delhi are apparently the widest intra-city roads in India. This probably true. I know we have Bombay beat. But some people go so far as saying these roads are the widest intra-city roads ANYWHERE.

This is probably unlikely. Okay so most of Western Europe is old, so the roads within cities are narrow. USA follows a grid system and one-way stuff, so yea, we probably beat intra-city roads there too (’cept maybe Texas cities). Anyway, the thing is, we have some the best roads in the country. This really comes home to you when you are driving after 11 pm at night in a Honda City. That’s when you realize that if you just obliterated all the trucks, buses, cows, elephants, dogs, pedestrians, cyclists, three-wheelers, e.t.c it would actually be a nice smooth drive at 100 km/h….heh ok, keep wishing.

Well the reason that Delhi has some of the best roads but the worst traffic jams/accidents is of course because of a complete lack of traffic sense, which of course everybody already knows. But has anybody stopped to analyse the cause? And even if you came to the conclusion that this is due to sheer apathy/poverty/illiteracy did you bother to change it? Well most people will answer no.

So after getting into an argument with a friend of mine, I commit to print the following:

My contribution to attempting to help sort out the traffic situation in Delhi is to write out the traffic rules. One probably assumes that these are already written somewhere and are accessible to one and all. But I don’t think so. Having actually gone to a driver training school in Delhi I can assure you that they don’t teach you the rules of road. “Haath-pair chalane aate hain? Chalta Hai.” Translation: Can you move yer hands and feet – i.e. use the clutch, change gears and move the steering wheel? If yes, then you know how to drive. And this is really ALL the education that 99% of the drivers on the road have.

So it is this Voice’s aim to write out The Rules of The Road, complete with nice illustrations – not hard to do in the 21st Century. Since I consider my first language English, it’ll be in English. This is a call to all Hindi experts to vist my blog, and help me with translating the finished work into Hindi (other language experts are welcome too, of course). Then try and convince an NGO or maybe even a pvt. publisher or the Government, to print a gazillion copies of that manuscript and then distribute it as a download from my site for free, maybe sell it in bookshops, maybe distribute it with new cars, or at street intersections – may even be able to get the beggars involved and get them some money… anyway this is my grand, ambitious plan.

The rules of the road are almost written.. and I’ll put them up on my site soon, for anybody who wishes to help me revise them. And the entire journey from my hands to actual physical print shall be documented on this blog, from time to time, provided, of course, that it actually gets that far….
This Voice is just trying to do its bit to reduce India’s number from 2.5 to 1.5….

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