The national language of India may be Hindi, but the most widely understood form of communication here is definitely the car horn. After many hours in the car, I’m yet to understand the rules or the road. Forget Frogger, it’s more like Hungry Hungry Hippo with your car as the delectable white balls everyone is after. It would be one thing if this game of chicken was just played between you and oncoming traffic. But nope, on the Indian roadways it’s a 4-sided situation. Buses coming at you from the front, scooters on your left, people on your right, and oh dear lord a cow’s decided to stop in the middle of the road. To the untrained eye its mass chaos, to the locals, it’s a Monday.
The variety of animals on the road make it feel like a kid’s petting zoo birthday party staged a coup and took over an entire city. Pigs, boars, cows, camels, horses, donkeys, dogs, monkeys, water buffalo, goats, they’re all feeling the same as you do about the rush hour gridlock.
In the alleyways of Old Delhi your rickshaw gets so close to the food vendors they could feed you without moving an inch or lifting a low hanging power line. And on the highways I could have pet the camels and cows as we zoomed by.
The only positive thing about seeing a truck coming directly at you at 100km/hr is that you get an up-close look at its intricate decorations. It’s like they’ve taken the elaborate decorations of the elephants and transferred them to the modern mode of transportation. Trucks are covered in everything from streamers to paint with “HORN PLEASE” written in some fanciful manner. It’s safe to say the trucks are as unique as the roadways they’re driving on.
Forget roller coasters or haunted houses, if theme parks really want to scare the shit out of their audiences, all they have to do is build a realistic Indian roadway. It’s safe to say that the Tower of Terror has nothing on the stomach dropping, gut punch experience of sitting shotgun in a car in Northern India.