Monday, April 12, 2010


I’ve been writing a lot about driving in India. I’ve also read a few other very funny accounts all along the same kind of lines I have been describing. But I write for a reason, and that is to try to understand this seemingly crazy world.  The mind is always trying to put some cosmos into the chaos all around us and I have stretched my imagination in all sorts of directions trying to understand the patterns of behaviour that goes into the driving culture in India.  And finally I had a revelation. My educational background is based in developmental psychology, so I was thinking about the different developmental aspects of a 3rd world country as different to that of a 1st world one when I realized I could be very specific with my theories and apply the concepts directly to driving.  My mind zipped ahead and revealed what the basis’s were for the driving behaviours one sees in India. And it comes down to this question, I put to you dear reader:  What would happen if you took, say, 100 to a couple of million ten year old boys, gave them all motorcycles, cars and trucks and let them loose on the streets? And the answer is: you would witness the Indian driving mentality.
Western cultures were slowly introduced to using mechanical transportation over many decades and generations. The lessons of the physics of a vehicle, of courtesy, of laws and what we like to call common sense were embedded slowly into our consciousness.  The Indian culture did not have these lessons. Their country was seen as a market opportunity (and not just for cars) as many modern technologies were introduced, regardless of their ability to use these devices. Hey, we all drive, so certainly the Indians could do so as well.  Well, it just ain’t so and the proof is found driving around anywhere in the country.  And it’s not just the drivers, although they represent a large part of the driving environment, it’s also the pedestrians, the bicyclists, the cart drivers and so on.  None of them follow any sort of what we would call “sensible orderly rules”.  As a pedestrian, if you want to wear black and walk down the middle of a busy street at night, so be it. That’s the way it is, because you haven’t the foggiest idea about what it would mean to be hit even by a small motorcycle traveling at 50kpm.  Who, by the way, is also driving with no lights!
So let me review with you some of the basic behaviour characteristics we commonly associate with a ten year old mentality so you can get the idea of how the mentality of the road ways work around here. Ten year olds are:

Are not courteous (yes there are exceptions but these are general terms)
They are often oblivious and don’t look where they’re going
They’re focused only on their own selves
They take chances because they think they can live forever
They exceed their capacity because they don’t even know they have a capacity for anything
They know everything so they can do no wrong
And are competitive

You get the idea. The actual manifestations of these characteristics, as I’ve said, I and others have written all about, and with great amusement, I do confess. Now I await your comments.

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.  ~Albert Einstein


1 comment:

  1. i also wonder whether they have driver's ed in school.