“All things rush on, they stop not,
they look not behind; no power can
hold them back, they rush on…”
Having spent a good part of the day today traveling by bus from Bangalore to Mysore, I thought sharing my ruminations on Indian traffic might be fitting for my first blog post. When I visited India for the first time several years ago I found the traffic to be rather alarming. (If you do not read this as an understatement, I will tell you now that it is an understatement.) On this trip, however, I find that it is instead inspiring in me great awe and a dawning (albeit limited) understanding and appreciation. Traffic customs in America seem rote and mechanical compared to the organic rush and flow of vehicles on Indian roads. Here all vehicles and people and animals weave themselves into a blended flow of movers: fast and slow, motorized and unmotorized, large and small, the entire intricate dance affording infinite opportunities for anyone to demonstrate his (or her!) ingenuity, dexterity, skill, and courage. Traffic laws are really more like traffic suggestions. To analogize to running, which much to the irritation of those who know me well I am wont to do, it is a little bit like a road race. Everyone sets off in a mass and the implicit and single rule is that you glance ever so quickly back over your shoulder before darting into any available space ahead. Repeat until you reach the finish. Special consideration shown only for children and animals.
The lasting image for me from today’s journey was of a small boy riding on top of a load of melons. It was a small truck and the truckbed extended over the cab of the vehicle. The boy was perched there on that ledge by himself, atop the melons and right over the driver, his hair streaming back.
Clare (Karuna Trust, Mysore)