Ye hai Dilli meri jaan

Frosty is on its way home. Aboard a nice train from Udaipur, it is racing now towards Delhi. It needs an urgent heart transplant. The doctor is ready. Hopefully a spare heart will be here by the time Frosty arrives. Its been a long painful time for her.

Brother’s Pulsar180 just doesn’t cut it. Too plasticky (yes, I can hear plastic rattling at high speeds). Doesn’t go fast enough – tops out at 93. Torque is just not enough. Sitting pillion for the to and fro ride everyday is an open invitation to arthritis. Racing away from killer buses and maniac cars is not easy. But it handles beautifully. Banks perfectly and is super nimble when the traffic is at 55 kmph (which it is almost all of the time).

Delhi roads have a very different driving ethos compared to Mumbai. Stuff moves as fast but people like to carry their lives in their pockets when they travel. People consider helmets to have been pushed on them and make every effort to wear as small, battered and basically useless helmets as physically possible as if to show law the finger. By the time they realize that it was a mistake, their brain is splattered across the Delhi Gurgaon Highway with 20 people watching and saying he should have worn a better helmet. Then they wear their own excuse for a helmet and ride away.

People have very little respect for other drivers on the road and think allowing other drivers on the road is a direct contravention of their right of driving as they please. And they make sure everyone else on the road knows exactly what they think. And everyone else reciprocates faithfully.

Lanes are just lines mistakenly made on the road.

When they cut across lanes without lights or consideration (followed religiously by endless honking by the car behind), the fault lies with the roads department, not them.

Waiting on a red light is a punishment and it doesn’t matter if they are 1 hour early for your meeting, they will still jump the light, miss the oncoming car by an inch and swear at them with the choicest words. No love is lost because it will be the oncoming car jumping the light the next time. Its all just a beautifully organized chaos like a nice ballet. Riding on the footpath. Honking at pedestrians. Brushing against Blue Line buses. Its just amazing.

But then. when you are hungry after having worked 10 hours straight, you rarely ever think about road rules. You think about the paranthas and rajma chawal. If you lose your life chasing those things, it might just be worth it.

9 Responses to “Ye hai Dilli meri jaan”
  1. maggi says:

    Hmm…This is teh case in almost all big cities. I stay in Pune, traffic sense here is no good! Helmets were made compulsary an year back or so but hardly ppl oblige (including me). Breaking signals, rash driving, heavy traffic is an everyday affair now!

  2. Sleepwalker says:

    yes that’s true. but they are not chasing either paranthas or rajma chawal. or chicken tandoori. that’s what makes it special.

  3. Sharninder says:

    That is how traffic is in every city in India. The only thing special about Delhi is that the traffic moves fast, thanks to the relatively better condition of roads. And Delhi’ites are … well .. brash, for lack of a better word. But so are chennai’ites πŸ™‚ Ah well, before I start of on another tangent … I’ll shut my mouth πŸ™‚

  4. Sleepwalker says:

    getting killed running after idli sambhar is just not worth it man. and i think chennaites are much more well behaved that the advantage is you can abuse them and they can abuse you back and no one will understand what was spoken and everything will be alright. everything was alright in chennai before the lawyers showed up.

  5. Paritosh says:

    Bro… if you think Delhi is rash then come to Bangalore. Here there is more fun coz the traffic snails out in the rush hour. There is fight for every inch of tarmac and some more. BTW I loved the traffic in Delhi… maniacal yet fast.

  6. this piece is smelling of psedoism. Here is a man who have stayed in Delhi for about 3 years talking about the things which you usually listen from a firangi.sorry buddy, i didn’t like this piece at all

  7. specially when you know how mumbai guys drive.. specially when u’ve seen the madness and blood rushing into the eyes of mumbaikars when they smell a clean stretch road..specially when u drive on palm beach roadspecially when u go to haji ali stretch past 10We Indians are all same genetically. Difference lies in the opportunity one receives from the existing realities. Delhiittes do have the opportunity in terms of road so sometime they do go overboard. Mumbaikars do not have that opportunity on roads here.BTW have you seen people walking on road in Mumbai… Dude you know it, for them the cars the trucks the buses the two wheelers don’t exist. As if they own the road…

  8. Sleepwalker says:

    i think i am being mistaken here for riding habits. i agree people across the country drive bad. but its the road sense that is lacking here. people in mumbai when they do something wrong, they accept it. they might still fight the challan but will accept that it was a mistake. in delhi, they will blame everything under the sun and never accept it. its the attitude thats different. and that somehow translates to the attitude towards other drivers.

  9. I had written a long note in response to your last comment but due to ever faultering internet connection in my office, I lost it. To summarise, my objection was not in respect of the riding habits. My objection was to the way you tended to generalise the attitude of people living on a particular piece of land.My objection was to the eye-witness type of an account that you gave on the basis of certain sample of experience that you had in Delhi. I know you are still not a part of Delhi but passing a judgment on the basis of sample experiences isn’t a correct idea in my view.I will never accept in my life that either Bajrang Dal or Ram Sena are the voices of all Hindus or they reflect anything Hindu in their screwed ideology. On the similar note, I will never accept that attitude of people living in particular area is all but same. It is against the very idea of individuality that I pursue and practice.However, I am not confusing individuality with certain “unique” factors of a place, which too my mind is restricted to food habits, cloths etc.To sum up people do not have attitude, individuals may have.

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