Thursday, February 23, 2012

Food Chain of Traffic

Driving on the Indian roads for quite sometime, I have started witnessing the application of "Survival of the Fittest" theory on Indian roads . Based on my observations, I have realized that Darwin was quite far sighted, as his theory has far reaching implications.

Anyways, without boring you with further technical mumbo jumbo. I will give you some insights on my categorization of fossil fuel burning metal cans moving on Indian roads.

So, ladies and gentlemen, here it goes

1 - 2 wheelers - Accept it buddy, it hardly makes a difference whether you are riding a 35 CC moped, 350 CC Ninja or for that matter 500 CC Royal enefield, gravity has same affect on you. The feeling of invincibility which comes mostly from watching TV Ads in which bikes are portrayed as vehicle personifying speed, agility, style, chic magnet etc, evaporates in nano seconds once the epidermis kisses the Tar at speeds > 50 KMs/hr.

Normally, in an advertisement, the backdrop consists of a lissome lass, who gives seductive smiles to the rider. But, like any Indian horror flick, in real life scenario, the lissome lass, becomes an overloaded truck hurtling at break neck speed, running on the road with a single ambition of getting rid of the lowest member of value chain. The other members also bear the brunt of this behavior. But, the effects are not as lethal.

Live examples of 'Brownian Motion', this category fascinates me so much that I have reserved another blog post for it.

2 - Personal Cars - Driving a Japanese car, with an Italian engine on Indian roads on fossil fuel imported from Mid East and paid by dollar savings, these are perfect examples of globalization. This category of drivers, put their hard earned money into buying their car of dreams and they take every possible precaution to drive sensibly to protect their vehicles exterior as well as other moving creatures on roads.

Until, some idiot puts the last straw on their back, by cutting dangerously in front of their vehicle. Laplace transformation takes place and the docile, ever smiling Alok Nath type of personality transforms into Sunny Deol of the 90s with red mist in the eyes. All the available horses in the engine are immediately summoned hurriedly. Turbo Charger which was perhaps lying unused for some days is put to duty and made to do hard labour until the Root Cause of this sudden transformation is out of line of sight, preferably in the rear mirror, but *sigh* realistically this view is mostly visible in the front.

Bottom line, until provoked, these guys believe in 'live and let live' philosophy... until...

3 - Commercial Vehicles - Ardent followers of Hard Metal, most of these guys believe in driving as its their last ride. They use their illegal pressure horns and accelerator generously and avoid the usage of their clunky brakes unless challenged by larger peers or someone up the food chain.
Characterized by their dented vehicles, blaring music, overloaded goods/passengers they generally have the poorest road manners and a blatant disregard for safety,both on personal front as well as for fellow drivers. They make full use of 14% road tax and stop their vehicles whenever they feel the need for picking up, dropping passengers or just for chilling out. Passenger buses, Sumos, Qualis, Bolero etc are the staples in this category.

What this category lacks in horsepower, is over corrected by the higher decibels and the plumes of smokes emitted from their posterior bearing signs "Pollution Free vehicle" or "AC No hand signal"

4 - Vajra : The Apex predator - Now, don't tell me that you always thought the Name 'Vajra' was a coincidence and these buses are painted red, because they look good in it. Okay, for the uninitiated, 'Vajra' is the name given to the red Volvo buses used by State for city transport.

True to their names, these vehicles have the acceleration of Yamaha RX100, maneuverability of Swift and Body of a Tata sumo. Armed with powerful rear engines, these are the most swanky and deadliest of the metal cans moving around.

They firmly believe speed limits are for lesser mortals. Potholes don't affect their imported chassis and they keep on cruising evenly undeterred by the fact, that other lowly denizens are also using or trying to use the road. Like the previous category, they also believe in making their own stops and don't oblige at all in case you want to overtake them.

'Vajra' does not believe in hitting a person or two. Even a slight touch, sends multiple people packing to the place, where original users of Vajra live.

Thumb rule is to run for cover, whenever you see a red dot in your rear view mirror which grows exponentially in size.

Seasoned users, always know their place in this Food chain and run for cover as soon as they see a predator in sight. But, for the newbies and the adventurous. They love to wear their attitude and thrive until, alas, their luck runs out.

More observations about two wheelers to come in the next post...