Monday, July 30, 2007

Driving in Noida (Delhi/NCR)

Driving in delhi/NCR is a unique experience. Specially driving cars. I never realized it until i got a car of my own. Riding a bike is better.

I had driven a car for 5 years before i got a car of my own in delhi. But looking at the condition of driving in delhi, i asked a motor driving school to give me 4-5 classes of driving in heavy traffic and thru narrow lanes. And it was there that i came to know that he had tons of students like me. People who were back from the US and were unable to drive in the crazy traffic of delhi/NCR.

Well, let me tell you about a day driving to office.

8:35 AM - I am already late. Generally i wish to be ready to go by 8:25. 10 minutes before time and i avoid the 8:30 traffic. Well - anyways, i start my car and look behind (i have to do a back to get out of my colony), and there are cars everywhere. Slowly take a reverse and move a little to the left and a little to the right and finally get to put my car between a pole and another car. Now all i have to do is take a 45 degree turn and then another reverse and another 45 degree turn before i am through with driving in reverse.

8:40 AM - Wow, it took only 5 minutes to get going. Good timing. Now avoiding the bush to the left and the small open drain at the right, i drive and again avoid the car on the left and another on the right and am finally on the main road.

8:43 AM - Oops, am stuck on the first red light which appears 100 meters from my home. Actually, i am not supposed to stand at the red light, since i have to take a left which is free. But there are so many people, so many cars and bikes and cycles and rickshaws that they have blocked the complete road and unless they move i wont be able to access my "free" left turn. And i look around. A cycle goes by wriggling between cars and bikes. Another rickshaw tries to wriggle but the hole is not big enough for him. I just hope he does not scratch my car.

8:45 AM - finally out of the red light and am driving at speed of 50 - heading straight for another red light. And i see a bike coming from the opposite direction on the wrong side. I move a bit to the right to avoid him and a car whizzes by missing me by inches and blowing its horn.

8:47 AM - Another red light. And buses lined up against each other covering the whole road. Arent they supposed to be on the left most lane. cycles and rickshaws are coming from all the roads in the crossing. The red lights are not supposed to mean anything for them. They are free to cross and create a mess at the intersection. And i patiently wait for the light to turn green. And lo, the light is green. I move ahead and i am behind a bus and a rickshaw. The bus jumps ahead, but the rickshaw moves slowly and no matter how much i honk, it wont let me move ahead. The light turns yellow and the thulla's eyes at the other end turns to dollars ($)($). But i manage to make it before the light turns red again. And the thulla turns sad. He catches hold of the car behind me.

8:50 AM - Another red light. After wriggling between cows standing between the road and 4 cycles (fast friends i believe) riding next to each other covering almost the entire road, and avoiding potholes and speed-breakers similar to small mountains, i am relaxing at another red light. The speed-breakers were terrible. They were not only meant to slow you down, but stop you completely - make you think twice whether they would scrap the car's underside and then drive over them. And now i am looking at another red light. Tons of cycles and rickshaws ahead of me. Some cycles are balancing 3 people on them. That's why circuses dont work in india any more. You get to see circus everyday on the road.

8:52 AM - The light turns green, but vehicles have not started moving. Oh, there is no thulla at the other end and the vehicles from the left side of the crossing are still moving across - even when their signal has turned red. Finally someone realizes and stops and my line moves ahead. The uncle in the santro ahead of me is on his cell phone and is blocking the whole road. He will either smash into me if i try to overtake him or smash into someone else. Better avoid him.

9:00 AM - Dropped my wife. Took a U-turn and am now rushing towards my office.

9:05 AM - Another red light. I respect it. There is a bus behind me. It starts honking. And now the bus conductor comes over and asks me to move a bit to the left so that he can move his bus ahead. What the heck, cant he wait for 1 minute till the light turns green and we all go. No, but he has to move 1 meter ahead of where he is now. No point in argueing, i move ahead.

9:10 AM - I am rushing. I will be late for office. Oops, there are bikes rushing too. Some from the left and some from the right. Bikes in india are meant to zoom, and thats what bikers do, overtake you from the left and the right. Another red light - and i am lucky this time - it is still green - i can rusht through. I give a right turn signal and move ahead - and ZOOOOM... a biker goes from my right side. I hit my brakes - trying to avoid crashing into him. Save a life.

9:12 AM - Now finally i am on the worst road on my route. Where there are more cycles and rickshaws that they cover the whole road. And there are cows in the middle of the road and cars coming from anywhere. I drive slowly. The driver behind me honks and then finally overtakes me from the left - pushing me to the right. I apply my brakes trying to avoid the car overtaking from the left and the car coming from the right.

9:17 AM - Now i am behind 2 rickshaws both trying to race. I honk, but both of them are SRKs. And are racing to win. There are cars and bikes coming from the other side and covering the road. I cant over take them. All i have to do is put the car in 2nd gear and just let the car move behind them. Another bike shoots by.

9:20 AM - The left turn to my office is near. Wow!! Honk for the people standing there to move by, so that i can drive on. They give me "The Eye" and then slowly move on. Hell, i am going to be late today.

9:24 AM - I am in front of the office and am parking. The guard tells me to move a bit ahead and then a bit left and then a bit right and then a bit back. And finally i am parked.

9:29 AM - I run and punch into the office...

Great na... If i had been on a bike i would have made it 15 minutes earlier.

Anyways, just hoping that when i return back home, there are no cars on the path to my parking place. And my parking place is still empty.


Lost said...

ya u r right...driving on noida roads is like hell.well i m just a learning driver but can see ppl driving crazily on the just seems like everyone is participating in formula one..

Shipra said...

Wow....despite all that u made to nidhi's office in half hr??!! where does she work?? I would write an article on driving from Hari nagar to my office in the monday morning traffic, but that will exceed the diskspace of blogspot ;) but i understand what u r going through :P though its quite strange, the u say all those things about bikers, and yet wish to be back to ur biking days ;)

Jithin R. J. said...

gr8 post...u took nearly 1 hr i think so what was the distance?