Get that gap

There is a very, let’s call it, competitive mindset in India, but it all revolves around the ability to squeeze into the gap ahead of the next person. I does not matter how small it is, if there is actually a gap at all. even if the guys in front has stopped, to let a train pass at a level crossing, or a truck is turning in front of him, nothing matters if you feel that there is a slight gap in your mind, it’s fair game, you can go for it.

I have seen trucks jammed in a street that needed just a bit of leeway to help him get out, no chance, the next truck will wedge in and try and get past via the buildings front door. Then the next will do the same on the other side and so they will pile in bumper to bumper for kilometres they will back up and keep trying to wedge in until it’s one massive gridlock of steel and tyres. The gridlock is so tight that once I witnessed a small wall being demolished as it was the only way that the traffic could flow again.

The best is to be stopped at a boom waiting for a train. I will stand there and watch the traffic fill the road from each side; slowly both lanes will fill up as people squeeze into every little space taking up both lanes on either side. Then eventually you have two solid walls of traffic facing each other. The train passes and the boom lifts. The engines rev, smoke billows into the air as the two opposing walls of cars lurch forwards at each other hooters blaring like two opposing armies going to battle. Instant gridlock, and there they stand shouting hooting and gesturing at each other until finally a small trickle manages to worm its way through. Until eventually things start to move again.

I will be running along the road, a bike will come up behind me hooter blaring to turn in. there is a truck coming right down at him, no problem, there is a split second gap and he will try the Kamikaze move for the gap. The truck has to brake and swerve, the other cars are pushed off the road and he manages to wedge just in front of me and the truck as I jump into the bush. On top of this he sees I am a foreigner so guess what on top of all of this he stops in the middle of his turn and asks me, what country I’m from, where I’m going, what’s my name and the rest as the whole of India piles up around him. No problem, he revs his bike crashes it into gear and lurches on into the bush road and off into the distance, oblivious to the mess that he has just caused, but no one seems offended, a few hoots an on they go.

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