The reason why Indian road laws are so honourable is because, to a new visitor, they humbly make themselves inconspicuous, bordering on invisibility. On further examination it becomes clear that they do not exist. At least they are no longer in active practice.
A typical day filled with breaking these rules, or perhaps one should say, following the new rule that the rule book has been vetoed out of society by its practitioners, would go thus: an underage kid with no license, or, if he happens to hold one by mistake, then we should correct ourselves and say, an underage kid with license to ride a 50 cc moped but intention to rule the roads on a 200 cc motorbike, sets out from home. He first eases past residential areas at about 60kmph and then speeds up to a wrist wrenching velocity while forgetting that he holds, in his right leg, the brake and in his right hand his one-way ticket to hell.
But that is not at all important. As he speeds past all other maniacs while either trying to kill them or himself, both subconsciously–as he himself will eventually say after an accident for which he is obviously not to blame. He manages to herculean task of overtaking as many people as possible from the wrong side, and he does this with considerable ease.
Occasionally an older, dumber rider who happened to decide that morning that he would follow the rules for once comes up along side him. Of course, speed limits are not rules, after all. Then it turns out that that older man is a distant relative whom the boy loves enough to kill the man’s pet cat, free his pet bird and puncture his car tyres in the middle of nowhere–all which he had done as a boy and which laid the foundation for a much bigger ulterior motive. They start talking, riding side-by-side, occupying a couple of lanes on the road.
But there exist no lane rules. One finds, at times, a unanimously approved rule being practiced: faster vehicles on the outer lane, slower ones on the inside. And if you need to fork left off the highway, you need to line yourself to the extreme right and then suddenly swerve left while not forgetting to keep your indicator lights off to save battery.
Now the boy and the older man find it to their liking to do all this simultaneously and with such expertise and dexterity as though it was their routine–which it indeed was–that their two headlights seemed, to people riding in from afar, to be those of a car. Naturally, the chances of one trying to pass through the centre of a car being slim, the duo could have an uninterrupted conversation.
If anything interrupted their conversation at all, it was their helmets. But who required them anyway? So they found it easier to hang their helmets to their bikes and continue riding. Should they have the good fortune of coming face to face with a policeman, they could make him turn back by sharing this fortune of theirs. Thus the cop is happy, and so are his clients. Should, however, another cop come along, the two would have to spend a little more than they hoped. The best solution for this would be to leave your helmet back home and tell the cop that you were, in fact, going to the shop to buy one for yourself. A great-wall of a comment that even an ingenious lawyer will find difficult to punch holes through. And it helps him save his money while helping others spend their lives–and lose them.
Then the red traffic signal comes on. What does it mean? It is nothing but further proof that red is the colour that attracts the attention of most of the human race while conveying little, if anything, to them. The red light, by the way, means, ‘danger, do not stop here.’ So he rides himself past the intersection, amidst cars going in sixteen other directions, into eleven dimensions.
In this manner, his job done, the boy heads back home following the same traffic rules, perhaps in an even more creative manner than before. This is especially true with respect to the speed limit. He crosses it by about four times on his way back–as opposed to the thrice when he left home–because he realises he has another errand to run. It will perhaps not be with his old law-abiding relative, but it will definitely be something important for his responsible self–even if he is irresponsible about other souls; which he personally makes sure he is. Of course, this is only on a sub-conscious state and definitely he is not to blame.
Such are the honourable Indian roal laws, tailored to the citizens’ wants. ❖