oh crap....was that a snake!!???

the great Indian traffic obstacle course.....

, posted: 18-Dec-2007 20:35

One of the things about living in Delhi (and other cities in India for that matter) is that its pretty normal to have a driver for your car.  This is not to say that you can't drive from yourself (and indeed, most kiwis, ozzies, etc want to) - but there are a couple of practical considerations and advantages to having a local driver:

1) they know the rules. There are road rules - which may or may not have anything to do with some sort of road code, etc - but their experience means that by trial and error - they know more than you do,
2) they speak the local language.  Not only is this useful for finding your way around, its kinda of a safety requirement in that when a traffic accident occurs here - there is strong probability (not just possible, probable) - that tempers will run high - and a mob will gather.  Not unusual to read on a daily basis of accidents where the offenders have been beaten and their vehicle set on fire!
3) finding your way around.  Delhi sort of works on a grid system.  So a place you're looking for might have an address of apt 1, ground level, 21 street such and such, block 9.  So you come to block 9, find street number 20 and think "great - its next door".  Wrong.  Could be on the other side of the block.  Turns out that when they allocate street numbers here - if a new development starts on the other side of the block - they get the next sequence of numbers!
4) the obstacle course.  So yesterday we went to the supermarket and on one particular street this is how it went...

swerve left - avoid stray dog sleeping on the road,
swerve right - avoid cow sitting on road chewing cud,
swerve left - avoid truck pulling out of side street without looking,
swerve right - avoid peanut man street vendor driving towards us in the wrong lane on motorised bike towing a trailer while gas stove is still cooking peanuts,
come to a complete stop - give way to elephant crossing road.....

I'm thinking I need to setup a vid cam on the dashboard because no one believes me.......

Other related posts:
Would you like more chilli with your curry sir?

Author's note by KiwiOverseas66, on 23-Jan-2008 18:17

excellent idea putting together a blog to assist with driver education - brilliant initiative. By the way - the orginal post was not designed to be sarcastic or mocking specifically of Indian driving habits. By nature I think Kiwi's are sarcastic and mocking of everything and everyone (including themselves) if given half a chance;-). And don't get me wrong - the reason for the original post was to highlight the uniqueness of an average trip to the supermarket here in Delhi, as opposed to the non-eventful trip we would usually have back home.

Comment by Bonnie, on 12-May-2009 19:36

Hoorah, so kiwis can live in India! In fact my friend and I are hoping to live and work in India after 5 months of travelling throughout Asia. I want to be/work there because of my textiles/fashion background and my friend has an archaeology masters. So in your opinion how is the best way to get jobs in this massive and overwhelming country? We'd preferably like to organise this before arriving but then again they say its better to be there when and where they're looking!

Your thoughts?

Author's note by KiwiOverseas66, on 13-May-2009 18:22

hmmmm.....if you don't have an employment visa then its not possible to get one once you're here. Essentially you need a business to sponsor you into India, or you form a business (joint venture say) inorder to do business here. One thing you don't want to do is try working on a tourist visa. Some people do - but its a bit of a risk as the authorities here have no sense of humour when it comes to people obtaining a visa illegally, or using a visa illegally (and the last place you want to end up in is an India prison - you really don't want that).

As you can imagine - given the current security environment in the country and the number of people who try to slip into the country illegally or undertake illegal activities here - its just not worth the risk.

I'm not saying don't come here - its a great adventure here, but my suggestion would be if you want to work then do it the right way. Check out www.indiamike.com , its one of the biggest travel sites on India and has a huge section on visas, work, etc. good luck.

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Rawiri Johnston
New Delhi

Resident in India for the next few years. Left the corporate IT/ Telco job behind for a change of scene, spend more time with the family, eat lots of spicy food, drink more beer! Currently living in New Delhi - a lovely cosmopolitan city filled with great people. The politics here are wild! So is the IT (8 million cell phone connections a month - wooohoooo)!

I'm maori, married, three lovely kids, avid rugby fan (go the blacks), and play guitar.