Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Delhi Symphony

Picture the scene -
Your worst traffic scenario at the Red Cow roundabout during the construction of the new roads. Traffic built up. Drivers losing patience.

Well, that’s nothing compared to every day traffic here in Delhi. I only recently worked out why all the honking of horns. I had initially thought it was a status thing – ‘look I have a car, so I’ll tell you by honking the horn’. I was wrong.

A lot of the cars and vans are quite old and therefore don’t have any wing mirrors, so cars behind them have to honk to let them know that they wish to pass them out.

On the back of lorries you will regularly see, painted in nice colours, sometimes with flowers the words ‘horn please’ or ‘no horn please’.

There are white lines on the roads here, but they don’t mean the same as in Ireland. White lines in Ireland generally show the lanes on a road. Here they’re just decoration. I have regularly been in a taxi or rickshaw, one of 4 in a row, when there are clearly only two lanes on the road. It’s all about getting the last inch over here.

As I am not a technical person I have little evidence to show what I mean, so I’m redirecting you to the blog of another volunteer – Sheila – On our way back from the Taj Mahal last week Sheila was able to record some of the scenes we encountered in regular Saturday evening motorway traffic.

But lots of cars are also a good thing when you’re walking around in the evenings to the shops or a restaurant. There are no street lights so to get around safely you really do need to have the lights of the cars to show you the route. The flip side is then you have to put up with honking horns.

And I’m pleased to report that at the end of week four I’m getting used to it. It may even be odd to have less of it in Bhubaneswar next week. The honking of horns is, funnily, growing on me.

Add to this the constant fire works as it’s wedding season and the barking of the stray dogs at night time the Delhi Symphony is alive and well.

A recipe for a good night’s sleep !

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