Special Skills required for Driving on Kochi (Cochin) roads

Driving on Kochi roads

Date: Mar.09, 2015

It was early morning 9:30 AM. I had promised my friend Yanesh to accompany him to Ernakulam Broadway for getting some items/ goods. Ernakulam Broadway, a market place for everything and anything. We began from the Kakannad area and slowly began driving up towards Ernakulam Broadway. To avoid the traffic and have least resistance, we took the NH towards Vytilla.

Reaching Vytilla was not a problem at all. From Vytilla to Kadavanthara was a traffic snarl, the roads packed with vehicles  both two-wheelers and four-wheelers. Cars, bikes, tempos, autorickshaws converged in from all directions. With accelerations racing and raring to go, most of the people wanted to make it to the office, to hospitals, to their destinations as soon as possible. Moreover with the Kochi Metro rail project in full swing, the width of the roads have been reduced to less than half their usual width. You can well imagine the tightly packed roads for the morning rush hour.

With the only objective of reaching their destinations, you can well be sure what lies in wait for the others. As we wait in line to be among the vehicles, we are sometimes on the receiving end as well. With the bikers mistaking the jam-packed roads for the racing track.

It is one helluva journey during this rush hour. Bikers lying in wait to zoom past the gaps between two cars. Sometimes they just try to inch through the gap. In which case, it is a torture for the car owners until the bikers have made through. The car drivers peer through the windows trying to judge if the gap is just enough for the biker to move through, without denting the car or scratching the body. Once the biker has taken through the gap successfully, it is a huge relief for the car owner and a sign escapes the lips “aaaaaaaah”. But the sign just lasts long enough for another biker has eyed this gap and makes his way towards this gap. He too tries to inch past and it is another torture period for the car owner.

I have once been a victim of this gap crashing for the biker had inadvertently made away with my front bumper stuck to his bike’s side rods and being torn apart. Another thing you would find with the motorists of Kerala is that most of them do not use the turning side indicators when they want to change sides or to take a turn. It is for the fellow motorists behind him to understand what his intentions are. Being from Bombay, I found it very difficult to understand for in Bombay it is a different story to tell. By the time you realized you made the mistake of not using the indicator, the motorist behind you will catch up with you at the next signal, alight from his vehicle and will have already given you a tight slap on your ears (if you had the windows slid down). The only thing that would make sense to you at that time is to listen to the bumble bee sound playing behind our ears.

The thing that you need not to be shocked about is when the erring driving stares at you inspite of him/ her making the mistake or when a pedestrian crosses the road with the mobile firmly lodged to his/ her ear when the traffic lights are red and when you honk, they give a cold stare as if you made the biggest mistake in your life.

God save the motorists in Kerala. That’s all I have to say.

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