I’ve visited India many times over the years and I’ve always noticed how crowded and noisy the big cities are but it never bothered me so much. Probably because I knew that I would shortly be returning to the quiet of the US. I took it all in as just part of the experience. Now, since I’ve been commuting for the past month, I’m wishing that I could go back in time and stop GM from adding the device known as the horn to its first car. If the makers of the horn only knew the way it is being overused and misused, well, I guess they would be proud that their invention is so valuable to so many.
In my experience, the horn is reserved for emergencies. If a child is running in the middle of the street or someone runs a red light - that’s when you use the horn. But that wouldn’t work here because not only are children constantly running across the streets - so is everyone else! There’s no concept of a crosswalk or stopping for pedestrians. Instead of slowing down when they see a pedestrian, they just slam on the horn and expect the pedestrian to scurry out of the way. Even when we’re stopped at a traffic light and the light is red, people honk. Even when the road is completely empty, people honk! At what? Why? No one knows.
Aside from the incessant use of the horn (I could go on and on about that) there are always people … everywhere! The streets are overflowing with humanity, the stores are bursting at the seams with mothers and their children, and there is every form of transportation imaginable from bicycles to motorcycles to cars to auto rickshaws to buses to trucks - and they're all driving within 3 inches of each other and creating their own traffic rules! In the midst of all this commotion, it’s a struggle to keep calm. Many of my friends tell me they’ve never seen me agitated or stressed about anything. Well … living in India has put enough agitation in me to make up for the past 10 years :) No wonder this is the birthplace of yoga and meditation. It’s the only way to keep hold of your sanity!
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