This is a photo from my archives, of a bustling street scene in New Delhi. When traveling in India it is important to suspend disbelief and place complete trust in your driver. Otherwise you’ll be having mini heart attacks several times a day.
The drivers are good and know how to navigate the crazy chaotic traffic. In only a small section of road be prepared to see cars, trucks, bicycles, motorbikes, a camel, an elephant and a cow sitting nonchalantly in the middle of the road. All other vehicles just ride around it. I witnessed this scene with all these vehicles and animals in a Jaipur street. And off course, masses of people on foot.
All road users use their hooters continuously. Below is an extract from my post Hooter Tooter:
An Indian driver hooting is something completely different. A hooter is used in the way a hooter should be used – well… almost maybe! It is used as often as one changes gears. Rather than an alert for danger, its meaning varies from “ready or not, here I come” to “you can slow down if you like but I am not” to “I am turning here you will need to slow down.” It’s the motoring equivalent of “excuse me please.”
The hooter in India is not seen as an offensive, rude or display of annoyance. And these are some of the busiest roads in the world. With so many cars travelling 24 hours a day, the gentle souls of India don’t waste precious time on aggression on the road, they just get on with living in the now!
Now some of you may know that I was born in Mozambique. My family left sometime during the 70’s to settle in South Africa. Because of the civil war that raged for another twenty or so years, I only returned to Mozambique, on holiday, 20 years after I left. It was a road trip and when I crossed the border into Mozambique I felt a mixed bag of feelings of longing, nostalgia and a sense of coming home. Mozambique is my soul home.
Sometime in the 80’s I became a South African citizen, the country that I feel a deep sense of belonging, the roots deep. In 2001 Che and I travelled to Portugal for my brother-in-law’s wedding. It was February, rainy and cold. Aside from the wedding it was a miserable time due to the weather. Born and bred in Africa where there is sun at least 300 days of the year, this European winter is foreign and doesn’t do it for me.
After two weeks I was glad to be on a plane back to South Africa again. As the plane touched down at OR Tambo airport in Joburg I started to cry because for the first time ever I felt that I was home, really home.
South Africa is my heart home, my real home, the home I will fight for, love and hate, cry and laugh over. It’s a tough home, one that teaches responsibility, that has no room for freeloaders or complainers. It takes real guts to live in South Africa. South Africa is filled with beautiful, tough and courageous people. It’s definitely not a place for sissies.
Social Entrepreneur, chief wide eyed in wanderer, wonderer and bottlewasher