Sunday, December 05, 2004

It happens only in India

Delhi's traffic is legendary and I have experienced it quite a few times by now, but yesterday was one of the worst traffic jams I have seen.

On the way to Gurgaon, the road had bumper-to-bumper traffic for miles and sitting in a car observing what was happening all around was quite amusing but at times downright exasperating. Obviously a few weddings were taking place at some of the farmhouses on that long stretch, because (and while I know for Delhi this is nothing spectacular) almost everyone sitting in the cars was dressed to kill, often bordering on the overdressed! After ten minutes, with traffic moving at snail's pace, I slowly turned my attention to the other side of the road to see if that side had better luck, and my jaw dropped as I noticed that cars were actually going in the OPPOSITE direction on that side of the road, to avoid the traffic jam. At first there were just a few, but deriving inspiration from the brave (or idiotic, whichever way you choose to look at it) drivers who were openly flaunting all traffic regulations in existence, soon I saw a file of cars following suit, with blinkers flashing as if that gave them the right to drive against the flow of traffic. As they say, it happens only in India!

Scene number two: a chariot with a lone driver emerging from a dark side street, all done up in flowers, but with no groom or bride or party of followers. It looked quite forlorn actually, as if it was expecting to be the centre of attraction but had to settle for being a broom thrown in a corner carelessly.

Scene number three: an elephant (rent of hiring it for a wedding: Rs.40,000 per evening approximately) outside a wedding venue, caparisoned and royal, as guests lined up behind it.

I suppose this was nothing compared to last weekend, where it was widely reported that 14,000 weddings took place on one day!! God knows what happened then!

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