- Might is right: Never give way to lesser vehicles or lesser mortals. Sacred caste hierarchies apply to vehicles as to people. The few timid owner-drivers are a minority. The drivers of trucks, buses, taxis and corporate cars having recently come from villages only understand the jungle lore of the survival of the fittest. They drive their vehicles as if they were 100 horse power bullock carts and, therefore don’t use their brakes. Loud and hoarse horns and hoarse shouts and abuse are enough to plough through raucous traffic.
- The law is an ass: Everyone knows that one must obey one’s own inner dharma and follow the dictates of custom and ritual which exalts the importance of ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’. The laws and regulations concerning stop lights, zebra crossings, one way streets, right of way, no horn zones, vehicle modifications, brakes, anti pollution, et cetera, are the whims of the rulers and have no real moral value.
- Asses control the laws: The traffic cops are, after all, villagers of the same peasant stock as the afore-mentioned drivers and can, therefore, be relied upon to not take their duties too seriously. They sympathise with errant drivers and would not dream of stern action, which could harm their meagre livelihoods. A few currency notes are punishment enough.
- Divine inspiration directs mortal men: Miracles can be observed at every cross road when vehicles roaring down from the four directions seem to, at the last moment, find inspired ways of disentangling themselves from disaster. A mysterious autopilot, like a heavenly bullock seems to enable them to nose out of any intractable mess.
- The meek shall inherit the earth: Road rules do not apply to pedestrians who will walk onto the highways without a glance to right or left. Cyclists, like shoals of fish swerve in miraculous ways. Woe betide any motorist who dares to knock them down. Angry crowds will quickly confirm that the fault was entirely on the part of the big, bad motorist.
- Holy cow: Serene in the middle of the road and given wide berth by all helpfully doing the job of the sanitary staff in clearing the rubbish. They observe the antics of humans and are sure that no one would dare to hurt them or remove them.
- The woman’s place is in the home: Most male drivers consider women a positive hazard on the roads. Apart from being distractions that turn men’s heads their scatter-brained attempts to drive cars and scooters are invitations to disaster. The road is a Man’s world and the women who venture there deserve the stares and whistles that they complain about.
- Freedom of expression: Every citizen has the democratic right to express him or herself volubly on directions, driving and traffic situations. Back seat driving is a national right.
- The devil be damned: Driving demands daring and audacity. An opportunity lost, is lost forever. So every little gap in traffic must be exploited immediately. Pushing and shoving is the norm especially at red lights and it’s just bad karma if oncoming traffic is paralysed. The orderly driving observed in the West is so unutterably boring.
- The seven deadly sins are so stupid: Which sane driver is not driven by greed to get an opulent car? Which driver does not lustily fantasise intimate moments with an attractive bird on the scooter ahead? Which driver does not hate the cops and other drivers and does not give full vent to his anger with wild gesticulations and unheard abuse?
The author is the region’s most celebrated automobile columnist