So this is the second post in the road-menace series.

In this post, I try to paint a grim picture of Indian roads  and have told the problem through the eyes of a car.

He opens the door and steps inside, brushing off the dirt on his expensive oxfords but caring nothing of the grime under them which smears my cleaned mat.

He inserts the key, clutches the gear and steps on the gas.
My engine whirs to life even as I drive off the grand driveway on to the cramped roads.

One look at the filthy littered and dusty road and I wince. I just had a wash and my tires try to get adjusted to the muck underneath them.

He is inside, not a bead of discomfort on his young groomed face and his sunglasses clad eyes shielded from the harsh glare of the sweltering sun as it pounds on my navy metal body.

Suddenly I feel the  soothing fragrance of leather and cologne overpowered by the acrid smell of cigarette smoke. Minutes later he rolls down the window glass to throw the cigarette butt out. I sigh.

He steps harder on the accelerator, urging me to move faster than the speed limit (if there is a speed limit) on the crowded road. He zigzags across the sea of chaos, honking mercilessly, even when not required, and my ears start to ring.

I slow down with a lurch as I go over the water-filled potholes that dot the roadway, evidence of yesterday night's storm. He has shock absorbers and cushioned seats to block out the shocks, my whole body rattles.

I roll past the yellow walls where betel leaf red stains, urine splashes and torn faded flyers are the only graffiti.

I roll past the beggars- barefoot, one-handed, one-legged, unwashed hair flying, clothes tattered.
I roll past the frail kids who try to chase me to sell gaudy toys and huge balloons to him. A sold toy could mean a dinner bought .

I roll past the red lights, the yellows, the greens with equal ease.

I roll past the stopped car smack on the middle of the road with its driver spitting red betel leaf juice on the road,windows rolled down.

I roll past the overloaded bus halted beside the curb because the conductor has to relieve himself.

I roll past the overturned SUV, the crushed motorbike and the blood on the road.

I roll past the dog whose foot came under my alloy wheels and is lying helpless on the road.

I roll past it all, affected but helpless. He is nonchalant, a hum on his lips.

And I know that he is different when he goes to Paris, or London, or Chicago, or LA or God Knows Where.

He is different because he has to be.

He brushes the dust off his feet before entering a car.

He doesn't smoke inside a car and certainly doesn't throw the butt out. Never.

He doesn't speed.

He doesn't overtake.

He definitely doesn't honk.

He greets the street performers with a smile, even if he doesn't want to and sometimes drops in a note or two if he is feeling too generous.

Not once does he jump a red light and waits patiently at a yellow light.

He even makes way for an ant strolling down the road, gushing about he is an advocate of animals and their rights.

And when he sees something disturbing, he stops, he empathises.

But back in his own country, he does what he does because he can.

No, he is not uneducated or poor. He is lavishly rich and is Somewhere Abroad-educated.

He has been taught the rules, the road etiquette.

But he doesn't follow them. Because he doesn't care.

He doesn't follow because he thinks that he'll get away with it (and he does).

He doesn't follow because he sees that nobody is.

He doesn't follow because he thinks that his birthplace is already so far gone that his efforts won't matter.

He doesn't follow because he thinks it does not matter.

If only he knew otherwise.


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