India is fast and furious and running a hundred million miles a minute.Or it’s come to a halt. There is no inbetween. Things have to be done right now or the chances are they never happen. If someone says ten minutes they mean a couple of hours, if someone says soon – it could be a week & if someone says it will take a while – give up now, it’s never going to happen.
When contending with the heat and the fast pace of needs and desires and necessities – being a pedestrian wasn’t going to cut it. It’s too hot and too humid to walk anywhere at speed so slow is the only pace, which means going from A to B requires time and probably a stop along the way to find shade, water or someone to sweat in. Going from A to B to C will mean a hellish couple of hours, partly because you will turn up to appointments that don’t exist and get calls from people wanting to see you when you are miles from them. So after three weeks of sweating and not getting very far, I bought a bicycle. And I chose the right weekend to do it. If I hadn’t I would have spent a forture on tuktuks zipping from A to B, back to A, to C, to D back to B, then C, then D and wouldn’t have achieved the things I wanted to do during what was due to be two days off (that was before the boat ‘disappeared’ and the plumbing broke!!!)
I’ve been wanting to join the hordes that cycle around London for a while partly to save money, partly to get healthy but fear of other cyclists and cost have prevented me. I don’t have a driving license so i am wholly reliant on my feet or public transport. Then I figured if you can cycle in India, you can cylce anywhere….right?
Well maybe – or maybe not. One thing about India that is not reciprocated in the UK is the constant need by all road users to be alert. In india, one off the road would involve a multi vehicle crash, it’s so chaotic with people, cars,buses, motorbikes, cycles, hand pushed carts, cows, pedestrians etc etc you have to be aware that at any minute a car could go past at 70 miles an hour, a cow could wander into the road or 200 people could suddenly appear as part of some kind of religious celebration… (all of which happened within 20 minutes yesterday!)
Another benefit is a. my bike, b.my hair and the combination of both almost stop traffic. People aren’t familiar with westerners speeding through the streets on a ridiculously pink bike so tend to also slow down, in London I’d just blend in. So whilst so far i have been able to cycle in India, I’m not sure I will in London – we’ll see, especially if I successfully ship my bike back!