Monday, March 17, 2008

Flyover Delhi

It's 7pm. After two days of traversing busy, dusty roads I am convinced that most delhi-ites have no real regard for their life my life. The traffic has terrified me all day, every day. Overtaking from everyside, leaving not nearly an inch on any side of our car at all times. It's all I can do to not sit in the centre of the back seat with my eyes shut and hands drawn into tight fists, listening to something calming on my ipod. Instead I am taking the high road (literally) and am sitting by the windows, eyes wide open, enjoying every minute of being here, even in the madness of the traffic.

Everyone seems to have a car, if not multiple cars. Such a change from when we first moved to this colony in a different decade and our family was one of the few ones with a car. The colony chowki-dar used to come on his nightly rounds with a stick and whistle, the two familiar sounds guaranteed in their loudness to show who was boss and assure even it's littlest residents that all was well and that he was guarding us and our property. He'd blow his whistle and tap the stick standing by our car a few extra times. Maybe he was only letting his friends, the thieves, know exactly where we had parked? Our car never got stolen so I guess he wasn't - it's just fun to re-live childhood conspiracy theories. Now life in this middle class colony is all gated and secured far more fastidiously. And the choice of car is mind boggling, even for a thief, with each family owning mutliple cars, each trying to outdo their neighbour with fancier bigger better. The sidewalks to my childhood bus stops are all covered in cars now and little kids seemingly get dropped to their school bus or even school in their cars. How the world has changed.

Delhi is covered in flyovers. They are everywhere. Like a well spread concrete maze. Almost all completed on time and changing the landscape of the city. And it's not just simple up-down flyovers but complicated clover leaf like permutations where each arm leads to a different place. Large multi-lane flyovers that have eased the journey out of congestion and into rash-ness. Cars flying across the hot tarmac, defying gravity, ignoring the signs, mileage limits and generally being lawless. Yet today I sat in gridlock at the top of a flyovers, proving that even these giants will not hold this surging economy in line.

I'm tired from the fullness of the day and the battles on the road. I need a shower to deal with the dust. But I think a plate of aloo tikki (with everything on it) will rejuvenate me a lot quicker.

Chowki-dar: Watch-man/ guard

Aloo tikki: Indian yummy snack made of potatoes and covered a in variety of sauces/ yogurt


  1. Hmmm... I am one of those Delhi drivers you speak about. I find it to be quite an edge on more orderly Mumbai streets ;-)

  2. Anonymous1:06 AM

    Aloo tikki will ease all pain. BTW, was the traffic jam on the flyover because an elephant was crossing the street? ;-)

  3. Gosh - I would be the one in the middle screaming at the driver - slow slow slow! I did that first couple of days - mind you in just Chennai and Bnglr traffic - but later got used to it - just used to make a tight fist when I felt the car or auto was just almost going underneath a bus!

  4. Seems like Mumbai as well. All they did was shift the blockage to the bottom of the flyove :-)

  5. my sympathies are with you! have you been to gurgaon yet? that's the REAL plastic surgery from the old hindi movies... i could feel the sweat! and imagine it's only march!

  6. Yep,have you been to Gurgaon yet? We are very proud of our toll plaza(heh, heh!--when it opened it took half an hour to cross!But you could do IFFCO chowk to Dhaula Kuan in 20 minutes!)

  7. Anonymous1:33 AM

    LOL - Maybe he was only letting his friends, the thieves, know exactly where we had parked?

    Only you...!!


  8. Anonymous3:38 AM

    Wish they would concentrate on improving public transport as well, instead of building endless flyovers in the Indian cities.

  9. I guess an aerial view of Delhi would show the beautiful patterns of the flyovers! But getting stuck in traffic on top of a flyover makes no sense at all. And it happens often enough in Kolkata too.
    Delhi traffic is more than terrifying, though.

  10. Anonymous4:33 AM

    you can go to google maps and enter new delhi, india and see the aerial view in satellite mode...quite cool...40in2006

  11. Anonymous1:37 PM

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