Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

Horny in India


I have just returned from a week in India, where I was running a training course for one of my UK clients who have an office out there. Sadly, I had little time to explore and sightsee, but did have direct experience of one particular Indian phenomenon – the traffic.

I spent quite a bit of time in taxis, travelling to and from the airport and each day between the hotel and client’s offices. I wasn’t so much struck by the volume of traffic  (living in London, I’m used to that!) more by how the traffic behaved. It was an absolute free for all, with vehicles of all shapes and sizes vying for position and stretching things the nth degree as they did so – often at great speed. On several occasions I saw mopeds or auto rickshaws sandwiched between trucks or buses with barely inches to spare on either side, cars cutting across lanes, again with barely a hairs breadth between them and other moving vehicles.

Many a time, I found my heart was in my mouth.

And yet, this seemed to work. I realised that the magic formula was aided and abetted by use the horn. I’d go as far as to say that Indian drivers seem to drive as much with ears as they do with their eyes. At first, it appeared (to my own untrained Western ears) that Indians used their horns willy nilly. Yet, it seems the horn is what makes all the difference when people are driving there. Drivers appear to use it to gauge the exact location of other moving vehicles, large and small.

And, some kind of order seems to emerge from this chaos, which becomes increasingly fascinating to watch.

These guys seem to be on the ball. Having said this,  I haven’t looked up India’s road accident stats, but I’m guessing incidence of accidents is probably quite high. Yet, in my brief time there, my impression was that the “system” seems to work most of the time. I even pondered whether, with my visual impairment, I could drive in India, given the reliance drivers have on their ears! I wasn’t quite brave enough to give it a try – I have a partner and children at home who wanted me back alive.

This also  got me thinking in broader terms. If left to our own devices, with minimum rules and regulations, can things actually work better for us in some ways? Do all the restrictions we have laid down make us less sharp, less aware, more complacent and so, ironically, more vulnerable? Are we in the West, through being increasingly controlled in all sorts of ways, in danger of losing our capacity for risk and staying alert and sharp to what the world throws at us?

Maybe so. However, I was pulled up short on my way back to Bangalore airport when, driving through a light rain shower,  my taxi went into the most dramatic and magnificent skid, finally coming to rest about a millimetre from the van in front.

And, what did the driver then do? Sounded his horn.

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One Response to “Horny in India”

  1. Hi Chris, Your points at the end of this blog really struck a chord with me.
    I do think that by being protected and controlled that we are completely losing our instinct to survive. My elderly Mum (89)came to visit recently, she is from London, and has always lived in towns, but her ability to cope when we had a power cut was amazing, she knew just what to do and took total control, no one had time to panic. She was in London during the Blitz and wasn’t even slightly phased Whereas my sister who had moved away from London to the burbs, didn’t have a clue. I was an amazing thing to watch. I am making sure my daughters learn what to do in an emergency, but then they do know a lot, as I have lived in rural Wales for the last 15 years and survived flood, snowstorm, extreme cold heat and a dried up water supply, not to mention invasion from bats, mice and deer! We’ll be fine but I pity the others.
    Thanks for a great blog!


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