Now, before you start hurling abuses at me for painting a clichéd picture of India, because of this cow talk, have a glass of water or a mug of chai (tea). And then decide for yourself.
Yesterday was a bad day. I had to teach a class. And after that when all I wanted was to do some light blog reading, Suyog sprang up such a confusing post in the name of some god forsaken movie Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna (can it be translated as ‘Do not say goodbye ever?’)
In the evening, I started driving home and everyone who could cut me off, honk at me, or flash that irritating light to declare that ‘I should move aside or else they would drive through me,’ flashed it.
The area I drive through to reach my college has a lot of factories. Hence, it is overflowing with pedestrians and cyclists (Ps&Cs). I do not blame them; they have to use the same road to reach to work, as there is no separate pathway for them. They are, in fact, forced to spill over.
But I do take an exception when they materialize out of thin air with hurtling speed, only to drop all the pretence and embark on a casual stroll past my car. All the cars anyway drive in the second gear because cyclists, motorcyclists, cars, tractors, buses, trucks, all via of space on a road that till recently had this uncanny resemblance to the surface of the moon.
My worst experience has been when two not so gentlemen decided to take a stroll in front of my car. I crawled behind them for a while, without honking and when they still showed no sign of moving, I casually leaned on the horn. You are probably familiar with the noise that results from casually leaning on the horn. But the not so gentlemen seemed to be stone deaf.
Now here was I, leaning casually on my horn and trying to drive at a speed to suit the guys crawling in front of me. There was no space to move a car anywhere else on the surface of moon. A fraction of second later, the front tires of my car made a slight contact with one of the guys.
I found myself suddenly leaning on the breaks too. The guy glared at me. I pointed out the ample space available on the left hand side of the road, away from any cars and the fact that I had been honking since an hour! The gentleman finally moved aside along with his friend and probably saw the logic of not walking in front of a car. He was not hurt and nobody picked up a fight with me.
But when I reached office and had time to reflect, I was so unhappy, constructing various scenarios where the injury could have been more serious to the guy that by the evening, I was depressed and had a splitting headache. Thankfully, they have re-constructed that road and this turned out to be a one off incident. I still meet Ps&Cs in regular force everyday, but there are a few inches more to maneuver.Still, I am totally ashamed of the way things turned out that day and my part in it.
I do not have any major grudges against the motorcyclists apart from their habit of overtaking me from the wrong side. That and trying to give me heart attacks. The smallest bit of spaces between a bus and a SUV is an invitation to them to try and squeeze past. My heart has developed this uncomfortable tendency of doing small little flips in tandem with their maneuvers.
Cars, in this area drive in the second gear and I think we have a friendly feeling toward each other. But come evening when the roads are just a little bit more empty, everyone is so fond of pulling the lights to indicate ‘move aside or I will drive through you.
A special category of vehicles is the call centre cabs (buses and trucks behave similarly) and I always make way for them, no problem. I know they are in a hurry. Still, they have a penchant to keep coming straight for me. Now I am faced with a choice to move an inch on the other side and knock off a few Ps&Cs (who seem to be completely oblivious of everything around) or continue as before and get hit by the cab or the bus or the truck.
My usual response is to freeze completely. Later, when I open my eyes it seems somehow, at the last moment, that cab or bus or truck had swing away from me. And the cyclists and pedestrians are still on their legs and cycles, in the same state- oblivion.
Now compare this with cows! They are so well behaved. They do not materialize out of thin air. They are big and they make themselves seen clearly. They are in no hurry to cross that road. They amble past royally, giving you enough time to react.
They are solidly built. At low speeds, if any contact is made, it is my car that is going to get damaged. On the other hand, the mere whisper of a contact with those Ps&Cs leaves me shivering and cold and ill.
The cow does no heart-attack inducing maneuvers. The cow may block my way, but it does not ‘keep coming at me’ at high speeds to turn away at the last moment. Car horn produces a better effect on Cows than the Ps&Cs walking in front of my car. I also like the way cows divide the responsibility of avoiding a contact 50-50. With Ps&Cs, it seems to be solely my responsibility, 200%.
So, why not? Give me cows any day, they are much better behaved and have better sense of self-preservation and avoiding accidents than some other creatures, I meet on the road.