Driving in Chennai(or anywhere in India), as everybody knows is not the same as driving anywhere else in the world… There are certain things any person driving in here ought to know… So to help out newbie drivers in Chennai I am going to write a set of rules and prerequisites to drive here…
- A license may not be necessary if you have enough cash to bribe the police guy( popularly called as “Mama” by the youth)
- A limited knowledge of Tamil… YES i mean the SWEAR words… trust me you feel much better cursing in language the other person understands
- A sound device which starts playing the ‘airtel song’,’vaseegara’ or ‘every night from titanic’ when u shift to the reverse gear!!! (Strictly no other songs entertained)
- and of course patience!!!
Ok the requirements are probably very easy to fulfill, lets now get down to the rules. Not too hard either, its just a question of knowing what to do when!
-> Unlike other countries, it is much better to ensure the driver doesnt wear a seat belt so that it is easier for him to turn and scream at anybody(we’ll get to that later)
->One hand constantly on the horn. Be sure to honk every 90 seconds or so. Whether you’re at a signal or not, or rather wherever you are just honk at fixed regular intervals. Make sure u honk whenever some one does something stupid as well!!!
-> If you think you can play a song while honking, go ahead you might as well entertain the pedestrians
-> Whenever you are at a signal be ready to give a big smile to the random people in other cars who stare at you. Chennai is a very friendly place, you smile at every random stranger you see
-> Just as you turn to the left or right at the signal some asinine d#!@ @$$ will cut across. Take a quick look to see if its some huge burly guy(it will most probably be the same stranger you smiled at while waiting at the signal), if its not, now’s the time your Tamil comes to use, lower the window and curse away ‘$#!T @$%@!$# !#@$%*#@#! #$@%’ … REMEMBER : use Tamil, you want the other guy to know what you are saying!
-> When the person who cut across at the signal is a huge looking wrestler kind of guy, it might be wise to keep your windows shut and scream in english all the same!!! Let it out, trust me it keeps the pressure from building.
-> If you happen to see a ‘jaalmudi thalu vandi’ on the road, stop your car and get a packet or two, don’t worry about the cars behind, they’re now going to play music for the pedestrians. Make sure you fumble for a bit while looking for that money.
-> Parking is a whole art in its own here. Its way beyond the scope of this post but I’d be happy to teach anyone who approaches me. But a quick pointer, you can park your car just about anywhere u think it’ll fit. Just make sure that once you park, the people beside you have an arduous task of getting their car out.
-> Please don’t stare at the guy with 4 people on the bike. Its rude!!! He has taken pains to arrange his entire family on a vehicle that barely supports 2 people. Furthermore he has even managed to drive it that way! He would be a way better stunt driver than those teams in the “foreign circuses”.
-> Dealing with “mama’s” is yet another art. Obviously ladies have the upper hand on this one. Start of by denying knowledge of what you did wrong (wrong direction in a one way, parking in the wrong place). Something on the lines of “appdiya sir, theriyavae illa, anga boardey illa sir, sorry sir, therippi pannamaaten” (is, that so sir, I had no clue,I’m sorry, I wont repeat it) and repeat the “sorry sir, therippi pannamaaten” bit for quite some time. Of course the ladies could just feign a few tears and sort the issue out much easier. EASIEST method of them all, IF you have the moolah, bribe him. Not directly but more on the lines of, “sir late aaidchu, onglukittu fina Kattitu pota?” (I am late, may I pay the “fine” to you and leave?)
-> When u find that you can’t take a U-Turn at a particular place and that it will save you a LOT of time. Follow the following algorithm
->look on all sides for a mama
-> if (mama==not found)
make the U turn. don’t bother about the cursing from other drivers… “It’s all in the game”
Check purse for cash and willingness to pay, if ready make the turn bribe the mama and be on your way
Else go the long route!
-> Lastly while you do all this, remember to keep honking at regular intervals. We wouldn’t want to reduce the noise pollution now would we?
You now know the basics of driving in Chennai. Keep watching this blog for more tips and tricks and how to go about getting there quicker!
If anyone else has any rules please post them as comments. Lets help each other out!