The traffic in India is beyond what words can paint. You have to be here to really understand the chaos. I cannot find the correct diction to sum up how the traffic works here; can’t create the correct equation to summarize everything. It’s definitely not y=mx+b. So if you get hit by a car, you are pretty much out of luck.
I asked some of my Indian friends: What happens if you get hit by a car?
They replied: You die.
It was a bad answer, but it was an honest answer (brutally honest). Just the other day when my roommate, Kathryn, and I were heading to school our rickshaw driver hit an old man. It happened in s l o w m o t i o n. So the driver was trying to make a U-turn so he can drop us off at the metro; he was looking back to see if it was clear (perhaps the first time I’ve seen a driver look back) all the while he was still moving forward. Two men, one old and one young, were standing in front us trying to cross the traffic. The rickshaw driver kept inching forward without looking forward. The rickshaw touched the old man. Kathryn and I clearly saw that the automobile was going to hit the old man if he didn’t move away. We can vision the consequence of this event but we hoped deep inside ourselves that we our vision was wrong. Unfortunately our vision came true. The rickshaw driver pressed the gas to proceed forward when the traffic calmed down – of course when he pressed the gas he ran over the poor old man. The old man literally flopped over like a newly sawed tree. When the young man realized what had happened he instantaneously looked straight at the rickshaw driver and, in Bengali, started yelling and pointing at the driver.
I couldn’t understand anything out of his mouth but his body language was saying something like, “Are you blind? Don’t you have eyes? Can’t you see? Why the hell are you even driving if you’re blind?!!!” The rickshaw driver just reversed a few centimeters to make way for the old man to get up; the driver sort of replied with an arrogant attitude, almost saying, “It’s not my fault you’re in the street. The street’s made for cars, not for people to stand in the middle of.”
Cars drove around our rickshaw, honking and beeping left to right. The young man helped the old man up and they limped away. I couldn’t believe that I’d witnessed that event; I mean seriously? That’s all that happens if you get hit? You yell at the driver’s face and walk away? Where’s the justice in all of this? My jaw dropped to the ground; it was as if a live movie was played right before my eyes. I kept wanting to rewind the incident and cure the old man’s leg.
We made it to the metro station fine. I couldn’t figure out if it was appropriate to pay the driver or not. It was only 8 rupees but still, he didn’t deserve it. I paid him and we carried on with our lives.