Waking up 5 AM is nothing i expected to do this early in my travel, but wasn’t really much of a problem. I spent some thoughts on whether i should steal a towel from the hotel, seeing as they where very small and handy. I decided not to, even tough it was a expensive hotel that could easily afford losing one. I went down to the lobby and checked out, paying for the cola i told them I’ve taken from the minibar. 5 minutes went and he said “Excuse me sir, i believe you’ve taken two colas”, he was holding the hotel phone in his one hand, and i praised the fact i stole no towel from these guys, they had just sent someone to check my room.
Five minutes later my driver appeared, and i took a seat in the car, reminded of the fact that its on the “wrong” side, just as the Englishmen (crazy colonizing people spreading mirror wise mentality and cricket all over the planet).
It was very dark outside, and barely no people. I asked if i could smoke inside the car on which he replied
“well of course sir, this is YOUR car, you do what you want, Im your driver, Im Sanye pleased to meet you sir”. I started to realize what Ive paid for, this man was going to follow me for 3 days, driving me to two different cities (Pushka, and then Jaipour). It was a pleasant surprise, seing as i felt very insecure in the new environment, doing my best to not show that. Sanye knew….
Stopping at the ATM machine, we discussed the traffic, which was a lot less this early hour. I expressed my feeling of the crazyness in having no rules whatsoever on the roads. While i took place in the front seat of the car again, he replied
“We have to keep focus and eyes open, there are cars everywhere, and if we dont, we loose life, and life is good, life is
sacred, we should keep life”.
Having said that, there was a sense of agreement between me and Sanye as i fastened my seat belt. An agreement in the importance of life that is, not on using seat belt, Sanye has to this day never used seat belt, he must have other ways of showing how life is important.
Hitting the roads was wonderful. Having your own car to stop for coffee and breakfast was great. Sanye was good company, we talked some and felt no problems in keeping quiet (it was a 6 hour drive). I could see the sun emerging, and the landscapes of outer Delhi appearing. Huge office buildings of glass, large and tall. Sanye informed me that those where the call centers and other outsourced big-business, not so much people living there.
The vehicles appearing on road consisted mainly of large trucks, motorcycles, and jeeps, carrying large amounts of Indian people in the back. They looked like jeeps carrying people of to war, only the people where often women and children, obviously getting to work. Most of them had a good time observing me from the back, laughing at how i look, i always smiled back. One smile i got from a woman made my day, and i could see her bringing back a friend to observe me.
The first truck i noticed when we where driving up to the highway, had big letters painted on the back, graffiti style. To the left it said “BLOW” and the right side saying “HORN”. I saw three more trucks instantly with the same words, and figured this must be the biggest trucking company in India, carrying large goods and trading materials.
As we went along the high-way i was amused by the amount of honking. Basically you could say that every car you pass, you honk. Every car that passed you, will honk. Every car you drive behind of, you honk at. I was laughing at this at the beginning, especially the way some honks sounded, like a messed up circus-tune, from some horror movie, they sounded just…broken, like a ice-cream truck on speed.
I realized now that “Blowhorn” was for sure not the name of a trucking company,
but rather something all trucks expect you to do, whenever you are around.
This made me feel stupid, but at the same time, why tell people to do something they all seem to know and apply? I kind of don’t blame them, im reminded everyday In Stockholm to “Mind the gap”. It doesn’t make it less stupid though. Perhaps ill be proven wrong, one day they will stop telling us to mind the gap, and we will all fall into it, creating major death all over Stockholm.
On the roads there where roadkills, quite a few, mostly birds, but also dogs, and a goat. It reminded me of death, and how close it is here. In Sweden we keep margins, to stay away from death. Here they use the margins to push in an extra car, and put their hope into something completely different. The margins between are so close, Ive noticed that a lot of cars have only one back mirror, if this is to save space, or if its because its been smashed off, ill have to figure out.
Quite often you find yourself driving heads on with other cars, driving in your lane, its like a chicken race, but both drivers know that biggest goes first. More than one time we went off road to let trucks pass. I seriously don’t know why they have lines marking where to drive on the roads, mostly you drive on top of the lines, having them pass under the car.
The language between the drivers is great to observe, a hand sticking out of the window of a truck, signaling to pass by or to hold off. The honking is a way of speaking, and they do it with no bitterness attached, its fun to watch and listen.
There are also cows on the highway. Cows are holy in India, and BOY are they holy. They are so holy, and they KNOW IT. They hang around pretty much everywhere. Sometimes it looks as if they are cuing to a shop, sometimes just in a crowds of people. They stand in the middle of the highway, and everyone just adjust to their position. They hang around in gangs (i suppose i should call it herds, but “gangs” seems more appropriate) around bars. And the cows look cool, they look at you with eyes saying “Hey, im frekkin holy, watch my tail, even the flies respect me. Feed me”. People do occasionally hit them with sticks when they get too fed up with themselves.
I think cows know they are holy in Sweden to, but we agree only when they are sold half price at Lidl.
In India they are holy because they are the reincarnation of gods. If you get to choose your reincarnation form (which i assume a god gets to do), id also choose cow, seing as how they are treated. But wow, must the gods be dissapointed if they turn out to be a European cow, sliced into peaces, blended with a hundred other cow-meats and served to a crying 5 year old and some hamburger-shop! What a way to spend your next life! I think I’ll be a bird…
While i was spending time thinking about cows, i felt a tickle by my feet. Looking down, i quickly kicked my foot, sending a rat flying into the wall of the car. My spontaneous reaction was to laugh. As the car seemed high-quality, i was not expecting this. Sanye was laughing, telling me a rat was no problem for me. Thank you Sanye, for telling me how i feel.
Three times so far has the Indian people laughed at me:
- Getting a rat running on my foot.
- Telling Ricky the day before that you are not allowed to hit your children in Sweden (when he claimed his mother would smack him if he didn’t finnish the meal)
- When i told the man at the tourist office i wanted to go somewhere peace and quiet.
The rat was never seen again.
At one point Sanye wanted to take a tea-break, and i ended up with a beer. I was thirsty and drank it all in about 10 minutes, this made me shitfaced. I’m easily affected by alcohol and i realized Ive been drinking 0,8 liters of 8% beer. The feeling was pleasant of course, but i also reminded myself of that a drunken mind will not observe the possible hustles i might get into when we arrive. I started making funny remarks to Sanye about the surroundings around the car and he was not the least amused by them. This reminded me of being drunk with a sober person back home, none of the participants thinks its the best way to party…
We arrived in Pushka just after noon.