Heading off towards Ajanta from Mumbai City on my motorcycle through the intense smog and suffocating pollution, I dodged the deranged tuk-tuk drivers, three-legged dogs, two-legged dogs, pickpockets, wayward homeless people, holy men standing in the middle of the road, holy cows doing mostly the same and busses that had the uncanny ability to swerve directly at you at top speed, for no apparent reason. These busses seemed to have some kind of in-built, heat-seeking device that is only triggered when a tourist rides past on a motorcycle. Upon approaching, the driver seems to lose all ability to steer the vehicle and it will swerve violently across the road straight at you until you either;
a) launch yourself into the nearest ditch, or
b) get smeared onto the tarmac under the wheels of the bus.
It’s quite a spot of good fun, really.
I also really love it when people spit and throw shit out of their windows on purpose to hit you. I assume it’s just a friendly way of saying hello here, from one motorist to another. Also the longer you ride, the blacker and dirtier you get. At every stop I noticed the locals were taking less and less interest of me, and upon inspecting myself in the mirror, I realized I had now become completely covered head to toe in pollution, smog, dirt and oil. My complexion was now so obscure I had unwittingly stumbled upon a Predator-style cloaking device and could disappear at will into the nether, free from thousands of questions and the token ‘selfie-with-the-weird-white-man’ photos you get asked for at every available opportunity.
I have also noticed there seems to be some unwritten traffic rules so I thought I would observe them and follow suit, because I really want to embrace India like a local. Become at one with the country. Blend in among the people.
Traffic lights are pointless because no-one stops, rarely even slowing down. The trick is to drive straight ahead and honk your horn as erratically as you can. Seems legit.
Need to overtake? Well just put your foot flat and go for it! Who gives a fuck if there’s something coming the other way? Drop it down a gear and go for it, son!
“Get the fuck outta the way man! I’m wanna pass some cars n’ shit!”
Car or motorbike in your way? Just ram those fuckers right off the road! How dare they sit in the way, all high and mighty and shit?
Young woman with a small child trying to cross the road? Aim straight for her and beep the shit of your horn! That will speed those bastards up a bit!
On a bus and need a shit or a piss? Why stop? Just hang your cock/ass out of the window and let it fly free! No one will notice, the air already smells like sewerage anyway! Instead of that ‘stale-old-crap’ smell, let’s liven it up with a ‘fresh-turd-right-outta-the-asshole’ smell!
It’s great! Make your own rules and live on the edge. Become a master of your own destiny. FTW and everyone in it. By crikey, this country is really starting to grow on me.
Kilometers travelled 9 500
Flat tyres 3 and 1/2
Times nearly killed lost count at around 100