The traffic clubs

Come, lets club Bangalore traffic before it clubs you! The chaos called Indian traffic has patterns if you spot them (see lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, etc), and several groups, call them clubs, if you observe the dynamisms on display.

Leader’s club – The biggest club on our roads with the powerfully addictive logo that goes – “Everyone must get to lead at least once”. To lead is Indian. The members got upstaged at some stage of their lives. Ruled by spouses at home, rat-raced by smarter colleagues at work, and lead by Politicians to nowhere – if not one of these, then these folks were perhaps undone by front-bencher students back in their school days. Come driving time, and they get the opportunity for some sweet leadership revenge. Advice on dealing with them? Good old divide and rule. Prop the wannabe leaders up against each other, and you will find your escape route!

Newton’s club – Members swear by a popular physicist’s third law of motion, which in the Indian traffic world translates to – I dent you, you dent me and we’ll be unhappy family. A small possible problem may be – these guys assume everyone else knows the third law as well. But surprise for those who believe India is an illiterate nation, and a boost for those who always believed we have a scientific bent of mind – most of us do! So when that daredevil Qualis or Indica puts its nose in an impossibly tight lane that belonged to you, you just make way. How to deal with this club? Join them, or join the comprehensives (see below).

Comprehensive club – Run scared, wither away or hold your breath if you ever get to share your lane with them. The power of comprehensive insurance (still rare in India, most buy insurance that covers third party damages and nothing else) makes these guys do one better than the Newtonians. The fear of reaction is remarkably less and they don’t mind a brush. If you ever saw a Skoda RS eve-tease those bovine Altos or smarter Zens, you witnessed the power of ‘comprehensive’.

The Socialists – These guys recognize the overwhelmingly socialist mindset of our populace. When two guys fight, the bigger and richer must be at fault – this theory sells far quicker than the elitist explanations of rules and best practices. Adventuring two wheelers and three legged animals called Auto rickshaws make up most of this club. Advice on how to deal with them? Well, avoid. Because after all, ours is a socialist republic!

The Big Boys – Welcome the biggies who practice this age old of trick of using size as the bullying advantage. The socialists, comprehensives, Newtonians and leaders, all will run for their lives if you can command a bus, lorry or vans into their ranks, because, whatever convictions one may have, life always come first you know. I assume you wont ask for any advice on dealing with this club.

There are several others like the yellow plate club, NRI club, and more that haven’t been explored here for lack of time and space. If you have more, please share!

PS: For those with overly scientific minds, here is a special club I have observed to exist.

The Heisenberg club – If you are the aggressive sort who loves to pick fight with evil offenders on the road (I was, and sometimes still am), be aware of these guys. These fans of Heisenberg (of Uncertainty principle fame) know that a traffic incident, as in a brush, dent, scrub or dent, and the resulting fight happen at two different points of time and space. Consequently, you can never accurately reconstruct or prove the specifics of any traffic incident.


11 Responses

  1. Hey Pranav.. good grouping… you must drive a long way…

    Well do you?

  2. LOL!! Super grouping!

  3. Is there a Whiners Club too – and you know where many of laptop dangling, blue tooth totting would belong…

  4. Dont want to come across as sexist but what about the Princess Diana group? Women who have been taught to drive at 30Kmph (if you can ever attain that speed in India) in the fast lane and ignoring all well intentioned blinkers and horns.

  5. You forgot the “Village-to-City” group, formed by bullock carts, the invincible tractors (met a horrible accident with one of these – would have been squashed by the big rear tyres).

    Also, the “City-market” club. Cant put them in words, need photos, if anyone dares to venture out there to get some snaps?

  6. Vijay, actually I don’t. Most of the times I work from home. But when I do drive, all I do is observe, grin and bear.

    Indiamusing, hey, if we all keep it to 30kmph, things’d be much better in our city. The avg speed for Bangalore City traffic is 14 kmph (or similar, bit unsure). Amongst Indian Metros, I am told Kolkata is the best, 19 kmph. So doing 30+ only gives you the speed illusions and makes you one of the contributors to the chaos.

    NRI bro, yes there is a Whiners club as well. All Indian bloggers (like me) are members by default. But all readers are not. Only the select few like you have that privilege :). So tell me my friend, did you find those Neo ads on youtube!?

  7. Bangalorean, v few bullock carts these days, only in the peripheral areas, caught unaware by our ever expanding city. And those tractors exist because these builders save on transportation cost by using them instead of trucks. Perhaps “builder’s club” will be a better name. The club will include those lorries that rain sand and pebbles on anyone who dares to follow them!

  8. […] by silkboard on April 16th, 2007 When I talked about the socialists (see Traffic clubs), this is the sort of thing I was referring to. I had saved this small piece from ToI Bangalore, […]

  9. pranav:

    “There are several others like the yellow plate club, NRI club, and more that haven’t been explored here for lack of time and space. If you have more, please share!”

    no more clubs, but do check out these hilarious traffic jams. bring your own bread (byob)!


    only when the chaddi gang comments on your blog will it be as famous as pranav’s! :-)


  10. s.b., I posted the same email from author X (still untraced) few weeks ago – The joyous jams

    Haven’t written a traffic post in a while. Its time for more gadgets and clubs. Just you wait.

  11. whoops! how did i miss it? :-(

    – s.b.

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