Proper education


Last month, I brought my grudge against pedestrians to this website and concluded that I'm as unpopular on the web as I am in print. Alright, that's not the point. I voiced my dislike for peds with no regard for traffic rules and pondered upon the non-existence (at least the enforcement bit) of traffic rules for peds. While my blog failed to shoot me into the A-list of scribes (two web comments...) I got my answers from real-life saddle-time. And it wasn't in the nicest way. In short, it ended in my knobbly-tyred Impulse screeching to a halt a few metres after knocking into a young chap's ribs, helping him upgrade to better quality earphones since I'd executed a quick U-turn and flung his current set into an open manhole leading to the vast Arabian Sea.

A couple of evenings later, an enthusiastic and attractive being of the opposite sex happened to comment on the experience of driving in India. A few pints later, the subject of driving/riding license tests was on the platter and apart from the enthusiastic dissing, a passive remark to the tune of 'Driving tests must be made harder to pass' was generated by one from our group of five beach-bummers. “How hard should the tests be, then?”, I asked myself in silent contemplation as the smoke from one of their cigarettes reached for the sky and our banter was eventually drowned out by Pink Floyd's Shine on you crazy diamond.

The current 'figure of eight' test is obviously a joke. Man has proven to reach 320 kph blindfolded, so a figure of eight on a no-obstacles course can be passed even by my Labrador while he's on siesta having eaten some birds. Now, it's unrealistic to expect handbrake turns as part of the curriculum and anyway, even the most seasoned and professionally trained drivers (like Michael Schumacher, for example) have been known to drive into walls at above 200 kph. So professional training is not the final solution. The answer is in an inculcation of common sense and courtesy. The effective usage of turn-signal indicators (or hands, if it has to be that way) relies not only on the application, but also the correct timing, for example.

For those of you who have kids in the family, I request you do inculcate a sense of logic and responsibility in them, from a driver's and pedestrian's perspective, as early as you can. The chap with the earphones, I should tell you, was barely in his twenties, probably has a family that has hopes pegged on him, and were it not for disc brakes and a fair bit of rider control, could have gone home in a gunny bag.