In India, Traffic jams are a procedure of everyday life. The saying goes around here - If you are not consistently stuck up in traffic, then you are not really moving around a lot. In fact , in India , one requires to dedicate specific time slots daily for meeting traffic jams. Only once in a blue moon it so happens that the roads are sparsely populated.
However a blue moon is a rare thing. And if one is living in Mumbai - the most densely populated city in the world, then the blue moon simply does not exist. In Mumbai, just like in any other city in the world, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west but the traffic always rises in the north , south , east , west , up (air space congestion) , down and in any other direction that you can come up with.
Living three years in Mumbai has helped me accumulate some observations which can be of aid when it comes to Mumbai traffic.---
1 . While in Mumbai , one should always carry a hygrometer(a device which measures moisture content in the air around us) with him/her. The intensity of Mumbai Traffic is directly proportional to the moisture content in the air.
As absurd as it may sound, the claim for hygrometer is well supported with data --When there is moisture or worse a slight drizzle in the air, people drive a fraction slower than their usual speed just to be careful to avoid any slippery incidents (Indian roads are supportive of the idea of driving fast). This reduction in speed is cascaded to the traffic behind and eventually brings the traffic to a complete halt. Some fools worsen their speed and hence the traffic by getting all romantic while admiring the clouds and the rains while driving.
In fact with time and experience, you can deduce from the hygrometer reading the amount of time that you have to be stuck standstill in the traffic. A reading of 60 % (slightly above normal moisture) means that you are to be standstill for 18 minutes. So why not leave the car amidst the traffic and grab a few eatables from the roadside shop? A reading about 80% gives you ample time to catch a good 40 minutes power nap in the car. Anything about 95% should be seen as an opportunity to catch a 2 hour movie in the nearby theatre.
2. Many inexperienced with Mumbai traffic rules make the fundamental mistake of thinking that a queue in Mumbai means standing one behind the other.In Mumbai , a queue means standing one besides the others and if there is less space then the definition of queue is extended to mean pushing others away and then standing one beside the other.
You don’t want to me more late than you already are to reach home, do you? Then you need to adapt your concepts regarding the queue.
3. Regularly play carom , snooker or billiards .You should gain expertise on one of these games before you hit the Mumbai roads with your vehicle. These games develop your idea of tricky angles and deviations. This knowledge is critical while driving – you never know when you may need to squeeze in between a few cars to move ahead. Or worse you may have to deflect yourself at an angle when some novice is trying the same squeeze with may end up in his somersault.
4.Always carry good quality ear plugs with you. For even though the traffic is jammed for the next 5 kms ahead of you, the person just behind you is always convinced that he/she is stuck in this traffic only because of you and if somehow you get out of the way , he /she would whizz to home in 5 seconds . Hence this person keep honking the horns of his/her car ceaselessly.After the few minutes , the ceaseless honking with be accompanies by ceaseless cursing and swearing. Without a nice pair of ear plugs, you will be distracted with all this noise while you are busy swearing at the person ahead of you.
Happy Driving !!!!