I like to drive. I prefer to drive. In fact, when I don't drive, I'm a self-confessed back seat driver. Which isn't exactly easy to be when you've been schlepped around everywhere you go, every ... single ... day ... for almost two years.
No matter where we're going, I find myself sighing loudly when Velan turns down a side road to take a short cut, or shaking my head and pursing my lips when a bus, a scooter, or a pedestrian pulls out right in front of us and we have to slam on our breaks. I've even been known to mumble a couple of obscenities not-so-under my breath. But Velan? He never seems phased by the other drivers and his reactions to the mayhem are calm and collected.
It's not exactly the same when I drive. I'm not quite as calm as Velan is, rather I have a bit of pent up road rage. I shake my fist whenever I'm cut off, when I'm stuck behind an animal in the road, or when a barely drivable bus nearly sideswipes my car. I've written in the past about driving here in Chennai. To sum it up in one word: it's chaos. But once you get the hang of it, it's easy. Sort of. If you don't mind grinding your teeth and sweating through your already pit-stained tank tops.
Following the rules of the road makes it easy. Which are... drift from lane to lane, honk your horn with the rest of them, pass each and every car you can, and anticipate the stupidity that someone WILL cut you off at least every 100 meters. If you can think like a local, you can drive like a local.
When my parents were here back in December, we couldn't fit everyone in the car along with my driver. So I told him that he had the time off, and I drove instead. My parents got a kick out of it and took a few video clips. If you can handle a little shaky shaky of his back-seat video, a bit of under-my-breath commentary, and sweet accolades from my folks about my abilities, take a look at me driving.
And don't miss the last video. It's not every day you see a dog riding a motorcycle.