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Indian Roads: A Biodiversity Hotspot

Indian Roads: A Biodiversity Hotspot

February 16, 2012

Driving on Indian roads is an adventure not for the faint of heart. The roads here are alive - like a tropical rain forest!

Driving on Indian roads is an adventure not for the faint of heart. The roads here are alive. Alive like a tropical rain forest. It’s a complex biodiversity that supports different lifeforms. On a good day one can observe a number of species. To make it easier for the outsiders, I have attempted to compile a concise list of the most common:

1. Weavus Trafficus Zigzagus (The Road Snake)
: One of the most common species on the Indian roads. They have the ability to slither through the smallest of openings. Weaving through traffic, they care not for limb or life, their eyes fixed on the goal of being the first to stop at the next traffic signal. Usually a trait of motorcycle riders, but there are many car drivers too that have followed suit.

Trafficus Ninjus Blindspottum (Invisible Slither-er): A sub-category of the Slithering Snakes, they are more dangerous in the way that you hardly notice them until it is too late. They try and overtake you from the left, entering a blind spot where it is almost impossible to spot them. The driver may honk before overtaking, or he/she might just zoom by. Either case, your heart jumps into your mouth.
Silentum Shadowum Scooterus (Silent Striker): A new breed, these are usually found on the roads inside housing complexes and residential areas. Mostly children below the legal age on electric bikes. The stalkers not only come in from behind at a decent rate but true to their name, they move so noiselessly that it would put an owl to shame.

2. Blindus Colourus Spectrum (Traffic Mole): The characteristic feature of this species is that it is colour blind. They get a serious case of colour disorientation the moment they hit the road. In particular, their failure to distinguish between the colours Red, Green and Yellow ensures that there is always turmoil at the crossroads.

3. Startum Firstum (Hyperactive Hare)
: Usually on two or three wheels, they have an inherent desire to achieve pole position at the traffic lights. Wherever they are, they manage to squeeze in and hoard the first row...and the second and the third. The engines rev up and they start moving 10 seconds before the signal turns Green.

4. Hoggerus Rightum Turnus (Road Hog)
: Left turn is free in India and sometimes the green signal for going straight is on for a bit longer than the one for the right turn. Technically the ones turning right, should wait behind the front car in the right hand land. But this species usually occupies the front row of the column alongside the first car. And in a short span of 5 seconds, the whole road gets blocked as more Road Hogs arrive. While the ones wishing to go straight or left, are left cursing in a rage and looking at the green signal for them with 120 seconds remaining doesn't help.

5. Bullishum Cacophonous (Horn-y Bull)
: The bus drivers usually fall into this category but others are not far behind. Somehow they view the world as one big game console. An aggressive species, they make a lot of noise to get their way. Moving fast while blaring such raucous cacophoniesthat would put the entire race of crows to shame. Some say, it might be a mating ritual, but research are still continuing.

Bullishum Turtulus (Shelled Turtle): A unique sub specie of the Horn-y Bull. The tempos usually don't go beyond 30 kmph. Heaven have mercy on you if you are stuck behind one. These things don't move and don't give way. If there are more than one then I would suggest a cocktail of anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs. You can't do much at this moment, since they will all be trying to outrun each other, and as they all travel at 30 kmph and 10 if loaded......you do the maths.

6. Directionous Retardus (Bumbling Crab): The members of this specie keep driving in the wrong lane until such point they suddenly realise that they have to take a turn. And then they move to the correct lane without any notification. They are also known to drive on the wrong side of the road, into the oncoming traffic to save 50 metres of driving distance.

7. Foolium Shortsishtius (Humming Birds)
: These will keep honking to get a pass, then fly by you while flipping you the bird in disgust, and then get stuck behind a truck. This specie has only one aim in life and that is to irritate you. What is the point of accelerating, only to decelerate a second later behind a slow moving traffic? It beats me.

8. Tehzeebi Lukhnowus (Dumb Dodo)
: Not all on the road are trying to push forward. This group falls under this category. They have the sense to let everyone in the other lines to pass through them. At a crossroad, they will give way to the traffic from the other directions, with a smile. If you are stuck behind one, then the only way you can move forward is either by killing it or by committing seppuku.

9. The Unzebra Crossers (Normal Pedestrians)
: Pedestrians in India jaywalk. There will be a Zebra Crossing 20 metres ahead. An overhead bridge and an underpass within another 20 metres, but they will jaywalk. It is something in our genes and it cannot be altered. And if their daredevilry was not proof enough of how bad-ass they are, they also have a superpower. They can stop traffic by raising their hand (or they think they can).

10. Discus Jockium (Apes)
: This specie needs to share everything with the world around it. Even it's pathetic taste in music. And it ensures this by blaring music at full volume. Well, it is either that or it is stone deaf.

Nightus Apus (Vampire Ape): A subcategory of the Discus Jockium. It can not stand the sun rays and therefore gets the side windows and the front and rear wind-shield painted black. Yup! Not a film tint, but a black blacker than a black hole. And a deep bass will emit from the car that can usually be heard and/or felt within a kilometre radius. Though I have never entered such a vehicle, I think that it is an abyss. A portal to another dimension and the deep bass is the natural sound a wormhole makes when the space time field ceases to exist.
Politicus VVIPus (No One Knows) : They make noise but of a different kind. A common spectacle in Delhi, I am not sure if it is so common in other places. Their cars have Red or Blue beacons, announcing their arrival. It doesn't matter that the beacon is being used to drop the misses who is late for her Fish Spa appointment, or the kids who are late for school.

Though my list is not definitive, I have taken a quick review of the species that are most prominent. Driving in India can give any action movie a run for it's money. It’s like being in the Matrix. There are no laws except the law of survival and at each point your wit and reflexes are tested. The jungle law prevails.

25 Comments

  • deviousDiv
    By
    deviousDiv
    15.05.12 06:23 AM
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Ok seriously, I was reading this at work (naughty naughty) and burst out laughing so loud half the office turned around to stare.

    And some of your classifications-- the Foolium Shortsishtius, the Foolium Shortsishtius and the Tehzeebi Lukhnowus-- sheer genius. They exist everywhere! In fact I run into them daily on the Singapore roads. We have less polite words for them here though. ;)

    ~deviousDiv
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    19.02.12 12:10 AM
    @Snow Leopard,

    Boy! Oh Boy! Not many people have your type imagination to put such a serious problem in such a humorous way. Well! I showed it to my son and he asked me if these creatures really do exist in India. I said yes they crawl all over Indian roads and they resemble so much the human beings.

    He has never been to India. In the end he looked at your photo and said you look so serious and burst out laughing. Keep us entertained.

    Rajpriya
  • Snow Leopard
    By
    Snow Leopard
    18.02.12 11:03 PM
    To be frank I never expected such an enthusiastic response for this post. Quite overwhelming indeed.Thank you. :)
    And the number of new ideas that have been giving in the comments section, can be converted into another article. A part two, where more species could be discussed. Just mulling over the idea right now.
  • Snow Leopard
    By
    Snow Leopard
    18.02.12 11:00 PM
    @Rajpriya: True that. Sometimes you get so used to chaos that order asphyxiates you.
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    18.02.12 08:31 AM
    @Snow Leopard,

    I would say if anyone has driven in any city in India it would be so boring driving in any other city in any other country and every time you try to drive like in India you would see the middle finger of others pointing to the sky.
  • Snow Leopard
    By
    Snow Leopard
    17.02.12 10:59 PM
    @Katie: Yeah..I missed that one. The post had been published when I remembered the Mobile talkers. But all credit to you for the discovery and the naming. Now we have two nominees for the Nobel Prize in Biology next year :) @Jyoti you have tough competition ;)

    @Jen: Haha...everyone in every city of India says that if you can drive in their city, you can drive anywhere in the world.
  • Snow Leopard
    By
    Snow Leopard
    17.02.12 10:53 PM
    @Gopal: Glad you liked it
    @matheikal: Thank you. I just kept my eyes open for this one
  • Jen
    By
    Jen
    17.02.12 10:34 PM
    LOL! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post:)!!People today sure have lost the sense of driving. Maybe you should visit chennai sometime,Chennai has this AWESOME traffic that every Chennaite can attest to the fact that if you know to drive in chennai you can drive anywhere in the world :)!! ha ha
  • Katie Nathan
    By
    Katie Nathan
    17.02.12 09:12 PM
    Absolutely hilarious. :) You missed out on the mobile chatters (mobilum busilium dartinum) totally oblivious of the road while driving or crossing the road.

    I am sure you have more and of our government bus drivers who love to stop the buses in the middle of the road than at the bus stops.

    Best
    Katie
  • matheikal
    By
    matheikal
    17.02.12 05:34 PM
    Wonderful observations. Very correct too.
  • Gopal Sharma
    By
    Gopal Sharma
    17.02.12 05:23 PM
    Nice work.
    In fact, fantastically good work..:))
  • Jyoti
    By
    Jyoti
    17.02.12 11:21 AM
    @Snow Leopard : I believe I truly deserve the nobel prize. Cheers! :-)
  • Snow Leopard
    By
    Snow Leopard
    16.02.12 11:41 PM
    @Jitaditya: I am glad I could make you laugh
    @Harry: I think I will forward it to BBC. They might want to make a documentary. :)
  • Snow Leopard
    By
    Snow Leopard
    16.02.12 11:39 PM
    Typo in previous comment. I meant *noted not notified
  • Snow Leopard
    By
    Snow Leopard
    16.02.12 11:38 PM
    @Jyoti: Thank you. And your contribution has been duly notified. I shall recommend your name for the Nobel Prize in Biology next year.
    @Writerzblock: Mucho gracias, senora
  • Snow Leopard
    By
    Snow Leopard
    16.02.12 11:36 PM
    @Jayanth: Takes a bow
    @Rajpriya: Thank you. Thank you. I guess the Rickshaw species you refer to can be categorised somewhere between Bullishum Cacophonous and Directionous Retardus. It seems to share some gene structure from both the species. But the sudden u-turn is something unique.
    The former is called Indicatorus Ghajinium. This species suffers from short term memory loss.
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    16.02.12 08:32 PM
    @ Snow Leopard

    Nice written post regarding indian traffic in the city. I just couldn't stop laughing.

    I think all it's missing is David Attenborough's Voice narrating.

    HARRY
  • Jitaditya
    By
    Jitaditya
    16.02.12 06:28 PM
    Havn't laughed so much in recent times...
    Horny Bull...
  • Writerzblock
    By
    Writerzblock
    16.02.12 04:07 PM
    What a brilliant post, Snow Leopard!!!
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    16.02.12 02:47 PM
    @Jyoti,

    Snow Leopard has provided a solution to this problem of avoiding the Casanovas.

    You should travel around in a "Nightus Apus (Vampire Ape): A subcategory of the Discus Jockium. It cannot stand the sunrays and therefore gets the side windows and the front and rear windshield painted black",

    And a deafening hooter to it.
  • Jyoti
    By
    Jyoti
    16.02.12 12:47 PM
    A brilliant post! Although I have read quite a number of articles about driving in Indian road, this one was the funniest.

    Just wanted to add one more species to the list:

    Stunt Showers - Usually found in bikes, this species mainly include the college-goers. They do not bother if the road is empty or is stuck with traffic jam, they will wave thier bikes and ride it using one hand or one leg to impress the girl sitting in the car beneath them. It doesn't matter is if they will never see the girl again in thier life, but the few seconds to fame is a big ego boost to their manhood.
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    16.02.12 11:30 AM
    @Snow Leopard,

    Great! You are a Lion in the making. You have described the species so well. Please describe to what species the ones who have indicators blinking on the right and keep going straight or turning left or the other way round?

    How about the A-Rickshawwallahs who do unannounced U-turns in front of you spotting a potential hire on the other side of the road?

    Have you tried using Apple's Lion?
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    By
    Jayanth Tadinada
    16.02.12 11:20 AM
    Dude, awesome post. There are so many high points and spot-on punchlines. Very funny!

    Full marks on this one ;)
  • Snow Leopard
    By
    Snow Leopard
    16.02.12 09:24 AM
    @Satish: Thank you :)
  • satish
    By
    satish
    16.02.12 06:42 AM
    Extremely well written, a wonderful post...

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