What's the connection between Bengaluru traffic and Russian Roulette? How do Indian drivers compose symphonies using honks? Well, this piece has more on it...!
Bengaluru's traffic has virtually scared Nick Engler, Director of Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company (WBAC) based out of Dayton in Ohio. Nick, who was in India along with his wife Mary Jane, shared his unforgettable experience to OneIndia.
As part of his global mission promoting the works of Wright Brothers by installing the Flyer simulators, Nick was in Bengaluru. The Flyer is already operational at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) in Bengaluru.
OneIndia had earlier featured Nick's mission, who primarily uses the story of the Wright Brothers to inspire young people so that they could pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. [Flying the Wright way, Nick Engler lands in India with an inspiring mission]
Nick says he was aware of Bengaluru as the technology hub of India, which is often compared to Silicon Valley in the United States.
"Before coming here, I had no idea that it was also the center of aviation, but that makes sense since Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd is based here. To be honest, outside the VITM, I had very little interaction with any of your hi-tech companies. Because I'm very interested in electric car technology, I was delighted to find the Reva headquarters was just a few blocks from the VITM," says Nick.
He says the story he has already shared with many since his visit to Bengaluru is about the maddening traffic.
"You have to remember that I live in a town of 6000 people. There is so little traffic; the kids often play baseball on the side streets. I have never experienced anything like Bangalore traffic, not even when I visited New York or Washington DC," says Nick.
Indian drivers passionate about honking
Quoting from an email he had sent to a friend, Nick says Bengaluru traffic is so unbelievably dense and roiling that it defies description.
"There is no metaphor that comes close. This is one of the Wonders of the World. If traffic were scenery, this would be the Grand Canyon of Vehicular Transportation. Mare Jane and I spent several minutes with a European man staring wide-eyed from a street corner, then all three of us burst into laughter. It was our only defense. Crossing the street is a danger on a par with Russian Roulette," says Nick.
According to him, the most unbelievable part of his traffic experience was putting up with the horns.
"Indian drivers love to honk. They live for it, they are passionate about it; they compose symphonies with nothing but honking. And once again, there is no word in the English language that describes it -- riotous, joyous cacophony is but a faint attempt to describe this sacrament of honking. Imagine that the Beatles were coming to America for the first time and all teenage girls in all 50 states had their vocal cords replaced with automobile and truck horns. That would just begin to give you an inkling of an idea of what this is like," says Nick.
Traffic scary, but people very helpful
Traffic might have scared them, but Nick and his wife were touched by the helping nature and the warmth of the people of Bengaluru city.
"The best and most treasured impression my wife and I take away is the generosity, helpfulness, and genuine warmth of the many people we met. We are well-traveled people, so believe me when I say this is a rare and precious thing in a city of 12 million people," says Nick.
"This warmth is something I associate with rural America, and my experience is that as the density of the population grows, the people grow more rude and self-centered. But in Bangalore, you may have the insane traffic of a megacity, but you have the warm hearts and souls of a small town," says Nick.
(The writer is an author, blogger and seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. His upcoming book 'Precious Souls' captures the inspiring lives of special children and their families. He is the Consulting Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)