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OMG While Traveling I Just Realised that I Miss Bangalore Traffic and Indian Drivers

After not having left India since September 2011, I now find myself again in my ‘native village’ in California for the second time in two months. This second trip I even stopped in Hong Kong for two days to explore the city because I had never been so far east before.

Needless to say the culture shock between Bangalore – the place that I now call home in my heart – and Hong Kong or California is tremendous. I experienced my first blissful sense of invisibility in two years in both places, which was wonderful. No one stared at me, I didn’t have to wrap up or cover up … and I can’t begin to say how relaxing that is … but the truth is I miss Bangalore!

I miss my friends and my team and chaat and fresh juice stands. It also turns out that there is also something else quite shocking from my new home that I miss when I’m far away … the traffic! Well, not traffic so much as the gracious nature of Indian drivers, and I have to say I never thought I’d be saying that. It’s true though.


Watch this really quick! This is still my favourite video of ALL TIME when it comes to driving in India. It shows the almost poetic grace and the organic and fluid movement of traffic. Sure there’s a ton of horn honking, but the whole thing looks like a synchronised dance number!!


My California driver license expired years ago because I moved away from California the last time back in 2003, so I find myself at the mercy of my friends and family to transport me around from point A to point B. Irrespective of how good a driver they are or not, it’s interesting to report that so far everyone I’ve driven with, except my little brother, has had some fit of road rage while we were driving, annoyed by other drivers to the point of being outwardly upset about it for a moment or for several seconds – telling them off from within the car and maybe making some kind of hand gesture … and it is just mind boggling to me. Honestly, what are they so upset about?

angela-bangalore-blog-i-miss-indian-drivers-and-bangalore-trafficAfter living in India for 2 ½ years, and having my amazingly Zen-like driver Shiva never lose his temper once, I just don’t see what riles them up to be honest! In California there are no crazy rickshaws or motorbikes trying to cut them off. There are certainly not dozens of people at any time trying to cross the street away from the zebra crossing. On top of that, they have BIG wide lanes and the orderly drivers there use one car per lane instead of converting any 2 lane road into a 5-laner!

When I see the road rage rear its ugly head, I just look at my Mom or friends and slowly shake my head and hold up my hands “meditation style” and softly say ‘it’s all gonna be okay, we will arrive in one piece just the same.’ … and then I throw in a ‘this is nothing!’ and giggle! Because once you’ve experienced Indian traffic, the orderly traffic in other countries is easy peasy lemon squeezy!

I don’t know the secret to the patience of so many Indian drivers but one theory I have is that they simply have the big picture of life in mind so they know that they will reach their destination just the same, even in the event that someone makes a wonky U-turn in front of them or moves across their lane. Of course, this Zen does come – oddly enough – with a heavy dose of horn honking but that’s a topic for another blog post altogether.

XOXO Angela

© 2013 Angela Carson. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce any part of this article without the author’s permission.

Angela Carson

At 21 I left uni, jumped into my Jeep Wrangler, and drove from my native California to live an adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I've explored 37 countries on 4 continents, residing in 8 of them (currently Indonesia's Riau Islands is my home). I even have a private pilot's license and was shot at once by bandits!

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. ha ha ha, it’s true… you do find a sense of calm & safety in midst of chaos on Indian roads which you won’t find in some other countries even with all wonderful roads, transportation and orderly pedestrians.

    It’s like finding peace while drowning on the sea 🙂

    OK, that’s too much of philosophy 🙂

    Well, it’s more like; once you accept the fact that you can’t do anything about the traffic, then you will become Zen at roads. You will focus on things you can do and let the things you can’t do take it’s course.

    He he he… But the last passage is true… Have applied in many situations and it worked.

    Have fun in California, going back to Bangalore?

    Give my regards to your family.

    1. AngelaCarson

      Hey Rhonald, new email address??  You are coming up as a new commenter…weird!  Yes, going back soon.  Ummmmmmmmmmm I think drowing in sea at peace might be stretching but I understood you 😉 hehe  cheers, Angela

  2. Margarita

    SO true! I also grew up in Southern Cali and road rage just comes naturally to anyone ( me specifically ) driving on CA freeways. After returning from my first trip to India, and commuting on freeways, my road rage simmered down greatly! I don’t know how Indians stay so calm, cool and collective, but its definitely a trait I love!

  3. Donna

    The honking was unbearable. I just didn’t get it. What the hell were they honking for? Was it really going to make anyone move any faster? I think that’s a very aggressive action – it’s not calm or cool!! No road rules either – highways of death. Hardly calm or cool! But I sure loved to drive there – mostly for the reaction I would get. 🙂 Of course, now in NJ, I curse in rush hour traffic but no aggression….

    1. DsylexicHippo

      In India,

      You honk when you’re happy,
      You honk when you are sad,
      You honk when you feel crappy,
      You honk to show you’re bad.

      You honk because you care,
      You honk because you don’t care,
      You honk without a pause,
      You honk just BECAUSE.

  4. pushpendra

    i would like to say that bangalore is different from other city of india. i am from north india people there are different even in all part of india..if you will go to delhi you will not find so called in bangalore if you will drive rashly no one will say anything or shout on you but when you will go to other place of india like delhi you can find out people shouting on you so my point is people of bangalore are different..thay have patience..
    p.s. i use bike so no need to wait :p

    1. Levitating_charminglyroguish_yogi

      India is like organized chaos. Chaos was though to be disorganized, random. But, now mathematicians think there is order to chaos in the universe.

      That explains India in terms of traffic, food, social customs, social behaviour, religions, dating, mating, marriage, birth, death and finally re-incarnation.

      Somewhere in this chaos of 5500 years, Indian civilization has found a sense of order.

      So, fasten your seat-belts , say OM, Shanthi and enjoy the ride of India’s chaos;)

      When I am in India, I just avoid the traffic by levitating 🙂

  5. Subhadip

    This patience you mentioned in your post is something unique. In different cities in India, I have seen that the traffic is random, irresponsible and frustrating. But somehow, all the drivers have a unique understanding. It is as if they can read each other’s mind and increase or decrease their speed while driving. It’s amazing!

  6. krishna

    Hi Angela – I first was introduced to your posts through some ‘likes’ that some of my facebook friends had on your blog entries. But today i managed to read some of your blog entries. It is absolutely amazing ( and very nice of you ) to write about Bangalore and India with so much detail. For e.g the article on the street art and murals, that i never bothered to pay attention in my 11 years in Bangalore. Hats off to you. From now, i have made a mental note to observe and photograph the mundane and daily events in Bangalore, that i have not bothered to notice.
    I am a cyclist and managed to string together a few blog posts on my cycling in and around Bangalore here,
    Being a cyclist i can tell you, it is another great ( and healthy ) way to check out the area ( would be safer with male company ) . Please give it a try, if possible.

    1. AngelaCarson

      Thanks for your kind comments, I really appreciate it a lot.  Cycling sounds fun but I’m sure I would DIE haha  I can barely walk across the street with my life, I see my life expentancy dwindling a LOT if I bought a bike hehe I will check out your blog tomorrow 🙂  -Angela

      1. krishna

        You are probably right about life expectancy being cut short cycling on Bangalore roads, but i guess i got used to cycling here. But it is not just Bangalore, i cycle a lot on the outskirts of Bangalore, where the roads are much easy to ride, i have posted some pictures of the areas around Bangalore.

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