I arrived in India at about 2:30 am local time. There was a slight drizzle of rain. It was a bit humid, but much cooler than Phoenix. I was picked up at the airport and made the common mistake of trying to get in the right side of the car. Everything is backwards here, of course. While I no longer drive I do remember the one question I got wrong on my written driver’s test when I was 16 years old: “What do you use your horn for?” or something like that. My mother teased me because I answered: “To let other people know where I am.” or something like that. Well, mother, here in India that is exclusively what the car horn is used for! To let other drivers know where you are. Besides that observation the only time I saw a turn signal being used was a motorcycle that had a left turn signal on contently driving down the highway, with absolutely no intention of tuning left for many kilometers. At lunch today (more on my first meal later) after reporting my observations to the folks I was eating with I was told that driving was done “by instinct” here. To drive you needed to be able to anticipate what the other cars are going to do. Rarely are traffic control signs used to control traffic. They are more like suggestions. “You can tell which way a driver is going to make his car go by the way his face looks,” one party at the table commented.
Today I took lunch with several very nice Indian men. Lunch is the main meal of the day. Today is India’s Independence Day. There was nothing special for the meal and except for a “Happy Independence Day” greeting at the beginning of the meal it seamed like it was as usual as any other meal would be. It is traditional to eat with ones fingers here and I did just as everyone else did and used no utensils, except those that were used to serve the food to my plate. The conversation was varied and I was introduced to everything from India’s culture to its politics. Fascinatingly all in English.
I’m off to rest now. Hopefully I’ll get to an open air market this evening and maybe to and Independence Day celebration this evening. I’ll be taking my nap to car horns blaring at the street below, thinking of writing to the California DMV about that question on the written driving test.