Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Led by The Stranger.

I have no problem in driving in queue or in long lines of vehicle, provided, the vehicle behind me changes frequently or if there is no other options but to move one behind the other, due to heavy traffic. But I have serious issues with the tailgaters. I do not like when a same car follows me closely. It irks me more than feeling afraid and I end up looking at the rear view mirror more than on the road in front.

The double lane Indian highway, is almost complete with four lanes in total – two for coming and two for going. It is just thrilling to drive on such roads. It gives the feelings of driving on the road somewhere in western countries. The turns are gentle and proper calculated banks provided to negate the centripetal force. However, one should expect vehicle coming in opposite direction, head long, on the one way road. Traffic sense of Indians are as bad as us. The slower and heavily loaded trucks would be found moving on the right lane, which may make you wonder whether you are on the road in USA; when you have to overtake it, from the left after repeated honking and tailgating. The act of overtaking from the wrong side, makes your hair raise to its ends till the time a length of the truck is crossed in that longest seconds of your life. The longest second repeats its doses pretty often, till the time you get used to it.

The Highway No 31 of India is used thoroughly by the Bhutanese commuters. The joy of the mountain drivers can be seen on the face and, as well as from the speed of the cars. It is only on this road, that the mountain cars can use its disused gears - five and six - for lesser power, more speed. On mountains, it requires more power for uphill and no power downhill except for the strong brakes. The acceleration and revving to change to higher gear is frequently punctuated by the numerous sharp bends and corners. The discerning drivers feel that the gear 5 or 6 are redundant on such roads, until they are on roads in plains.

The highway can take you only till some distance. Thereafter, you are expected to turn north towards where the mountains are. It is problematic for the novice drivers to know the exact spot to turn North and leave the highway. In such case it is prudent to follow, white-on-red number plates. They are bound to turn north.

I was on the Highway nearing Rangia, where I had to turn north to approach Bhutan. I saw a car desperately trying to catch up, in the rear view mirror. I slowed down and the car that was following me slowed down too. I sped up and it was speeding up. It was getting into my nerves as I was allergic to tailgaters. I gave and indicator for it to overtake but it refused to overtake. Driving normally was hard when you have a stranger in the car following closely.

When I stopped at the bifurcation at Rangia, the car stopped too. Out came a young couple and few passenger. The driver came to me and said, “Thank you sir, but you drive pretty fast.”

“What for? Oh I was trying to get rid of you from my back”. And I laughed aloud, remembering my first time on the same road and how I tried to follow some slow moving cars. He chose a wrong car and he must have had a tough time, trying to catch up the Audi with Maruti. (How I wish? Just adding masala). But then that day there were a few Bhutanese cars on that highway and only 2 going towards Samdrup Jongkhar. If I got lost he would have got lost also.

When I moved from there after a hot little Indian Chai. The red alto was not seen at my tail, He must have taken a long rest and it will not make much difference in the timing as he drove quite fast, which made me drive faster - earlier. We both had a sigh of relieve. He was not lost and I had no tailgater.......