I apologize in advance for the lack of swearing in this article. Even for a guy like me, the words that I’d like to use in describing Hyderabad don’t exist in this universe. If you’d prefer not to read this rant of frustration, just go through this Facebook post and you’ll get the complete picture.
My riding life started in probably the worst possible place in India – Chandigarh. Everything is organised like the entire city suffers from extreme OCD, everyone follows traffic rules, and the system works perfectly. Chandigarh is the worst possible place in India to begin your 2-wheeled existence because after that, everything else looks like shit.
Next came Delhi, and even though the pollution and the traffic and the people sucked, the roads were still pretty wide, and there were plenty of places around to have some fun. Then Chennai happened, and although I didn’t get to ride much there, I’d have probably slit my throat with my bike’s rear sprocket if I had to live there any longer than the 6 months that I did.
Along came Mumbai, and THE best years of my riding. Even though Mumbai is completely, incessantly and royally fucked with traffic, the people are brilliant, and so are the tonnes of places around to ride to. Pune is better than Mumbai as far as the weather goes, but the traffic is just too childish and the people too juvenile.
And then it was time for Bangalore.
I’ve heard many people say Bangalore is the best city in India to live in, and that it has the best weather and some other random best stuff.
For a very long time I was convinced that Bangalore is THE worst place to be a biker/driver in. The traffic is just insane, I have never seen so many people on so few roads. The Police is much more interested in filling their pockets by sucking on non-KA registered vehicles, rather than regulating the widespread epidemic of idiocy that’s infected souls far and wide. And the weather is simply horrid, hot, humid, and unpredictable.
But then I came to Hyderabad, and Bangalore felt like a mother’s warm embrace against Hyderabad’s kick in the balls.
Today marks my 1st anniversary of life in Hyderabad, and in many ways it’s been the worst decision of my life. Hyderabad is good for a lot of things, extremely cheap cost of living, very pleasant weather, and friendly people, but as far as the roads are concerned, they are filled with the most retarded, completely insensitive, braindead zombies I’ve ever seen.
I’ll try and break down the Hyderabadi experience in the 6 points below, in the order of increasing fucktardery.
6. Speed bumps
Like the Ebola killed millions in Africa, Speed Bumps have killed millions in India, the only difference is that nobody gives a single shit about Speed Bumps.
And Hyderabad is the Speed Bump Capital of India, especially the stealth versions.
I have never seen so many speed breakers in my life, ever. The road might be 3 feet wide, with giant potholes and a dragon breathing fire from the top, but it’ll still have 13 speed bumps of varying sizes for every meter you travel.
And the best part? All of them are completely unmarked.
And the dickishness doesn’t just stop there. In front of my house there was a black, unmarked speed breaker that plenty of people missed and went over hard. One day a piece of the bump broke off from its left most side, so naturally bikers started taking their bikes through that gap. How do you think the imbeciles that unfortunately count themselves among humans solved this problem?
They put a giant black stone in that gap.
Imagine that! You are riding nicely, it’s a cool evening, and your wifey is finally enjoying the 2-wheeled life. You notice a speed breaker, so you slow down a bit, and there’s a guy trying to overtake you like there always is, so go a bit to the left. Before you know it your handlebar has gone straight though your wife’s throat and your dick is stuck in the chain.
Who pays the hospital bill?
I don’t know what fetish Hyderabadis have with speed breakers, they probably have a strong liking for long, black, hard things that bump them on the underside. All I ask for is a fair warning, I don’t mind speed bumps, but I do mind it when I notice they are there after I’ve been flung 20 feet in the air.
I cannot describe to you in words the sheer scale of this problem in Hyderabad. Let me give you an example of a situation that I faced in a car.
I was sitting in the passenger seat, and we were driving near Kukatpally, a busy area with a big 4 lane road going through it. The time was 7 PM, and it was dark. There’s always traffic over there, and that day was no different, so we were going rather slow, even for such a wide road.
In one stretch the traffic became a bit sparse, so naturally the speeds went up. We finally felt like we were out of the traffic, but then I saw literally the craziest sight I have ever seen on any road in my life.
From the left side there was a guy moving towards the divider in the middle of the road. He had his tiffin in the right hand, and his mobile in the left, with headphones going to his ears. We must’ve been doing 50-60 kmph, nothing too quick, but he just didn’t give a fuck!
His eyes were on his phone, he couldn’t hear anything because of the headphones, and without looking for anybody, he started crossing the road, swinging the tiffin in his right hand.
I’m not shitting you, imagine yourself on the wheel, going on a wide road with the knowledge that there are people following you pretty close up your ass. What you see in front of you is a grown man, educated by the looks of his clothes and the laptop bag he’s carrying, strolling down the middle of the road, while looking at his phone, listening to some soothing music, and playing with his tiffin.
If I was on the wheel, I might have killed him, on purpose.
When the car did miss him by sheer luck, you should’ve seen his face. His expressions were saying “What the fuck man? Can’t you see I’m walking?”.
The jaywalking problem in Hyderabad is severely compounded by the fact that there are no foot overbridges, AT ALL. I’ve never seen a city of this kind, which calls itself a metro, and yet forces its citizens to walk straight across busy roads and survive. The worst part is that the jaywalkers just don’t care if it’s a green or a red or a rainbow, they’ll just walk straight on even if a light has just gone green right beside them and they know someone will knock them over and kill them.
4. High beams
EVERYONE is on high beams, and I’m not exaggerating.
It’s rather obvious why everyone is on high beams at night, they all know that there are unmarked speed breakers everywhere, and they also know that there might be random humans waltzing across the road. Add to the fact that barely any road has street lights, and what you end up with are blinding high beams in every direction you look.
And I don’t blame the people for keeping their high beams on, you are forced to do it, but the problem is that it’s their own stupidity that’s forcing them to. What I do blame these morons is for keeping their beams on high, even if the person in front lowers his.
What I also blame them the most is for keeping their fog lamps on, at all times. This gives you the biggest idea of what level of assholiness goes on in this city. This is the thought process that goes on in every person’s head once they sit on the driver’s seat.
OK, so it’s dark, so I must put my headlights on, at high-beam so nobody else can see shit too. Oh and also, since I can clearly see there’s no fog at all, because this is Hyderabad and there has never been fog in the history of time, I should light up my fog lights too, just to ensure nobody can see absolute shit too.
Fog lights don’t start on their own, like parking lights or daytime running lights. These people actually move their hand, and rotate that switch.
And then there are the people themselves. Hyderabad has a large Muslim population, which creates the single most dangerous situation ever in the history of mankind.
High beams + Fog lights + No street lights + Jaywalking women covered from head to toe in black burkas.
They are like ghosts from the Conjuring, you don’t have even the slightest idea when they are going to spawn in front of you, and there’s no way you can see them before it’s too late.
Good thing they mostly carry cheap purses studded with fake diamonds.
3. No policing
Throughout India, I have never seen such a pathetic traffic Police department as in Hyderabad. They are treated like Jokers, and nobody gives a rat’s bulimic ass about them. And why should they give a rat’s bulimic ass about a department that insists on calling itself Cyberabad Traffic Police?
First of all, it’s the dress. In 2016, Hyderabad traffic policemen wear, and I’m not kidding here, Bell Bottom pants with such a tight fit around their balls that it almost looks like a camel toe.
And it gets worse, because on top they wear a tight shirt, with an Indiana Jones hat at top.
Not just the humiliation, they have no power either. I was once standing on a red light in Jubilee Hills, and in front of me I could see a policemen waiting in ambush for traffic offenders. 2 dudes came on a motorcycle, and nobody was wearing a helmet. The traffic cop moved in to stop them, holding his hand out, and the guys never even cared! It’s like the policemen didn’t exist, like he was a ghost. They didn’t even attempt to increase speed or turn a bit, they just went straight for the cop, at which point the cop moved aside, and they kept going straight on, talking smoothly like the way they were before this little inconvenience.
Apparently, there’s no mandatory helmet rule in Hyderabad, a fact that’s easy to see by how many people go out there without any protection. I’ve heard that when police do try to force people do wear helmets, they protest. They actually protest someone saving their life!
Since there is no policing in Hyderabad, no traffic laws exist, none at all.
Driving on the wrong side is common, running red lights is common, driving/riding while on the phone is almost fashionable, it’s actually hard to find someone not doing it. But the most annoying thing is how this lack of oversight leads to simple journeys being completely fucked up.
The route from my home to my wife’s office is simple, there are 3 red lights over the 8 kms, 2 of which are left turns for me so I should be able to take the free slip roads and keep going.
There’s no such thing as free lefts. In Chandigarh, everyone always stays away from the left side on a light because they know that route is meant for people taking the free left. In Hyderabad, not even one single time has it happened that I was able to go through a green light on the left without putting my foot down for some moron who’s blocking the road.
Oh you want to go left which you very easily can because the light is green? Fuck you, if I can’t go, you can’t go.
After I take the right from the only red light that I have to face on this route, there’s normally a small jam. Normal intelligent people would just go through the jam, Hyderabadis occupy the footpath, and it’s so frustrating to see it. You know what they are doing is wrong, but when your clutch hand is on fire, and your legs are on fire, and you see others whizzing past you at 60 kmph riding 3 feet above you, it just burns your heart out.
2. Hyderabadis are bullies who don’t want to be bullied
I hate people who think too highly of themselves, and Hyderabadis are on the top of that list. I think it’s because of the Nizam shit, or the new Telangana state or whatever, but the people over here hold themselves in too much of a high regard.
And that’s a huge problem, because not only are they giant morons, they actually believe they are doing the right thing.
In other cities, when you see someone coming from front with the high beams on, you just blip your high beams on and they lower theirs. I generally take it to mean that they understood they were wrong and have corrected the mistake.
In Hyderabad, when you see someone coming from front with the high beams on, you just blip your high beams on and nothing happens, so you do it one more time, and still nothing, switch to high beam, go head on into the car in front, get out the door, and ask the guy why he was going on high beams.
And there’s no answer for that, because you can’t argue with a mentally challenged person.
When you are on the road, you can feel that constant attack of bullying all around you. And yet like most decent people, if you bully them back they don’t take it like a man. They can overtake you with impunity, or drive around on the right side of the wrong side of the road, or murder you and rape your dog, but if you return the favor, you end up watching them explode like bitches.
Their ego is far bigger than their skill.
1. Hyderabadis are not afraid of dying
And this is the biggest reason for this entire orgy of madness. When you are driving down the road, you never speak directly to the people driving around you, it’s always non-verbal communication. Lights, horns, and the way your vehicle moves are enough to tell the other person your intentions. Here’s the difference between the communication that happens on a 2 lane, no divider road in Chandigarh and one in Hyderabad.
*Man drives into your lane while attempting to overtake a guy in front of him in Chandigarh*
You: Dude, you can’t make this move, go back into your lane.
Him: Na I can make it.
You: Dude, there isn’t enough space or time.
Him: Na there is
You: Dude, you are going to kill us both.
Him: Oh I’m sorry, I’ll back off right away.
*Man drives into your lane while attempting to overtake a guy in front of him in Hyderabad*
You: Dude you can’t make this move, go back into your lane.
Him: Fuck off.
You: Dude, there isn’t enough space or time.
Him: *No answer*
You: Dude, you are going to kill us both.
You: Damn man are you serious right now? You’d really kill yourself, your family, and a stranger just to gain a few seconds over a trip that’s lasting 27 hours?
You: This is my part of the road, I’m allowed to drive on it by law, if you don’t stop we’ll both crash.
Him: We won’t if you go left into that ditch over there.
The people over here have no regard for human life, but that’s not a problem, because it’s the same all over the country. The real problem is that they don’t even have any regard for their OWN life! And that changes the equation enormously.
Driving or riding anywhere is always about predicting the future. You make decisions based on the continuous input of knowledge that you get, and that’s how things work. One of the most basic rules of the road, and of life, is self-preservation, the belief that everyone wants to live. That belief is what gives you the confidence to overtake that car at 100 kmph, you know that he wants to live, so he’ll not randomly move right and hit you and commit murder suicide.
That rule doesn’t work in Hyderabad. I know because I’ve tried it.
In other cities, if you are overtaking someone, and someone else comes from the front, they’ll be angry with you, but they’ll most likely give you space. In Hyderabad, last week I was overtaking someone, and a Swift guy was coming from the front. He had 1 entire empty lane to his left, and there was plenty of time to move there too. I was on a bike, so it wasn’t even like he had to move all the way, but he didn’t. He didn’t move a single millimeter from the line that he had in the middle of the road. As I kept coming closer, I was looking for that twitch, that “Oh fuck it’s now too late and we’re too close I’ll move”, which never happened. If I hadn’t accelerated at the last moment and moved my handlebar, his right mirror would’ve hit my elbow.
Everything is unpredictable, you have just no idea at all what’s coming for you, from where, and when.
Another general rule is that old people and women drive more rationally than others on the road, but out there I’ve been overtaken by 90 year old grannies on old Kinetics from the wrong side, through a bundle of dirt and stones. Young, old, infant, dead, all of them go like the undead.
You approach a right hand turn, and you see an old woman is coming from there. You imagine she’d slow down, so you can cross, at which point she will cross and we’ll all live happily ever after. What actually happens is that she gives you the high-beam, then moves across the road, tries to take the apex of her right turn like a MotoGP racer, which incidentally means she’s now coming straight for you, which pushes you to the right hand side, momentarily reversing the way driving is supposed to be done, and destroying the fabric of space time for all of eternity.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with traffic in a city, Hyderabad has the unique distinction of being the only place that I know of where everything has gone wrong at the same time. I have omitted the lack of road infrastructure, or the way their elusive Metro Rail project has fucked everything, or many of the other problems that plague any other major city in India too.
I don’t know how long I can survive over here, how long the track riding and the off-roading and the cheap rent can distract me from the fact that I’m wasting my life stuck among assholes.
One thing is for certain, wherever I go next, it’s going to be paradise.