Traffic

Hyderbad traffic is a careening, chaotic experience, without pattern or guidelines. The fundamental principle of driving in Hyderabad seems to be to force your way through in defiance of all obstacles. And the Hyderbad driver’s sole means of removing an obstacle in his path–be it a car, a bunch of cars, a truck, a flock of motorcycles, a herd of cows an old man or a pair of women in saris–is to drive straight at it, honking lustily. Any excursion in a van or car, motorcycle or taxi in Hyderabad really is just a series of lurches and near misses. A few days ago, our driver narrowly grazed a woman in a burkha moments after narrowly missing the rear end of a motorcycle. It is a running argument on this trip of who is the worst driver, Khan or “Son of Khan,” (as we call Khan’s son.) “Do you realize,” I said to Leonard one morning as we road to an internship site, “that if only one of the mishaps that happen regularly while driving here happened to you back home, you’d be talkinbg about it for a week?” Almost rear-ended that guy? Every three minutes.
Dipping midway into a blog is a little like entering Indian traffic for the first time. The narrative seems to be surging forward without a pattern or clear direction. (There is, perhaps, less possibility of imperiling your life by reading a blog.)
That’s a long introduction to the idea that it may be time to give an update on what’s been going on the “Business as Mission: India” interim. for the past nine days, the students in the course have been setting off at 9 a.m. to work in internships in the Hyderabad area. In  the evenings, they’ve been exploring the city (and Hyderabad is a vast city), shopping, dining and hanging out with their fellow students and with their work colleagues. Many of them have been invited into their employers’ homes. Every three days or so, there is a group dinner, where they meet alums and friends of Calvin. Last night, the entire group dined at the Chiraan Fort Club, located in a former palace in the city. The group invitation came courtesy of Michael and Archana Brian. Michael, a country coordinaor with Partners Worldwide, is the person responsible for setting up the students’ internships.
With the interships finished, the group is moving on to Jaipur, a tourist center nearby the Amber Fort and the Taj Mahal. First we’ll take a plane to Mumbai; then we’ll take a plane to Delhi, and then we’ll travel by motorcoach to Jaipur. That’s all fine, but for my money, there’s nothing like sitting up front in the van, swigging a Fanta, watching while Khan careers toward a clutch of pedestrians or drives headlong into oncoming traffic. As I told Karen after our driver putt-putted us sedately to the club: “I was kinda hoping to put my life at risk tonight.”

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About myrnaanderson

I live in Allendale Michigan, and I work at Calvin College as a senior writer in Communications and Marketing.
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