You can learn a lot about a place if you sit for a while and observe the types of vehicles passing by on the road. During one of my trips to India I sat at lunch and watched the traffic on the busy highway. Upon finishing, I stepped outside and snapped photos of some of the traffic on a busy highway over the course of about five minutes. You can look at my photos and read my observations below the fold…
The snapshot to the left is of the rear of a (big) truck. Big TATA and Mahindra trucks do the heavy lifting in India, carrying huge cargoes everywhere. They are brightly painted—each one different from all the others—and on the back of every one is the legend “Blow Horn — Use Dipper at Night.” When passing one of these behemoths, every driver honks, and sometimes the honking continues the entire time you’re passing. The honk is both a request to pass and a warning that I’m passing. Unlike the US, the honk is a courtesy, not an annoyance (in California it is illegal to honk except to warn other drivers in case of danger).
Lest you think otherwise, the photos I’m showing you express my admiration for a country where everything is used that possibly can be, and is re-used when it breaks. Very few things go to waste here.
And here are my photos:
|Huge cab on the front – small tank on the back. You’ll see another of these a few minutes later, with a completely different paint scheme. The tank is heavily loaded, however, because the back of the truck is weighted way down!|
|You’ll seldom see a scooter carrying only one passenger. And side-saddle at that.|
|Does anyone know why they always travel with the front door open?|
|This is about as close to a single-passenger vehicle as you’ll see. This one is probably carrying several people.|
|Ahem, that front door is open.|
|The donkey cart and the other traffic are on the same road. Yes, they stay left (the “slow lane” and I don’t know why the donkey isn’t spooked every time a bus goes by—maybe he’s deaf?|
|The three-wheeled vehicle is everywhere. In Delhi these three-wheelers are used as taxis and are CNG-powered.|
|Here’s the “seldom.” A single rider on this motorcycle. The tank truck’s design is like that of old English colonial buildings, with the solid look and the arched windows. Everything is squared off and utilitarian. A rolling palace.|
|The feeling you get is that nothing is wasted. If there’s a place to perch, someone is perched there.|
|The front of this bus looks like it’s about to leave the ground. And it’s probably moving 60kph or better.|
|It”s like the ant is carrying the grasshopper on its back.|
|Look at the angle and you’ll guess this truck is carrying some serious weight.|
|A small passenger car at last. In the US the ratio would be the reverse of what I saw here. This is literally the only small car I saw while I was shooting these photos.|
|Passengers and cargo mix it up.|
|You count ’em…|
|I don’t know anything about this type of truck. Three wheels, and yet big enough to carry a serious load.|
|Somehow they got the whole family into this one.|
|Military transport. Of a sort.|
|The tractor is hauling a pretty big trailer but – see what goes by later on…|
|“Nice carrier” (painted on the side). This is the type of truck that is commonly painted up with Blow Horn… on its tail.|
|Now the tractors are being hauled. Five of them on one flatbed trailer.|
|And this is a serious mix. The load of corded wood that you see in the background was being loaded or unloaded the entire time I was having lunch.
Ta-ta for now…
 Do you know what dipper refers to? Think of driving at night. Low beam / high beam? I didn’t think the word dipper was even in common use since about the time I was 10 years old, but here it is in India on the back of every truck.