Why does Mumbai turn the other way?
There’s an interesting trend one notices when driving anywhere in the city of Mumbai. Something that I fail to grasp even having lived here for so long. The way the average Mumbaikar decides to cross the road. In the saner parts of the world most people watch both ways and then decide to cross the road. Not so here. You will notice while people might cast a singular furtive gaze, when they do decide to step forth, they have their back facing the oncoming traffic! What this seems to reflect is an underlying way of life that states – it’s not my problem, it’s yours so deal with it.
In the case of the pedestrian crossing the road, the general consensus seems to be – ‘Hey you cars, you better watch where you are going, I am crossing and it’s your problem.’ No heed is paid to blaring horns, which only evoke the rudest of looks, as if the drivers who are trying to prevent people from getting run over are committing a crime. Tourists who do come to Mumbai are often perplexed by the entire scene. After all, if the pedestrian behaviour wasn’t bad enough, you aren’t quite sure as to when the traffic is really going to stop at a traffic light.
Perhaps it has something to do with not truly valuing life? Or just so sick of their current plight? Why else does the average Mumbaikar decide to take such unnecessary risk in their daily lives? Why do people dash across the road, trying to cross it with the traffic is in full flow and not wait a few minutes for it to ebb? Why take risks embarking on perilous local train journeys when you could just wait for the next train that is emptier. These are just some of the mysteries of Mumbai.