18 , 2005
I saw much of India from the bus windows. This is not as unadventurous
as it sounds. The streets are lively places, and the bus offers
a higher vantage point. Gridlock, which was fairly common, allowed
more time to examine the surroundings, which was less taxing than
examining the chaotic traffic.
The traffic deserves examination just as much as anything, however.
Everything that can be decorated is decorated. The autorickshaws
and taxis have standard colors of green, black, and yellow, but
their drivers customize them extravagantly. A common feature is
the request “Horn Please” painted on the rear bumper.
Our favorite variation of this was “Horn Please Speed Stop,”
which could be interpreted in a number of ways. We also saw lots
of lightning bolts, swastikas, and once, a very thorough, symmetrical
Spiderman theme. Our bus usually had flower garlands hanging from
the rear view mirror, and sometimes a blinking mini-shrine on the
dashboard. Especially in Cochin, where there was a big export business,
we noticed the colorful trucks. They often had signs above the front
window with the name of a god painted on them. “Vijaya Lakshmi,”
“Ganesh,” and, due to Cochin’s large Christian
community, “Jesus,” were popular choices. Tinsel and
flower garlands were strung on nearly everything. All this adornment
suits the bustling streets. It's welcoming. I can't imagine India
without its colorful, glittery decoration.