I could give countless examples of the real-life craziness that I have personally witnessed with Delhi buses. I've seen them bumping and scraping other vehicles, and most of the time not bothering to stop. Even the time I saw a bus kill a man, the bus just kept driving. I still cringe every time I recall that scene. But that's also a... well, this is not the time or the place for gruesome stories.
I simply wanted to give two examples of the typical craziness that we in Delhi see from our buses, two acts of audacity that I saw recently and that merely help me to keep expecting the unexpected.
The other day, I saw an old city bus approach a major intersection, which was crowded as usual, and I watched in amazement as it swung wide and proceeded to do a massive u-turn, cutting off innumerable others in the process. To do that kind of maneuver in a vehicle of that size requires a huge chunk of the road. No one else seemed to think much of it, except to stay clear. I briefly imagined something like that happening in downtown Vancouver and laughed at the extreme improbability of it.
Then, as if the spirits of the traffic gods were still inconvinced of my awe, they conjured up an even greater act of menace. This time, it happened right in front of me, and I was among those who sat and waited until the event was complete. It was another u-turn in another intersection, but this time it was performed by not just one city bus but two, and the first was towing the second. They were connected by some great piece of metal, which looked like an old drive shaft with make-shift ball joints to accommodate turning. But the maneuver was again accomplished with great boldness and skill, and not much fanfare or honking.
The old Delhi buses are, for me, a piece of the old India, which may be soon to pass away from the Capital. Those buses smell of danger and risk and even of corruption, but also of efficiency and economy and even humble service. For this reason, I appreciate them and respect them, even as I stay clear of them. And when they go, I will remember them, and perhaps I will even miss them.