Fuck you, India

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Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Thursday, November 17, 2011

So we woke up in Delhi with a slight hangover and a long, arduous ride ahead of us. My friend was still stressing about the previous night and we were still laughing about it. I told him, "they weren't real police, they were Indian" and that didn’t really calm him down very much.

So he asked us to stay another few days for a bachelor party and honestly it was tempting but the road was beckoning. Marcin and myself are not liking India. It’s a shame, I came on this trip expecting India to be a highlight but it’s the opposite. The people are rude and frequently offensive, the country is so disorganised as to be a total mess and the driving is shocking. Simply, these people are stupid. They’re so stupid as to have utterly destroyed this country. These people are not the ones I know from London. I have Indian friends and they’re engaging, interesting and diverse, these people are completely different. The stupidity here is so blatant and it’s appalling. Today we made barely 200 miles all day due to the horrific conditions on the road and we only stopped for water, we rode solidly for near 8 hours. Along the way we have seen every possible act demonstrating a near total lack of intelligence and basic tenets of civilisation. I can’t even begin to describe the immensity of the scope of the stupid in this country. On top of stupid, they’re rude. When we crossed the border we met with 4 other European bikers. We pulled up to ask about food outside a hotel, a man in a clothes shop started shrieking about not parking there in the worst possible way. We were all taken back, after our experiences in Iran and Pakistan where, for all its failing people are generally pretty decent while in Iran you have to work hard to find someone who isn’t extremely nice. Then this guy came out and started dragging other peoples scooters about, knocking them over in the process. We were all a bit surprised by this appalling display but honestly, it’s got no better. People here seem totally self-absorbed. We’re not welcome here at all. We’re objects of fun, people mimic the sounds of our bikes and laugh, they rarely want to say hi or to meet us and it’s nice when they do (so long as we’re not having lunch). My Indian friend said the rudeness is just the culture, well that doesn’t really explain or excuse it. It doesn’t excuse the constant rip-offs either or the low standards, or the children begging by the side of the roads in conditions you shouldn’t leave an animal. Talking of animals the way they’re treated again displays a lack of human empathy. Carts are everywhere and the animals pulling them are beaten mercilessly. This is by far the worst place we’ve visited, the driving is the worst I’ve ever seen and Marcin has travelled extensively around Africa and South America and he says the same.

To be honest I came on this trip with no prejudices and with an open mind ready to learn new things about new cultures. Sadly I’m going home with prejudices. There is no culture here in India, there’s just endless mess, building crumbling, streets in tatters, people dishevelled, drugged out of their mind at the side of the road, or in one case today lying in the road with his legs out while cars were riding straight at him. This place is a sad reflection of the India I expected. It’s a grim joke, it’s like the Empire pulled out and the country lost its foundation, collapsing to the state of a typical third world country only with delusions of grandeur. And the worst thing about this place is the attitude towards Pakistan. The subject comes up a lot and we’re told that they’re crazy or dumb or evil. Invariably the people telling you this have never been. Now I’m not defending the place, Pakistan needs a lot of help, it’s a crumbling mess itself and with a government bent on keeping the people under control but the people are far nicer. We met a few and they were always helpful and friendly if they could be. Conditions were worse there in a lot of ways but India has no right to look down on them, they’re essentially the same people only with an attitude of superiority and a culture of rudeness.

So along the way we saw a mixture of the stupidest driving ever. Several times we were literally run off the road. Occupying our own lane and a truck or a bus comes directly at us so we had to ride off the road into the dirt. Time after time the traffic ground to a halt due to there being a junction and they’re all fighting to get round so they end up totally stopping moving and just honking horns at one another. We’ve had several near misses today, Marcin had to slam on the brakes when a woman led her kids out in front of him and we’ve had to swerve dozens of times as cars pour around corners on both sides. Tractors suddenly come towards you down a motorway in any of the lanes, pedestrians stop and chat on dual carriageways. It’s insane, it’s like the entire place has been chemically lobotomised.

Today we saw two trucks which had collided. They’d shed their load and come off the road into a ditch. As we passed the entire cab of one was collapsed, nobody could have survived. In Pakistan we saw the aftermath of a crash and stopped to chat with the police. This time we just drove by. I’m not surprised and frankly I have no sympathy. The way they drive they’re inviting this and I’m sure it was their own faults.

So we plodded on and only managed 200 miles. The miles just wouldn’t tick away, we were constantly stuck behind things, the roads are nowhere near able to support the level of traffic using them.

Eventually the sun began to set and we started looking or a hotel. The first one wouldn’t accept us so we headed into town before it got dark. The GPS took us to a newspaper office but we got directions and moved it along although by now it had got dark. Next we ended up in an alley. A couple of kids gave us directions and a guy offered to lead us.

And then it finally happened. We all knew it would...

THE KTM BROKE DOWN!

I’m just glad it was him and not me, I would never have lived it down. It wouldn’t start, the relay just clicked so it was a dead battery. I went off to find the hotel in this terrible town which is nothing more than a shambles of boxes selling crap with grandiose titles like “Fashion centre” and “World of beauty” when actually it’s a filthy lockup selling hats and lipsticks. The hotel was actually strikingly good with a great restaurant.

There are two things I love here and both are double edged swords. The first is the food. It’s awesome. It’s delicious and caters for vegetarians so I’m not living on side orders of chips any more. Every day I just grab some new thing off a menu and its always amazing. It gives me the shits, but the food is awesome. My only regret is the markets offer things far more impressive and i want to stop and try everything but the conditions are so poor I know it would make me shit my spine out. The other thing i’m loving is the Enfield Bullet. I’m having one. Simple as that. They’re awesome bikes and I aim to own one. I’m dreaming of an “Enfield adventure” as I ride. The bike with a new, updated set of forks, headlights and clocks, better rear shocks and a few improvements would build to a solid, durable and cheap adventure tourer.

As expected the KTM still wouldn’t start so Marcin had a solution. Sadly for me the solution was that I tow him. So then we had this bizarre situation of my little single, which he derides daily for being too small, pulling this mammoth pudding of a motorcycle through the streets of this crazy market street with everyone trying to overtake us. We made it to the hotel but my bike was not happy with the extra weight. We stripped out the battery which was dead flat. Marcin had a charger but my fear is that the battery is dead and we’re now going to have to source another one before we move on. I don’t think that getting a KTM battery here is going to be easy!

What is easy in India? Dying in a road accident is pretty easy.
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Comments

thu on

Don't diss the lipstick man...you may need it when the goats come a-callin'...great quote about the spine by the way. That's got to be worked into the title of the book/s! FTS about the KTM. SOTS WOFT etc...hope you get it sorted quick before you start liking the place...

Coal on

Plenty of culture in the food there then, or cultures anyhow.

jtw000
jtw000 on

Just had a morning explosion. Food here is great but you don't get to keep it long.

thu on

Does it taste better on the way out? I've taken to drinking/eating keffir culture...a nice drop of bacteria every other day.. no stool change yet. Will keep the world posted.

Coal on

I was telling the mrs of your exploits last night while Buddy Rich "Big Band Machine [LRC Ltd]" was playing in the background. His genre of jazz by the way, is well known for frequently shifting moods and tone, like from an aggressive chase to a sad and thoughtful slow piece in the same song. Amusingly, the music kept up perfectly providing exactly the right BGM at each stage of the story.

Norm on

Those Indian Policemen sound like cowboys, hold on a minute that's The Village people!

jtw000
jtw000 on

They liked throwing their weight round but when we weren't scared they didn't know what to do.... bless them. India sucks. I have two plans... one is to build a giant wall around India and then fill the whole thing with water and then fill the water with sharks. Marcin suggested soap but I don't know, I think sharks are pretty clean. My other plan involves gallons of petrol and a huge barbeque

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