In India the lanes on roads are either non-existent, or just for decoration. There’s a vague ‘drive on the left’ rule (rule?). Vague. And there is very little difference between streets, pavements and ‘pedestrianised’ areas. Vehicles, cows, goats, dogs and humans all navigate their way together on all of them, each vehicle, animal and human making a loud noise. There is no space between. At any time you will be touching something or someone. The constant hooting tooting honking mooing shouting is not about telling others to move out of the way. It’s simply about saying “Here I Am Here I Am Here I Am Here I Am Here I Am Here I Am Here I Am” so that you don’t step to drive INTO the way. You develop a thousand ears.
I’m back at work today and it’s rush hour on the tube. People are doing their usual thing: marching purposefully, heads down, tutting, sighing, bump, elbow, squeeeeeze, squash, weave, duck. On platforms they push you until you have to hold strong so you remain ‘behind the yellow line’, they squirm their way in front of you and elbow you out if the way. Never looking you in they eye of apologising. People huff and puff at this, get angry, tut, and some fight. I imagined what it would be like if everyone on the underground started to bark, hoot, honk, beep, sing at each other in an effort to move seamlessly in and around each other.
It made me laugh out loud as I assigned each person an appropriate sound. I tried to stifle my laugh and I snorted. Someone hopped out of my way. I may be onto something.