What does first come to your mind when you hear Pakistan’s name, the awe-inspiring 1990s or the helplessness of 21st century; the patriotism-inducing tune of National Anthem or the deafening noise of a gunshot; the melody of a Vital Signs’ song or the mediocrity of Bilal Khan’s lyrics? Each of us has a different perception. Some are optimists; others, excessively pessimistic realists. Everyone is playing a role, but in the end, it all comes down to effectiveness. Anyone can be a baker, but not every baker knows what exactly is the proportionate amount of icing on a cake. Anyone can be a blogger, but not every blogger knows how to write an essay that is reader-friendly. Similarly, anyone can drive, but not every driver remembers (or abides by) the traffic rules.
When I try to come up with the perfect definition of a Pakistani driver, my mind splits into different directions; it gets me confused with contradicting opinions. Some tales are better left untold, and some activities are better left undefined. But then again, I’m a person who doesn’t give up so easy. So what if I can’t really define a Pakistani driver? I can always write a detailed, pointless (or maybe not) blog post.
1. Bald Uncles
These bald law-abiding uncles think that they actually follow the rules, but in reality, they too have their oh-come-on-there-is-no-other-way-than-to-drive-on-the-wrong-side moments. Yes, my dad is 50% bald (I’m good at measuring baldness) and he does that too sometimes. But he is my dad so I must have a biased opinion about him. I’ll criticize the rest of the men instead. Just make sure never to overtake a bald man, especially when you’re on a busy intersection, or you are sure to be declared as na maaqool new generation.
I think I should probably dedicate an entire blog post to how much beauty do the women add to our roads, but I’m afraid I’ll be declared a sexist and no man will ever marry his daughter to me for that, considering how wildly popular I already am. (I went for an exam yesterday and some student there recognized me from Twitter.)
I think women need to realise that roads are for driving, not for fooling around, changing lanes as they please because the other lane smells like kitchen. (I know I’m generalizing here, but I don’t really mean offense to anyone. This blog post is meant only for humourous purposes.)
No wonder you're a woman. No wonder.
I have an aunt who just cannot drive with her shoes on. She always takes off her shoes before driving, and sets herself in a position as if the steering wheel is a plate of gol gappay, being careful that the chutney doesn’t stain her clothes. Yes, this is a true story, in case you’re wondering.
“Dad, I promise I won’t drive faster than 50 km/h.”
*speeds up to almost 80 km/h on Ferozpur Road later, ending up hitting his car to a roadside dahi bhallay vendor*
You can never take out the rage, that feeling of intensity from a teenager’s mind. When a teenager touches the steering wheel, he knows that the world is in the grip of his hands (even though in reality, it’s a bullshit concept for every driver). He doesn’t care what on Earth is he on about; he just wants to achieve his new personal best, in terms of speed. (Confession: My personal best is around 115 km/h, and that too on Hyderabad’s narrow streets.) If the car that just overtook you reminds you of your Grand Theft Auto missions, there is almost a 90% chance that a teenager is driving it. Teenagers also prefer insanely loud music in their cars, which mostly is some mediocre hip-hop music that they think makes them cool.
4. Green Registration Plates
A green registration plate indicates a government-owned vehicle. Here in Pakistan, you are immune to all traffic laws if the vehicle you’re driving has a green registration plate. You can take u-turns on a one-way street, break stop-lights as you please, or even drive in reverse (unless you don’t want to look retarded). The drivers of these vehicles are mostly rampant, and the roads are a playground for them. You can’t use the one-liner “Tere baap ka road hai?” (Translation: Is it your daddy’s road?) on them, and I believe you can figure out the reason yourself.
5. Life is a Tortoise Race
Some drivers seem to be over-influenced by their kindergarten experience. I can’t think of any other reason why they drive so slow (other than that they might be talking on phone). Well, I don’t mind as long as you are driving slow and leaving me space to overtake you, but if you are driving slow and not leaving any space for me to pass, I simply hate you.
6. Your Road is My Parking Lot
The biggest issue that Pakistan’s highly mismanaged roads face is that half of them are covered by parked vehicles, even when there is a No Parking sign. Some people are lucky enough to get their cars attacked by the forklifts but mostly you’ll see helpless traffic wardens trying their best to manage the traffic on what is the remaining part of the road. In rare cases, I have seen people parking their cars in the middle of nowhere as if they’ve run out of fuel or just got bored while driving so they decided to have a casual walk around the market.
7. Five Seconds Remaining? GO!
Almost every Pakistani driver possesses this quality, except me because I’m scared of the cops. If you are waiting for the green light to show up and there are still 10 seconds to go, don’t be surprised by the people who already start moving their cars slowly past the zebra crossing. When there are five seconds remaining, they’ll push their accelerators full, because that’s how they roll. These are the very same people who are responsible for most of the heaviest traffic jams on busy intersections.
By now, you might be thinking that I missed out the motorcyclists (and rickshaws). But I believe they are an entirely different topic. I’ll write a separate blog post dedicated to their mad skills.
I didn’t cover bus and truck drivers because I think they’re cool.