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December 9, 2011

Incredible !ndia



When Forest Gump spoke his famous line "Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get", he might as well have been speaking about the roads in India.
I have never under my 37 years and 40+ countries visited, seen anything like it. It is, without exaggeration, extraordinary.
With a driver, my two friends and I spent 10 hours in a car going from Delhi to Taj Mahal yesterday and I found every second highly entertaining. It's only 220 km (138 miles) but with the roads and it's occupants it's hard to break the 5 hour barrier each way.

People had told me that I would see everything on the roads here. Cows, pigs, donkeys, monkeys, elephants, goats, water buffalo. Little did I know that reality would exceed my imagination.




It's started off with a lorry crash on the highway early in the morning. Since our side was blocked, people, us included, made the executive decision to turn around, drive against the traffic, make the first U-turn, go against the traffic on the other side and when the accident were behind us, cross back over to the right side of the road. All of this while it was still dark out.
Kajsa, Bo and I were, of course, a bit surprised at this strange way of going against traffic. The only time we see that at home is on the evening news. Little did we know that it was far from the last time we saw that this day. We had all sorts of stuff going against traffic. Granted, most of it on, or fairly close to, the shoulder. Highlight in the going-against-the-traffic department was won by not one, but two, not at the same time I have to mention, horse and carriage rides coming against traffic in our fast lane.


Dinner or sweaters?


For as long as we spent in the car I can't remember seeing one single traffic light. The intersections were free-for-alls. Someone should build a hotel at an intersection in India and charge "sea view rates" for the rooms facing the street. They are that entertaining. Not only did you have all the animals and cars. You had bicycles, motorcycles, tractors, lorries and buses using up every free inch available. It was like the post office slogan "if it fits, it ships". If you could fit into the space you saw, that is were you were going. That's is probably why most cars had their rear view mirrors tucked in. That or the fact that they would be taken out if you left them out. 


Propane gas??


Since they go under the motto "if it fits, it ships" white lines are pretty useless. If you can squeeze three cars in two lanes, you will see three cars and a donkey pulling a vegetable van. Doesn't matter in what direction any of them are going.


Everything in/on the Taj Mahal is symetrical


We took little over and hour to walk around the Taj Mahal and it really deserved to be one of the seven wonders of the world. When we first came thru the archway, it looked fake it was so white. I guess when you build something out to only white marble, it going to be white.. Construction during day and night for 22 years with 20,000 people working, the eye for detail is extraordinary. You really have to see it to understand it. Built between 1631-1653, it's really a tomb for one of the sultans wife that died at child birth. He also built a mosque to the left of it and then decided on a guest house to the right of it so it would look submetrical. No one ever stayed in the guest house. Why he decided on a guest house next to his wife's grave is a bit odd if you ask me. 
He was planing on building a black Taj for himself across the river but his son convinced him to stop waisting the tax payers money. The son became very popular with the people and went on to rule for a very long time. 





So while I did learn some great stuff about the Taj Mahal, what I learnt on the street was almost better.
To summarize my trip I would say I know that direction is merely a suggestion, intersections are entertaining and white lines are a waste of paint.  

What else did I learn?

I learned that if it's a big white round thing in front of you, it's being pulled by an extremely old tractor or a camel.

I learned that you can fit 15 people in a tuck tuck.

I learned that cows like the median strip of the highway cause the breeze from both directions keep the flies away.

Smart animals


I learned that you honk the horn to announce you are coming, not cause you are pissed off and you want someone to move.

I learned that cows rule and dogs get run over.

I learned that you shouldn't drive a scooter behind a woman throwing up.

I learned that if you take a picture of a monkey with a dress and lipstick on, the owner is going to want too much money.

Sanitizers were needed afterwards


I learned that you yield for herds of water buffalo.

He fell behind the herd


I learned that road rage doesn't exist even thou it would be a prime location for it.

I learned not to have my camera in my lap when a monkey on a stick comes and breathes on my car window.

I learned that if you load a lorry with 100 bags of rice unevenly, it going to turn over.

I learned that only the driver of the motorcycle is required to wear a helmet. His wife and 2 children are not.




If you ever have the opportunity to go and see this vastly different country, I would warmly recommend it. Not just for the fact that you can have curry morning, noon and night but it's one of those, you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it places. It is, as the CNN commercial says, Incredible India



19 comments:

  1. Very interesting descriptions. I doubt if I will ever get to India, but you gave me some insights to help understand more about that country and culture.

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  2. Great blog Soph I shall be in Mumbai and Cochin February.

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  3. Great write up. I will be flying in from Bangkok on Sunday morning, will watch the last day of the Hero event & then off to Jaipur & Agra by train, leaving early on Monday with Karen (referee @ the tournament)..

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  4. Sophie, you are one helluva funny girl! You should put your ideas in a book someday - you're a natural writer.

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  5. Sophie, outstanding piece. Loved every word.

    If the blog were a round of golf, I'd say you shot 8-under.

    This is what makes women's golf so appealing; you have interests, a life, curiosity. Can't see Tiger taking the time to do this.

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  6. Brilliant Sophie, great photos and invaluable life lessons! I learned that scooter one at a relatively early age, fortunately, though, from the point of view of the puking woman. Good luck in the tournament by the way.

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  7. Wonderful read Sophie. Thank you for taking the time to share this with us! Keep doing it.

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  8. Bästa blogginlägget på länge, fantastisk text och ännu bättre bilder som passade grymt till texten. Härligt.

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  9. You certainly have a way with words Sophie so do write a book as Joe F suggested. I enjoyed reading your article almost as much as I enjoy watching you play golf each year in the British Open.

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  10. Hey Sophie, me and my wife did take a similar trip and had the same experience. About the monkey charmers, I did not know they expect a tip if you take a picture of the animal in your window!. It is unbelievable that such a historic tourist spot, a wonder of the world is so adventurous to get to from all the places, the nation's capital. I don't even want to write what we saw driving inside the city of Agra getting to the monument. I would better say "GO AND SEE FOR YOURSELF".

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  11. Sophie,Great piece very witty.Found your blog the other day,one of the best I've come across.
    I love watching you and the the rest of the LPGA players.I find women's golf very interesting to watch, the Solheim Cup was brilliant.Hope you play the Australian open at Royal Melbourne next year.Keep it going.

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  12. ha ha..Witty beyond words!! I bet your heart sings a new song everytime you witness something interesting!! You have a flair for good writing..must explore the idea of writing !! I am so tempted to add more 'learnings' on the lines you have...to your list but its best unsaid I guess..
    I am sure you have more pics..pls put them up if interesting.
    Hope you have a super birthday month, merry christmas and a great calling from 2012!!
    Best Regards
    Mash, Bangalore-India

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  13. Sophie - just home after my 39th or 40th visit to India, I say you have given us a very good "First time on Indian roads" description. On and around Indian roads you watch every aspect of life. If you, like you do, have your eyes open, a couple of hours on Indian roads definitely will change you - it is very very far from Halland!
    Rolf Ryback
    Halmstad

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  14. I am a 58 year old man who stutters. I was severe and am now mile to moderate. I watched Sophie's interview am very impressed of her bravery. She was not a very severe stutterer in that interview like she has said about herself. She is cute with her stutter and I think it is part of her charm.

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  15. Sophie, I just finished reading your article in Golf World. It was a great piece. Having always been a fan, I find myself an even bigger one now. You are just an amazing person. Hope that you have a great year on Tour and in Life. You bring hope and pride to people and especially children. Will follow you and your blog with a true sense of joy. My best, Jim

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  16. sophie
    i have just read your article in one of the golf magazines the golf course i work at gets
    in addition to a very pretty lady,you have come thru a lot
    i only stutter a few times a year
    you do it all the time
    you go girl

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  17. Just read Golf World article about you. I am a retired bank Vice President who has stuttered all my life. "WAY TO GO GIRL" I know how you feel..

    John

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  18. Sophie, just read the same article. I have a friend who has struggled with stuttering all his life. After graduation from college he attended a program in northern Virginia to address his stuttering. He called me the day before he was done and had a pleasant and uninterupted conversation. I've never been so happy for someone. It's possible to beat! I'd be happy to get the details if you like.

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  19. Hello Sophie -- I came across your blog and enjoyed the timing. My twin sons, age 20, just informed me last night that one obtained an international drivers license for their upcoming trip to Oman. I laughed out loud at your observations and promptly forward them to the sons. The reason you came on to my radar actually has nothing to do with India or golf. I am the mother of a 15-year old who stutters and the author of "Voice Unearthed: Hope, Help, and a Wake-Up Call for the Parents of Children Who Stutter." My mission is to change therapy to focus on keeping kids talking and keeping talking fun (vs. making fewer speech errors). I would be honored to provide you with a copy of the book if you could provide me with a mailing address. My website is www.voiceunearthed.com and my blog is www.voiceunearthed.blogspot.com. I love your writing and will continue to follow your blog! Thanks so much.
    Best,
    Doreen (Dori) Lenz Holte

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