“Excuse me, but your leg has a gash on it.” “Yes, thank you, I know.” I’m leaving streaks of blood across my yoga mat, because I left my flesh on a Gokulam street corner today. I’m mentally bankrupt, yoga, yoga, yoga, financial problems, woman problem, and Elet problems. I thought zipping through the streets might be an Ayurvedic cleansing technique.
Hmmm. I rented a scooter for fifty-five Rupees (about $1.10) and scooted off as fast as it could scoot.
In America cars are driven on the right side of the road. In England cars are driven on the left. In India cars, motorbikes, ox-pulled carts, pedestrians, dogs and cows are all over the road. The line in the middle is a quaint suggestion that is completely ignored. Oncoming barreling buses and vespa-esque scooters inundated with five member families pass you on the left, on the right or force you to a halt. It’s every cow for himself. It’s best not to look. Drive like it’s your last hour an Earth and leave fate to Shiva the destroyer.
Making a right hand turn from the left lane in an intersection with a red light? Why wait? Gun it up the wrong lane, swerve through unsuspecting tourists, switch lanes in the middle and drive down the dirt sidewalk. Why be in the left lane if the coconut stand is on the right side of the road. It’s how I wish I could drive every day back in the states.
I was warned that not wearing a helmet is a three hundred Rupee fine. That’s $6.00. I laugh at their fine. I laugh at the Western ideal of a speed limit. Oh, they enforce a speed limit in India; they call it big mounds of dirt across the road. You should see my scooter fly.
Five minutes before evening class I want some excitement. There’s not a whole lot of entertainment here. I’m flying though the streets with the greatest of ease, Rickshaw! There is no time for him to get back into his suggested lane. He’s bigger than me. I lay the bike down; take one for the team, he takes off. Several men come running over to help the white visitor. It sounded worse than it was; all screeches and scraping. I’m basically fine, “No problem, No problem,” I offer. I smile and every one pats me on the back. I’m simply embarrassed. I’m glad none of my yogi-friends saw the very un-yogi like position across the pavement. I’m also thankful I was wearing pants instead of my lingie, which is basically a sheet around my waist that allows the gentle Indian breeze to caress my naked butt. I start my machine back up and scoot as fast as it can scoot up the road to another class.