Archive for February, 2013

Who moved our nut?

February 28, 2013

The cashew tree in our garden is fruiting, and for those of you who do not know, when this happens you get a pear-shaped fruit with the nut underneath it in a protective shell.

The fruit isn’t that great to eat, so we have a deal going with our local squirrels. Whenever we go out for a run, Martin grovels in the drainage ditch outside our front gate and retrieves any fallen cashew fruit. He then deposits this on our gate post, where the squirrels can eat the fruit but they’re supposed to leave the nuts for us.

But at least one squirrel keeps running off with the whole fruit and the nut. That’s not fair. Time to bring in ACAS?


Changing the address on a driving license in India

February 20, 2013

Having moved house, we now needed to change the addresses on our driving licenses. This project is still in progress, three months after the move and after six visits to the Road Traffic Office (RTO).

This is how it goes.

Visit one – find out what paperwork is required. Including discovering that there is no form for change of address (presumably because Goan’s do not move house?)

Visit two – return with said paperwork, to be asked for more paperwork.

Visit three – return with renewed set of papers, to have to go away and get a photocopy of one set, and hand-write two separate letters saying what we want. Finally get to submit papers and gather the all important chit to say we have made said application.

Visit four – go to collect new licenses, having been assured on visit three that we had done all that was required. Now find out that the copy of the existing licenses left with the previous submission is inadequate and that we have to hand in the originals.

Visit five – return to collect new licenses, and joy of joys collect all papers. Hang on – still no new licenses? No, we have to pay (large queue so elect to go away and return next day).

Visit six – return to pay fees, only to find that there is still a further step involving new photographs, signatures and thumb prints. Martin completes this, Alison is yet to do it.

Finally, Martin should be able to collect his license tomorrow, and Alison two days after she gets her photograph done.

It is truly exhausting.

An outsider’s guide to driving in India

February 8, 2013

Just had to share the following, sent to my Facebook site. It’s so true. Example of article one this morning, while trying to drive out of Margao. I did my best to take out two guys on a motorcycle, who pulled off from the side of the road, straight across the road to do a U-turn, meters in front of me. I could not have stopped in time. Fortunately they did decide to look to see whether the U-turn was safe to execute, but only once they were in the middle of the road. No idea how we missed each other.


Back on the scooter after a few weeks off while traveling…had to check this out to see if I still remembered the rules…turns out I do..and it doesnt get much truer then this : )

Rules of the Indian Roads. A MUST READ if yer gonna drive in India

Article I: The assumption of immortality is required of all road users at all times.

Article II: Indian traffic tends to work on something resembling the olde caste system. The following precedence must be accorded at all times. In descending order, give way to: cows (do not mess with these ever), elephants, heavy trucks, buses, official cars, camels, light trucks, buffalo, jeeps, ox-carts, private cars, motorcycles, scooters, auto-rickshaws (you), pigs, pedal-rickshaws, goats, bicycles (goods carrying), handcarts, bicycles (passenger carrying), dogs, pedestrians, gap year students.

Article III: All wheeled vehicles shall be driven in accordance with the maxim: “To slow is to falter, to brake is to fail, to stop is defeat.” This is the Indian driver’s mantra.

Article IV: Use of Horn:

(IV, A-C): Cars:

Short Blasts (urgent): Indicate supremacy, ie. in clearing dogs, rickshaws and pedestrians from path, and meaning “Im late home for my tea – the wife won’t be happy”.

Long Blasts (desperate): Denote supplication, i.e. oncoming truck “I am going too fast to stop, so unless you slow down we shall both die”

Single Blasts (casual): “I have seen someone out of India’s 1.2 billion whom I recognise”; “There is a bird in the road ahead”, “My word, I had an epiphany” or simply and most commonly “I have not blown my horn for several minutes”.

(IV, 2A): Trucks and buses:

All horn signals have the same meaning, viz, “I have an all up weight of approximately 12 tons and have no intention of stopping, even if I could”. This signal may be emphasised by the use of headlamps (full beam is usually preferred here). Be aware that many truck drivers rest bricks on the accelerator and take up a cross-legged seating position. They will not touch the brake, ever.

(Article IV is subject at all times to the provisions of Order of Precedence in Article II above.)

Article V: All manoeuvres, use of horn and evasive action shall be left until the last possible moment. If the manoeuvre is left until too late then the horn should be used again.

Article VI: In the absence of seat-belts (which there is), passengers shall wear garlands of marigolds. These should be fastened at all times. In the absence of marigolds passengers shall close their eyes.

Article VII: Right of way: Traffic entering a road from the left has priority. So does traffic from the right, and also traffic in the middle.


Lane discipline: All Indian traffic at all times, and irrespective of the direction of travel, shall occupy the left, the right and the centre of the road. If the road is full to capacity, the occupation of the hard-shoulder is more than acceptable.

Article VIII: Roundabouts: These are fondly known as circles in India. Circles in the middle of crossroads have no traffic management function. Any other impression should be ignored. If in doubt use your horn and close your eyes.

Article IX: Overtaking: is mandatory. Every moving vehicle is required to try to overtake every other moving vehicle, irrespective of whether it has just overtaken you. Overtaking should only be attempted in suitable locations, such as in the face of oncoming traffic, on blind bends, at junctions and in the middle of villages / city centres. No more than 2 inches should be allowed between your vehicle and the one you are passing – one inch in the case of bicycles or pedestrians. When overtaking is not possible then undertaking is just as good (sometimes better)

Article X: Nirvana may be obtained through the head-on crash, alternatively, you may find it whilst squatting at the side of the road, emptying your bowels of that ‘bad idea curry’ you had the previous night.

Article XI: Reversing is no longer applicable, since no vehicle in India uses their reverse gear.

Article XII: The 10th incarnation of God was an articulated tanker.

Article XIII: The state of the road is non-negotiable. If there is a road you should think yourselves lucky.