Nepali Times
Under My Hat
Driving me mad


Those of you who think there is nothing more chaotic than Kathmandu traffic are wrong. It is no more chaotic than our politics. But you have a point. We went straight from being bipeds to driving mopeds, and entirely skipped the steeplechase event.

So, unlike veteran democracies like the UK which took 500 years to learn to drive on the wrong side of the road, we can't expect ourselves to get there in just 12 years. Before you go for your driving test, therefore, it is a good idea to practice this sample muliple-choice test so that you can get your license without beating around the bush too much.

1. All motorcycle riders and passengers are required to wear helmets:
a. Unless your helmet has just been stolen at Bishal Bazar.
b. Except your three little children aged 2, 4, and 5 sitting on the fuel tank who are only required to wear fancy shades and frilly hats.
c. At all times,
d. Including when you are asleep, or in the bathroom.

2. The best procedure for taking a vehicle from a parked stationery position into the traffic flow is to:
a. Swing out into the lane without looking behind to see if any other vehicle is approaching, especially if you are a bus.
b. If there are school kids waiting to cross the zebra, accelerate so you can beat them to it.
c. Look into the rearview mirror and wait for a safe gap in traffic to move into lane, even if it means waiting till the next bandh.
d. Only for Safa Tempos: "Stop, don't look, and go,
go go!"

3. The fastest way for a motorcyclist to go from Point A to Point B is to:
a. Overtake slowpokes by cutting into the opposite lane, avoiding multiple head-on collisions by the skin of your teeth.
b. Driving on the wrong side of the road is allowed in Nepal and the answer 'a' (above) is legal under the Geneva Convention.
c. If oncoming lane is occupied by traffic, overtake slowpoke cars from the left by cleverly employing the blind spot where they least expect you to be.
d. Stay behind vehicle in front of you and adjust speed depending on traffic conditions.

4. You are driving down Putali Sadak, your mobile vibrates. Do you:
a. Let it vibrate and enjoy the massage.
b. Pick up the phone, shout obscenities at the caller and gesticulate recklessly. This is called Road Rage, and it's understandable.
c. Pick up the phone, chat with the caller and when cop pulls you over slip phone down your shirt and pretend to be excavating ear wax.
d. Pick up the phone, chat with the caller and have a Rs 100 note ready on the dash board.

5. Seatbelts have been made mandatory for your safety and comfort. Care to comment?
a. The belt is a good restraint while I am stuck in a julus for two hours at Ratna Park, otherwise I may get out of the car, run amok and start shouting anarchist slogans.
b. I think we should make seat belts mandatory on rickshaws as well.
c. All stray cattle on the street must wear helmets and harness from the next fiscal year.
d. No comment.

If you answered 1 (c) 2 (c) 3 (d) 4 (a) 5 (d) you are not eligible for a driving license at this time, and we suggest you come better prepared next fiscal year.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)