Madam, let me tell you one thing - Follow traffic rulesI knew it wasn’t going to be a great taxi ride when I sat down and it became clear the seat wasn’t actually attached to the main body of the car… at all.

Still at least it allowed me to fish the end bit where you attach the seatbelt out of the seat well.

Those are often hard to find and you have to fish down the gap between the top of the seat and the base to find where it clicks in.

I seem to spend a lot of time ferreting about under seats of cars in India. As it seems that backseat safety is not a high priority for most car passengers. Or as we will see, some taxi drivers.

Anyway, this time, I found it easily enough with the seat sliding about like a luge on the Cresta run…

Except pushing the buckle in didn’t result in that happy click, the one that says ‘you’re not about to die in a car crash’.

What are you doing, Madam?

I’m just trying to do up my seatbelt.

No, madam.

Er, yes I am.

(Incidentally, this is a regular feature of Indian English conversations – blanket denial of the thing you are actually doing right then and there. Obviously what they mean, is ‘that is not possible’.)

No madam, it is broken. No problem.

Actually big problem, I want to be wearing a seat belt.

No madam. I will drive very slowly. No problem.

Look, there is a problem, I want to have my seat belt on.

No madam. I drive slowly.

This fact somewhat belied by the fact we were ratcheting up the road like we’d just robbed a bank and were bouncing over the speedbumps like the police would be here any second.  Police? If only.

I continue to fish about under my seat a bit more and eventually I found the correct loop to buckle up my belt. There is the satisfying click of a safety device actually working.

Ah ha, I declare, fixed. Now there is no problem.

Poisonous look from the cab driver.

Where, madam?

Now, I’d booked a cab to a big fancy hotel downtown but wanted to collect my pal on the way there, she lives just off one of the busiest streets in Bangalore. But it’s on the way. I tell the driver this and he looks at me like I am mad.

MG Road? No madam, too much traffic, we do not go there.

What?! Of course we go there: you are a cab, I am a customer. We go and collect my friend. Then go to the hotel.

No Madam.

This went on for a while. Till eventually he gives in and off we set.

All this and we’ve barely got to the end of the road I live on…


This is part one of a two part post.

Read part two – Your friend is waiting?


I spend a lot of time being lightly ripped off or annoyed while being conveyed from place to place. It’s almost something of a theme here. If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not check out these other driving related posts:

She is my world

The view from the backseat

Horn ok please

And of course as usual, do please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts