At home I run quite a bit and most of my running is on pavements. Other people use them too. Other people use them too. Pedestrians, who walk along them, sometimes they run and occasionally they skate on them. Kids use them for cycling on from time to time too.
In India, pavements and the art of being a pedestrian seem quite different.
Pavements are not for walking on. They are for parking cars and bikes and rickshaws on. For dumping stuff on or dumping rubbish on. People set up their stalls on them and sell food, or fruit, or vegetables, or clothes, or lots of things.
In fact there is so much going on on them that there’s no room to walk on them.
So where do you walk in India?
In the road.
Seriously, most people walk on the road. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it’s quite difficult sometimes to actually work out where the road edge ends.
So how do pedestrians share the same thoroughfare with cars (busses, rickshaws, bikes, trucks, carts, hand carts, cows)? The same way as they drive (go for a gap and lean on your horn). You walk with confidence, stick to your path, move aside when honked at and just hold your position on the road.
Crossing the road is the same. You walk in front of whatever is there, and the amazing thing is is that they actually stop. Yes, they’ll honk their horns at you, but they won’t hit you!
However, running in India is a no no. There are no pavements. And no more space on the road…