Nope, I didn’t do anything wrong or shameful… I just realized I can’t walk without looking down in India..
I don’t get a chance to walk much during my trips to India. On this trip, since I have been working 8-10 hours straight without stepping outside, I decided to take a quick walk for a couple of blocks and get a soda. My driver wanted me to jump in the car.. but I thought I could use little exercise. First, I started walking on the paved road… look at below picture to see how a typical roadside is.. paved main road and mostly uneven dirt/rocks next to it. Very few roads have paved sidewalks.
First, I started walking on the main paved road and realized that I was about to be run over by Buses/Auto Rickshaws and/or bikes. With paved road being so narrow, there isn’t much room for pedestrians (who don’t have right of way) to walk on it too… since I was walking against traffic, I was able to jump to the side of the road… I think I even heard “Intlo Cheppi Vachava?” (in Telugu), which meant, “Did you tell anyone in your house where you are going?”… a famous sarcastic saying for people walking/driving recklessly.
Then I started walking on the side of the road on the dirt part, got a call and as I was looking at phone, I hit a rock on the road and almost tripped… since the side of the road is uneven, you really have to watch every step you take.. So after a couple of more near wipe outs.. I started walking “slow” and in little steps and I am sure people thought I was walking drunk or something.
In summary, I realized walking on busy streets in India is no longer safe for me… I have a lot of employees and can’t take risk of walking and crossing busy roads and called my driver to take me back to office… sad but true…
I can’t walk in the country I was born and lived for 22 years.. holding my head high… since I have to watch each step I take 🙂
PS: For all my expressed experiences in India… I want everyone to know, I am not complaining, it is way of life and it not “normal” for me anymore.