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Old 8th September 2012, 09:31   #151
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

I have seen many drivers specially in North and Eastern India would completely stop their vehicle if a cat happens to cross the road in front of them.

They would wait for someone else to cross that portion before they start driving again.

The two wheelers and car/taxi drivers are very particular about this. I don't know what this signifies.
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Old 8th September 2012, 09:43   #152
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

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Originally Posted by Sommos View Post
I have seen many drivers specially in North and Eastern India would completely stop their vehicle if a cat happens to cross the road in front of them.

They would wait for someone else to cross that portion before they start driving again.

The two wheelers and car/taxi drivers are very particular about this. I don't know what this signifies.
Its a very old and very firm superstition in India. Haven't you heard the phrase "Billi rasta kaat jana"?

It signifies that if a cat crosses the road ahead of you, its a very bad omen, something very bad is going to happen to the next person crosses the road. Therefore everyone stops and waits for someone else to cross that part of the road ahead of them.

I have even seem jams due to this, where everyone refuses to budge unless a less superstitious and more sensible person crosses the road before them and saves the world with his own selfless sacrifice..!!
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Old 8th September 2012, 10:27   #153
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

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I have good friend too who prays while starting the car in gear..i mean after engaging the gear he closes his eyes for a couple of seconds. Scary stuff espescially in parkings.
, I do the same, a small prayer before take off when the car is stationary. Sorry mate, I didn't quite understand the scary part you explained. So, do your friend close his eyes when the car is in motion?

Last edited by ecenandu : 8th September 2012 at 10:43.
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Old 8th September 2012, 10:52   #154
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

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I think its all fine - little things like these fascinate foreigners who come to experience our country. The decorated bus shows the attachment that driver of the bus has to his beloved vehicle. And I haven't heard of any two wheeler going over that watermelon (or is that a pumpkin?) and falling off the bike either.
Not really. I heard and seen many people falling down due these pumpkins. These things are huge and you tend to skid/lose balance while going over it. Coconut is another issue, it can rip off a tyre (i personally had close encounters on this).
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Old 8th September 2012, 10:54   #155
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

I have seen quite a few people pray while driving with eyes closed whenever they cross any temple. But the following is a true story about my friend -

He was on his Pulsar, about 5-6 years ago. He crossed a temple on a moderately crowded road. He closed his eyes, did a one handed namaste for a brief second and opened his eyes.

"BANG". He hit a car coming from the opposite side!! Fractured his leg, was in hospital for a week, in bed at home for another and walked with supports for a month.

What purpose did the praying serve? I don't understand all this.
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Old 8th September 2012, 11:10   #156
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, I do the same, a small prayer before take off when the car is stationary. Sorry mate, I didn't quite understand the scary part you explained. So, do your friend close his eyes when the car is in motion?
Yes. he starts the car in gear and the first few metres of motion he closes his eyes and prays. And it always has to be in first gear. Never starts the car in reverse. this is an issue in parkings because quite a few times I feel we'll end up bumping into other cars.
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Old 8th September 2012, 11:23   #157
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

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Originally Posted by harshaguduru View Post
Yes. he starts the car in gear and the first few metres of motion he closes his eyes and prays. And it always has to be in first gear. Never starts the car in reverse. this is an issue in parkings because quite a few times I feel we'll end up bumping into other cars.
I did the same. It was a month old fiesta and i was praying as i reversed the car slowly, car hit the pillar, scratches in the bumper, lesson learnt, now i never take the eyes off the 3 RVMs.

My regular mechanic always moves the car forward first, and then reverses. Dad started to follow it, and everyday i try to park it as close to the wall, and the next day morning, he still manages to find that invisible inch.
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Old 8th September 2012, 11:48   #158
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sommos View Post
I have seen many drivers specially in North and Eastern India would completely stop their vehicle if a cat happens to cross the road in front of them.

They would wait for someone else to cross that portion before they start driving again.

The two wheelers and car/taxi drivers are very particular about this. I don't know what this signifies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by swarnava.m View Post
Its a very old and very firm superstition in India. Haven't you heard the phrase "Billi rasta kaat jana"?

It signifies that if a cat crosses the road ahead of you, its a very bad omen, something very bad is going to happen to the next person crosses the road. Therefore everyone stops and waits for someone else to cross that part of the road ahead of them.

I have even seem jams due to this, where everyone refuses to budge unless a less superstitious and more sensible person crosses the road before them and saves the world with his own selfless sacrifice..!!
I have once witnessed an accident on Delhi Road on my way back to Kolkata from Shantiniketan because of this superstition. A cat crossed the road and a small truck came to an abrupt halt. The truck which was just behind it, rammed into the one which stopped suddenly. I was just behind these two trucks but had the reasonable safe braking distance and managed to avoid a collision.
So you believe in a superstition and invite trouble!

However, I have heard about a weird story on how this superstition started in India and, if the story is to be believed, that has nothing to do with Indians. Apparently, it came from London, when street driving in India was in its preliminary days. A car in London would stop in a residential locality if a cat crosses the road just as a safety measure. Because, the cat, in all probability, would be chased by a child trying to catch the cat and he would be crossing the road immediately after the cat crossed!
Somehow, this habit of stopping cars stayed on in India and became a superstition!

Last edited by subratasenn : 8th September 2012 at 11:50.
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Old 8th September 2012, 11:58   #159
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
And I haven't heard of any two wheeler going over that watermelon (or is that a pumpkin?) and falling off the bike either.
No idea about 2 wheelers but i've seen pedestrians accidentaly slipping. A couple of months back this was the topic of discussion in an FM channel. One of the revelations in it was, that Pumpkin was introduced into India only after the British had colonized us, and the vegetable has no relation with the historical traditions of India. Someone recently has started this trend and it has caught on.
Similarly Pumpkins with eyes and mouth drawn are used to ward of evil in south India. Most probably this is a take off from the Halloween tradition in the west where similar faces on Pumpkin are seen during the festival.

Last edited by Daewood : 8th September 2012 at 12:14.
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Old 8th September 2012, 12:07   #160
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

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Originally Posted by harshaguduru View Post
Yes. he starts the car in gear and the first few metres of motion he closes his eyes and prays. And it always has to be in first gear. Never starts the car in reverse. this is an issue in parkings because quite a few times I feel we'll end up bumping into other cars.
I also offer a small prayer before I start off in the morning, but certainly not when the car is in motion.

I have seen my BIL starting the car always in a forward motion. He takes a forward and backward motion twice or thrice (never botherd to observe closely) and then takes off. Never really felt the necessity to ask him why he does so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by subratasenn View Post
Apparently, it came from London, when street driving in India was in its preliminary days. A car in London would stop in a residential locality if a cat crosses the road just as a safety measure. Because, the cat, in all probability, would be chased by a child trying to catch the cat and he would be crossing the road immediately after the cat crossed!
Somehow, this habit of stopping cars stayed on in India and became a superstition!
Thanks Subrata, for the information. Have seen this happening all around since childhood but never really knew this bit of information.
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Old 8th September 2012, 12:46   #161
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

Well I also offer an small prayer before I start the engine for the first time of the day .. especially in an country where your safety depends on the way others drive !!!

I dont keep praying to all the temples that come enroute but say on NH45 .. I definitely slowdown near Melmaruvathur, Siruvachur, Samayapuram and sri rangam .. have a good look behind and ahead and understand the traffic flow and if required turn on the hazards and momentarily (probably a second) look at the temple .. and again continue driving.. Closing my eyes is an big no no.

I ve crossed cats and dogs and I dont let it get to my head.
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Old 8th September 2012, 17:51   #162
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

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Originally Posted by subratasenn View Post
Somehow, this habit of stopping cars stayed on in India and became a superstition!
From where did you learn this tale? I have never ever heard such an intrepretation for this belief!!

Something new to learn!! Thanks subratasenn!!

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Old 8th September 2012, 18:07   #163
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Default re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

With all those cows let loose on Bangalore roads and people stopping (I have seen some people with half their body out of car windows reaching out to the cows) to touch and pray to them; not a superstition but still dangerous. If only the pedestrians crossing the road received equal respect!
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Old 8th September 2012, 19:41   #164
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Default Re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

@DexterMorgan: regarding the driving without footwear issue, it is prevalent in hot climes only. esp in front engines vehicles. It is mainly to reduce sweating. It has no relation to feedback as suggested.
Also starting the car in a forward gear even when you need to reverse is because in older vehicles, reverse does not fall easily unless this procedure is followed, not sure why though.
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Old 8th September 2012, 20:06   #165
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Talking Re: Dangerous Superstitions on Indian Roads

My dad too has this superstition of never moving the car in reverse just after starting. According to him, you should move your car little forward and then reverse. I always find it ridiculous. But can't help. I read in one of the threads after you start the car, you should engage the first gear at the beginning, this ensures the oil is spread in the gear box and then reverse if required. But you don't really have to drive it a few inches to achieve this. If I go by this explanation, as long as my dad engages first gear and doesn't scrape my front, I am OK.

My dad again has a 'tod' (solution) for 'when a cat crosses your road' situation, you don't have to wait for a 'saviour' to cross the road, he just takes a round about on the same road. Can you believe it???

Thank god, he hasn't had that situation in busy traffic. Even if he does, I guess a selfless, non-superstitious person would somehow appear to save the world!
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