freeway in delhi

Too Close For Comfort


It's 3am and the alarm goes off. 

Time to get up and out the door in 15. Uber is on the way.

We load into the car and I (Nate) take a look at the driver. Something doesn't seem right. Is he sleepy? Is he drunk? I whisper to Marta to keep her eye on his driving. No napping for us on the way to the train station because who knows what this driver could do while we're out. 

The first half of the journey, things are fine. He's driving a bit slow which is weird for India but he isn't swerving or anything. We make our way onto the major freeway headed from Gurgaon to Delhi for a 5am train departure.

All of a sudden in the middle of the freeway, the driver starts slowing down. Actually more like coasting to a stop. He says nothing to us. Marta and I look at each other, then we look at him and ask, "what's going on?". He doesn't look at us and he doesn't say anything. 

My mind starts scrambling. I didn't hear an engine noise, I didn't hear any stutter, we just stopped. Is he trying to kidnap us? Is a van going to pull up in the dark and masked men whisk us away? Finally we start screaming at him "What's going on?!" That wakes him up and he finally gestures that the car is broken. 

At that moment a giant semi-truck flies by in the other lane. Great. We are in the middle of the freeway, in the fast lane, in the dark, in a stalled car. I instantly think one of these giant trucks could plow into us. Not more than seconds later, BAM!!!! My life flashes before my eyes (not literally...that would have been cool though) and we look back. A motorcyclist has just hit us. The motorcyclist gets up, and is miraculously okay. I don't think this was his first time. This is India after all where people drive INSANE! That's when I tell Marta we have to get out of the car and onto the side of the freeway. We grab our bags, exit the uber and move to the shoulder. 

At this point 2-3 Auto Rickshaws have pulled up. They offer us rides which at first we refuse but soon we realize time is running out to catch our train, and we don't have time to wait for another uber. So we negotiate the price, jump in the Rickshaw and he speeds us to the station just in time to catch our train.

The whole experience was so surreal and fast that it took us a few hours on the train to finally calm down and process. We were lucky this time but if that motorcyclist had been a large truck, we would probably be dead. 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it....