Jaywalking on the Bangalore roads

For those who came in late to the fancy words class, jaywalking means to cross a street at a place other than a regular crossing or in a heedless manner. That is pretty much it when it comes to the theory part. Now its time for the practicals. So, Ladies & Gentlemen unfasten your seat belts, jump out of your seats & lets go….jaywalking.

Some simple gyaan before we hit the road – Jaywalking is an art. Really. There is a certain aura attached to it. The grace & elegance with which it is sometimes done can put a ballet dancer to shame. And when done badly it is as odd as seeing Saurav Ganguly dancing next to Hrithik Roshan. Hence it requires certain skills. First being that of decision making. Yes, that skill will come in really handy when you need to decide when to cross the road & when not to. The second skill is of judging. This skill will help you decide which style you should adopt when you cross the road. That’s about it. If you have those two qualities in you, rest assured you will be a good jaywalker.

Hope that has motivated you & got you ready to cross the road. We are now on St. Marks Road. The point where there is Koshy’s on one side and KC Das on the other. The one way traffic is speeding in towards MG Road. And here you are wanting to get to the KC Das side from the Koshy’s side. The traffic is rushing in. There are honks & brakes & lot of pollution. You step forward, walk a little….and you DECIDE not the right time. You come back. You look left, you look ri….. Hey who was that on the left? You turn again that side…SHE is gone! Disappointed, you get back to the business of crossing the road. There is a Scorpio speeding towards you. You stay still. The Scorpio passes after you stepped back & you see that the bus is slowing down on seeing the red light at the Anil Kumble Circle, you DECIDE to go the run-stop-step back-lift hand to traffic-run option to get to the other side.

For a variety of jaywalking experiences you should try it out on different roads & at different times of the day. Lets take another classic example. India Express Circle anybody? The Indian Express Circle is probably one of the busiest & densest circles in Bangalore partly because it’s a meeting point for buses coming into & getting out the Shivajinagar Bus Stand & also because this circle’s proximity to Business hubs like Cunningham Road & Infantry Road. The best time of course is the morning peak hour when everybody is rushing in to work before their allocated grace time to register their attendance expires. This also is the time when you can see mass jaywalking. If we were to use a video game terminology then jaywalking here would be the most difficult level. Level 10 may be. Here the biggest monster that you have to counter will be the deadly BMTC Bus. What deadly curves man….I mean the style with which these buses take their turn from the Queens Road into Park Road is literally deadly. Here your judging skill will tell you that your best bet is to adopt the hold-tight-to- your-belongings-and-run-out-of-the-way option.

If you think you’ve got a fair knowledge about jaywalking in Bangalore now, its time you put this knowledge to use. Get out there & do it. Take a walk, people. After all what’s life without a little bit of adventure? And Bangalore has adventures galore. To sustain Bangalore’s such adventures an NGO is looking for volunteers to participate in relay hunger strikes against the construction of sky walks in Bangalore. To volunteer ensure you post your comments below.

10 Comments so far

  1. Krishna (unregistered) on March 14th, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

    Having honed my skills on all sorts of roads that Bangalore has to offer, I would be very sorry if the subtle art of Jaywalking disappears from our streets! So I’ll put up my hand.

  2. Rajesh (unregistered) on March 15th, 2007 @ 9:05 am

    Nice post Lokesh!! enjoyed…

  3. Sanjay M (unregistered) on March 15th, 2007 @ 9:33 am

    To sustain Bangalore’s such adventures an NGO is looking for volunteers to participate in relay hunger strikes against the construction of sky walks in Bangalore.


    ok real serious now… here is more info about this NGO…

    All members of it have to have an oath that they will never walk on anything that has white and black stripes even vaguely resembling a zebra crossing! Even taking their kids on a zebra joyride on Bannerghatta Park (in case one gets introduced in the future) is strictly prohibhited!

    See also: beauty in chaos: bangalore traffic


    Once I was once standing on the pedestrian overbridge near Majestic and looking at the crowd of traffic below. The road was jam packed with vehicles all moving at an average pace, and still people were crossing it. Any random 10 minutes footage of the vehicles and pedestrians moving in perpendicular directions in the same space would’ve probably qualified for “Worlds most amazing videos”. I wondered if Hollywood could possibly reenact such a scene – it seemed to be a flawless choreography !

    After having driven a scooter for well over a decade I’ve come to one conclusion. That a fundamental concept behind surviving on Indian roads is communication.

  4. silkboard (unregistered) on March 15th, 2007 @ 10:55 am

    Sanjay, couldn’t get to the blog post link you posted (down?), but looks like I found a like minded guy there. Our traffic is something you can look at and enjoy. It is ‘indeed’ a beautiful phenomenon – chaos but there are patterns, visible lawlessness yet people define some limits for themselves, hopeless roads but you still get from pt A to pt B in fairly predictable amount of time, visible disconnect but so much communication happening b/w drivers and peds that you take for granted.

    Its like a big sociology lab out there, watch, observe and enjoy it :)

  5. M O H A N (unregistered) on March 15th, 2007 @ 10:56 am

    Good narration lokesh! Sanjays oath should be adminstred at the center point of the circle itself for better effects!

  6. silkboard (unregistered) on March 15th, 2007 @ 10:57 am

    Forgot to add, nice post Lokesh, enjoyed it.

  7. Lokesh (unregistered) on March 15th, 2007 @ 11:32 am

    Thanks Krishna, Rajesh, Sanjay, Silkboard & Mohan for your appreciation. And Yes Sanjay your oath is a good one. In this day & age of Razzies & all that, something like this is definately possible.

  8. Ravi (unregistered) on March 15th, 2007 @ 11:44 am

    Nice write up, Lokesh! Looking forward to more of your posts! Perhaps, I should hang up my boots here at MB? ;)

  9. N A R E N (unregistered) on March 15th, 2007 @ 12:36 pm

    Sarcastic!!!! Perhaps at its Peeek! LOL. New Kind of Breeze flowing in MB. Thanks for the new kind of post Lokesh. Jay walking is nothing New to bangalore or any Big cities in India. One can find and have experienced in everyday Life.

    Even in the movies. Especially the people from Villages are played Jay walking compulsorily. Remember Arundhathi Nag in JOGI. The Best one comes from the Kannada movie AK 47, In the Song Kadalo, Kadalo, Where Chandini will be Busy in Jaywalking and The Hero Shivraj Kumar comes and holds her Hand and crosses the Road. Thats in Mumbai. Our Bengalooru is none the Less.

  10. Lokesh (unregistered) on March 15th, 2007 @ 5:34 pm

    Thanks Ravi. Being one of the veterans of MB you are guiding us the way. Naren, I haven’t watched any of those movies so cant quite relate to what you are saying as of now. But I have been wanting to watch both of those movies for a long time now. Thanks for your positive feedback Naren.

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