Helmets: A Casualty of Politics

Does the Chief Minister of Delhi have the balls to change the helmet law and make it mandatory for women to wear helmets on motorcycles?

It appears not.

The High Court has ordered the city to amend the helmet laws.

The city is reportedly not going to cooperate.

The Chief Minister can save the lives of women who will die on Delhi roads.   Yet she’s weighing the decision to make helmets mandatory for all people on motorcycles, against the interests of a large and powerful voting bank:  the Sikh/Punjab community.

Federal motor vehicle laws exempt Sikh men from wearing helmets because their religion prohibits headgear other than a turban.   Sikh women can wear only scarves.

Delhi went a step farther and eased the federal helmet mandate in the ’90’s for Sikh women.  However, because it is difficult to identify a Sikh woman, the law doesn’t differentiate and it applies to all women.

City officials say the Chief Minister is going to file a notification informing the High Court  that Delhi will continue to recognize the legal “option” clause that lets women choose whether to wear a helmet.

I can’t explain why the city doesn’t have to obey a High Court order.  Most simple questions have complicated answers here and I haven’t figured this one out yet.

What’s not complicated to understand is this:  Helmets save lives.


Jim and I are having a friendly debate about how much longer to stay in Delhi:  One more year or two?

He is free from the pressures of his book and finally able to dig into India.  He looks forward to two more happy years of doing good work here.

I’m increasingly worn down by being embedded in a place that’s both beautiful and beastly.  One more year is just right for me.

But I know to keep my heart open to whatever happens.  I have learned that every year delivers a treat – you just have to look for it.

This year, my treat is my beautiful class.  Right now, they are learning how to produce a short TV news magazine.  As they progress through this six-week module, their work gets better;  it’s smoother and more confident.  Take a peak at Week Three if you have eleven minutes:



I’m also proud of my beautiful daughter who just performed (and sang) in another play:

The morning roundup.  By the time we are here, by the front door tying shoes, Lala has screamed “It’s EIGHT O’CLOCK, TIME TO GO!” three times. She starts at 7:50.  It’s like hitting the snooze button every five minutes, until finally, you gotta get up, or out the door…..

Lala in her homework nook:

Mama in her work nook:

In consultation with two of my students:    Ashutosh, standing, is reviewing the elements of a story he wants to do about street dogs in Delhi.

One of several goodbye’s this year.  Nikki arrived in Delhi with me nearly three years ago, along with a handful of other friends who are also leaving. She goes back to England.

And finally – Eddie and his dear second grade teacher.  God Bless teachers who love their  work.  Thank you, Marya, for giving Eddie a wonderful year.

10 thoughts on “Helmets: A Casualty of Politics”

  1. I really like your blog and have been following it for sometime now, when I saw one of your latest photos my mischievous side came to the fore.
    Hope you see the funny side of it :o)

    Kind regards

    1. hey brian – i chuckled. i took it out though since it included a friend, who didn’t ask to be in the post.

      thanks for reading!


  2. Lovely pic of Olivia in the play, reminds me when Clara and she were the most animated dolphins I ever did see. Clara still loving her acting too and just got a part in Hamlet which is being put on in October at her next school, St Mary’s Calne.

    Your post has brightened up a very wet and windy april day in England. After 3 years in Delhi I don’t mind wet and windy!

    Where’s your taped up old white Mac gone?

    Exit strategy from Delhi always difficult but if you don’t force the decision the right one will become very apparent in time.

    Your loss of Nicky is our gain!

    1. Kate: it’s always nice to hear from you. I’m glad the notes on India still bring you a bit of cheer. Good news that Clara is continuing with her stage work.. She has a gift. I hope you don’t run from the Olympics this year. I had a wonderful time scalping tix in Beijing and crowd watching. The best was seeing Husain Bolt rip it down the track.
      X t

  3. Beautiful and beastly – I dont think I could have put it better myself. I am not surprisingly having a similar discussion in my household. Love m

    1. Lucky you bought that apt in London… I may need to rent it from you for a long weekend now and then to escape by myself if I am to continue happily managing Delhi! Happy wife, Happy life…

  4. Good luck with your decisions. Will be watching from afar. I see Jim’s point, and yours as well. I say remain open to whatever and follow the best, most exciting opportunity when it comes your way.

  5. Thanks Alan. We miss you guys. One dinner in February wasn’t enough. Maybe we should all meet in Kenya and go on Safari during December break… Would be a fun reunion. Hugs to all in your home. X t

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