September 30, 2006

My Driving Lessons

3 months back...............

Yippppppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...................... Hurrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy................
:) :) :) :) :) :):) :) :) :) :) :):) :) :) :) :) :):) :) :) :) :) :):) :) :) :) :) :):) :) :) :) :) :):) :) :) :) :) :):) :) :) :) :) :)

I was all smiles. I had fought my first major case and won it :p. I finally was going to start car driving lessons. Phew, as much an exhilarating feeling it was, I knew the real daunting task was ahead.

Learning to ride/drive a vehicle had been on my wish lists for a really long time. The other being swimming. At home,I had always had to wait for dad to come to take us around or rely on the public transport. It used to be in the back of my mind that I should start learning as soon as I have a car at my disposal. I mean, what use was car driving if I didnt have my car to ram :p? So I used to keep waiting when my parents will join me in Bangalore or when I would have a car to drive. It took 5 long years.

What accelerated this desire and gave strength to shatter all my mothers' arguments was an incident in college. We had this Sports Day.(This was in Post graduation and the Sports day will be another entry)........... I had travelled to the venue in one of my friends' car. He was taking part in 1) The 100 m 2) The Relay 3) The Long Jump

He hurt his foot while finishing the 100m run and sprained it real bad. He was in pain and I knew he would not be able to drive. But we had no choice. He was the only one who could drive amongst us. I felt miserable the whole time he drove. He used to wince in pain, every time he had to apply the brakes. I never had felt so helpless.

That steeled my resolve to learn driving no matter what. And I went ahead and enrolled in the driving school.

I had to take up the Learners Test without which I could not start the lessons. Can u believe it- I flunked the test . I mean which dunce would fail an LL??? And that too after understanding what would be asked? But trust me, the questions were tricky. There was one- "If the driver drives in a way that accidents dont happen- Is he a) a safe driver
b) a professional driver
c) a safe and professional driver ?

I mean why ask these kinds of questions when they are irrelevant. I was so pissed and irritated with myself. To top it, my mom started associating it to bad luck which would stop only after my marriage......... Phew.............. What logic it held, I fail to comprehend.

Well, I cleared my LL next time and there started my "having to rise upto expectations".......... My friends said that "According to statistics, women were worst drivers".......... Yeah fat lot that information did to my confidence. I used to expect perfection in my learning lessons and come disappointed as some auto guy or car guy would have screamed some unintelligible words.

Then I said to myself, I was just proving what the statistics showed. I thought I wont expect to have a completely correct learning session, rather learn how I could better myself and correct my flaws. I started driving better. I drove my car all the way from work back home in peak traffic and late evening.

The strength of positive attitude :)

September 28, 2006

Travelling By Bus in Banglaore

I travel by bus to work........... I have to catch 2 buses from Airport road to reach Banashankari. Travelling by bus does have its mini adventures as I found out........ :)

Some months back, I had to get back from Christ College, Bangalore. I took a bus that took the long route. I am always in a hurry and do not like to idle away time. That Sunday I was tired of hurrying up and since I had nothing urgent to take care of, I took a bus that travelled the longer route. What a treat I had in store :)

At Marathahally, a father and son boarded the bus. They were Bengalis and wanted to get to the market area. The son(whom I shall call A) looked around for a seat so his old father(whom i shall call as B) could sit there. A then asked the driver as to where the market area was and how long will it take for him to reach there.

The bus drivers are generally cordial and take it upon themselves to give directions. I dont know what happened that day. The driver just got furious. He said in English "Speak in Kannada, otherwise I will not answer". A calmly said "I do not know Kannada, please tell me when will I reach the Market Area?" This infuriated the driver and he stopped the bus.

I was sitting in the seat behind the driver watching this and thinking what led to this confrontation? The driver then started verbally abusing A. Meanwhile B, stood up and tried pacifying A and asked him to back off. A asked him to take his seat and tried pacifying the driver to no avail. Then A also started abusing and it became a free for all.

The driver ask them to leave the bus and they refused. There was a mini scuffle. But A refused to budge. He said " I am taking down your bus number, and I shall report this in the police station!". To this the driver replied in Kannada saying "Do what u can, i ll see what happens........... blah blah blah ............... Then A and B alighted at the next stop at a traffic junction. The driver all the while was mouthing obsceniteis. He was also cursing saying " Everyone comes to our state to earn money. There are hardly any Kannadigas in Bangalore. Wherever u look, all u see are these North Indians or Tamilians or Malayalis............ What has become of our state??? "

He looked back. Saw me and a girl sitting together. He screamed " Kannadadavala?"- meaning are u from Karnataka? I replied back in Kannada that I was (I am a Tamilian, but can speak Kannada)... what else could I do? I didnt want another brawl on a hot Sunday noon and meekly sat back.

This incident brought back memories when my dad had been posted to Delhi. Nothing new since transfers were a part of my life , dad working in the bank. We were called "Madrasis" because of our comparitively darker complexion which used to irk me .

What happened to A and B was no different.Just another form of racism and manifestation of pent up frustration .

September 26, 2006

MG Road.........The other side

A hiatus and I am back........................ :)
What made me write this post??????????? Its what i witnessed one night after a wedding while returning home........

Weddings and the receptions............. It might be real fun for the parties involved(herein the Bride and the Groom)..................To unmarried people it sure is the best way to get grooms ;) .

Well thats another story :). We were travelling back after the reception(ON MG Road) in 2 cars. One driven by my dad and the other by my driver, since my uncles were not in town.

At the traffic signal, there was a "NO RIGHT" turn and dad went straight to take the next U turn. What did my driver do? He said to himself and the people in the car, I dont see a policeman, why waste time taking the next right?????

And lo behold, there stands the mustache twirling and hefty looking cop just waiting for these rule breakers. He swooped on our driver. Where were we all this time????? Chugging behind and cursing the Bangalore traffic............ ok.The cursing part was done by me and my sister, because my dad is ........... What can i say about him???? Well i ll write a blog entry about him separately. He is an enigma to me sometimes. The way he does not react at all in certain situations and thinks instead................. Fathers dont come in better packages :)

Oh my God where was I? Alright lets get back to track. As i was saying, we were behind chugging and finally the much awaited green light :) All smiles we scurried ahead...........

Here is the story i wanted to tell u all............... We saw a lady standing in bright red saree and i just mumbled to my dad saying "Its surprising why mami is standing" and i gave another look........... It was indeed my aunt and their car was standing there happily having another look at MG Road. On knowing this, dad immediately stopped our car and told us to stay in, locking ourselves. He went to talk to the cop who was busy trying to make money...Now dont get me wrong. He obviously had to fine my driver since there was rule flouting. But then, he should stick to the fine amount and not bargain like it was some vegetable stall. Well, dad went, said one word in Kannada..........(He is not very fluent and has a strange way of speaking Kannada wrt Tamil translations :)).................................. He said "KSHAMISI" and the cop was all smiles. Then he tells my father, " All these women in the car are wearing so much jewellery and yet they say they dont have any money.... How is that possible??? "...................

My dad, without blinking an eye, immediately responded " Sir these are all fake jewellery meant only to impress people sir, not gold".......... He and the policeman shared a hearty laughter and our driver got a slight reprimanding from dad for breaking the rule knowingly.

Meanwhile my sis and I were looking behind from our cars, seeing left, right actually everywhere :)............ We saw lots of women hevaily decked up. Some walking up and down a small stretch, some just standing listlessly and others talking amongst themselves. They looked old and worn out.They didnt look like they were attending any marriage, but like they were going to some costume party. The make up was garish. the clothes not very clean, and they were wearing the saree in a very revealing manner showing more flesh than usual. Thats when it struck that these women probably were prostitutes, waiting for clients. What happened next just confirmed it. A white car stopped near the women. A man got off, exchanged a few words. A few nods later, one woman got into the car and the other looked for another car that would stop by.

With the cops nearby, the business went on as usual, meaning the cops were being paid heavily to stay from these night activities unless they wanted to be a participant.

I dont know what i felt.... I didnt feel anything........... Just a question in my mind.................. What made them take this decision? I saw a young very beautiful girl(around 20) wearing this sphagetti strap outfit and also getting into the car(always white..dont know why).......... She looked well off from her choice of clothes and the way she carried them.......... Was it boredom or just the thrill or need for extra money......... I ll never know........All I saw was, young or old, at the end of the day,they chose prostitution...................