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Confessions of an impatient driver

>> Wednesday, October 20, 2010

As I slammed the brakes of my 10 year old Maruti 800, I flinched. I wondered how long is this car of mine bear with me . Pushing the worry out of my mind for future reference (as in when I reach home), I tried to focus on climbing the slope of the exit. “Left? Right? Left? Right? Was there a right choice? Which would give me lesser traffic to deal with? “. Yeah, I’m dramatic that way. And left I go. Rejoice on seeing a clear street. But, least did I know it was the calm before the storm. (yeah, more drama). After covering a furlong (what? That word is still in use!!), I noticed the cause for the empty street. JAM. I was stuck the end of what seemed like a long line.  Reverse!! But face a monster sized Safari right behind. I’m not going anywhere for a while. Hello, crabby me!! After what could be 15 mins and several under-the-breath curses, there was some movement ahead. The idiot who had caused the jam, with the badly parked omni, was found. Cars started moving. The idiots(yes, there were plenty), who had climbed on the pavement, with their bikes that is, hurriedly climbed down to the street. But crabby was not in a mood to rejoice. All crabby wanted was to go home and do nothing. When it was my turn to move, first gear, second and then third, and BRAKE! A head bobs in and out and in and out from a new Swift. Ah, I get it. New car. He needs to be sure that he gets his “Babe” home safe. While he leaves safely from my right, throws me a grateful smile (for waiting patiently. Hah!) I throw him a look that says, ‘Well, congrats on ur new car. But get the hell out of my way’. He was gone by the time I could make up my mind if I wanted to slam into his car or just yell at him. Finally, free streets. Yeah, Gear number 4 springs to action and I’m whizzing home. I get home. Phew! What a day!
The next day begins with equal impatience. Getting my insurance renewed was the task of the day and I was late. I wondered why is it that when you are in a super hurry, others tend to move in superer slow motion. Well, I couldn’t help but swish and swerve and rush. And I finally got there. I was told to give a copy of my Driver’s license. While I was filling the renewal form, it registered that my license on that day was exactly 7 months old. That meant, I was on the streets, in my car, for all of 7 months. AND I’d turned into a monster already. I shamefully remembered my Driving lessons where I’d drive at a snail-pace while other drivers patiently waited behind for space. And if someone impatient passed by me, almost pushing me into the ditch, I determinedly promised myself that I would never be one of those. And that I would have patience and respect for everyone on the street. In my arrogance of having learnt the art of driving and mastering the confidence, forgotten my promise to self. I was really ashamed. For that one moment, I thought I din deserve the license. Well, I think the RTO should start taking a bond signed for nice behavior for drivers.
Well, I had amends to make. It meant starting fresh and with patience. Well, I think now the world has one less impatient driver to deal with.


Travel underrated!

>> Friday, October 1, 2010

I remember the times when I've eagerly waited for the travel plans, conceived at least a month in advance and carefully checked and rechecked for possible flaws, gingerly move into reality. The exotic locales, shopping surprises, must see points, must eat –at joints.....everything so glorified. So much of time invested in keeping everything safe and perfect.  Not that I've not been on those "carefree-careless" trips. Have done few of those. But there has always been an element of preplanned comfort.

That afternoon when we set of one of our longest day journeys by train, I was apprehensive. One, cos the trip was short and decided on at the spurt of the moment. Two, we were to travel by a chair car on a 11 hour journey. Three, it is to a city I'm in awe of and am  terrified of at the same time. Mumbai.

As soon as we entered the compartment, a face hounded us "what are your seat numbers?". I wanted to tell him, “You are loud AND ur face is too big. And why the hell should I tell you our seat numbers”. I guess the unplanned trip is going to be difficult. But, the kind of person I am,I flashed him a half sweet smile and gave him our seat numbers. We were requested to sit on another pair of seats cos our seats were bang in middle of their 'family of 30 nos'. Okay! Moved. We happy. They happy.
 We eat the lunch on Shatabdi. They eat the lunch on  Shatabdi. We are done. So is the rest of the train I guess. They continue to eat. I see a man from that family make some Chaat.  And then the noise begins. All the mummies in the noisy gujju family of 30 ,get to fatten up their babies and hubbies. And then the well fed mummies, babies and hubbies decide to give it all and start the all time fav torture antakshari.

I was glad I had come armed with a book. A fat one. And earphones. While I secretly devised/plotted schemes involving waking up the sleeping gujjus with buckets of cold water if I ever got a chance, Shantaram-the book I'd wisely brought along, slowly took me in. And then the Konkan region we were travelling thru had me wishing I was driving thru it. I'd never known that this belt was this lovely. Perfectly green, dotted with lovely water- falls (that might even give a mighty complex to our local beauty dudhsagar falls) and the kind of riverside you only conjure up in your head if you've heard a story of it.
I wish i had taken more pictures along the way. But my creative part of the brain had gone to sleep with all the extra loud antakshari session.

The Indian railway on-rail catering team kept sweeping in with samosas, cutlets and soups even. I've eaten to keep busy/ sane/both, I know. :)

I knew that I cud do without the 30 odd voices digging my brains out my ears with all that singing. But, I also knew that it all added the character to this trip.
To top it all, the train was late by 2 hours over the scheduled arrival. I wonder if it was the revenge of all the Gujjus I’ve ever made fun of.

Cheers to shantaram, konkan coast, indian railways, gujjus who can't sing and Mumbai.

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