Rules of Chennai Driving
1. There is no blind spot. Don't worry whose at the back or the side. There is a kind of ESP existing between you and the drivers around you. They know you are crazy.
2. Always stick to the left most part of the road to overtake maximum vehicles. But be careful with the cyclists, pedestrians and slippery sand on the sides.
3. Respect cyclists at intersections coz they are the real champs when it comes to moving in traffic. Follow them and no matter what or how packed the jam is these guys keep on moving.
4. Natural born break inspectors demand that you slow down. So do give way for Buffalos, Cows and dogs.
5. You see an old guy driving his two wheeler in front of you, then immediately go to his right and he would slowly move to the right, you zoom in at left and he moves to the left. Do not I mean it Do not horn at them (respect their age, mumble with yourself). Just go to the extreme right of them like 2 inches from the girder and give them that accelarator sound and when they start turning their heads to look at you, just overtake them and they would just give you back a growl.
6. For bachelors, do not try to look at the girl in front of you driving the kinetic honda or scooty coz they always cover their face with a helmet, a scarf, a goggle, a white long sleeved glove. Just look at their feet, check if they have the metti (sign of being married), if not present just blame your luck and avoid them completely. They are the most rash when it comes to speeds beyond 40kmph. PS Do not try to impress by doing cheap tricks in front of them. They see a lot of it. Just be yourself and race past them.
7. If you see a newly married couple or of course romantic lovers, then always overtake at the side where the guy doesnt turn his head to look at his lovely babe. PS do not disturb them by honking.
8. You go good in traffic and suddenly some car guy honks at you bad then its either college students or young blooded safari drivers. If its the car show the middle finger and race past them. No way they can catch you up in the traffic. If its the safari guys, do not give them any way. Go at the centre lane and when you reach a signal just stare at the honking guy.
9. If you see a kid sitting at the back holding his dad firm then go parallel with him for a couple of seconds and when he watches you race past his dad, then slow down, go behind them for a while and then when he gets happy that his dad is the fastest just go way side of him so that he doesnt notice you and race up.
10. Sharp turns in busy roads are always supposed to be turned near the girders. Make a slant real close to the road so that people coming at the back understand that you are fast and they wont disturb you further.
11. At signals always go to the extreme left coz the traffic moves only there.
12. Wanna take a U turn and you see traffic keeping on pondering your precious time. Just stare at the vehicle which you wanna turn before and give sudden jerks with your bike. He would obviously slow and use it. Immediately take the left part of the road and then speed up.
13. Being good citizens though fast always give way to the ambulance. If possible in three lane roads with busy traffic show the ambulance the way to go fast by going faster in front of it and using all the laws of traffic avoidance as a favor. When he gains give way and the best to do is follow him.
14. A traffic policemen never catches the first guy coming off the signal even if you go four folds faster than the allowed speed.
15. On bridges always take the center lane (Center lane defined as the gap between lorries buses cars and Vans).
16. Always look at the bus no and confirm if the bus is gonna stop soon so that you can overtake it accordingly at the right or the left.
17. Never give up on guys racing with Pulsar or Unicorn or Karizma. Show them that its talent to drive and not the cc of the vehicle which decides whos better.
18. Though I don't use my mirrors much I recommend it for highway lanes.
19. You get caught in a two lane both way bridge. Go 2 inches to the right of the center yellow line and overtake all vehicles. The left lane is always slow with two wheelers.
20. Please use gas stations at signals and corners effectively to avoid traffic.
21. As an Indian citizen I have never gone against the one way rule however short it may be. I hate it personally.
22. A helmet is a must in Chennai traffic, not for safety but to avoid dirt in your eyes, and blackening of your face and to avoid pollution.
23. An mp3 player or an FM player with radiomirchi on always keeps your head cool.
24. The first person to scold is always the guy who made the mistake for the accident to occur in the first place. You meet with a small accident (the mistake done by the other guy), dont open your mouth, just stare at him. He would instantly wet his pants. But if you open your mouth then its history, you become the hunted.
25. I wanna finish with this one. Wanna kill yourself. Just play NFS or GT for half hour and drive you vehicle at peak hours. You reach home safe.. Then I swear you would say to yourself 'Am never gonna drive fast'. But I also swear the very next time you would be yourself ruling the roads and burning some rubber.
You are most welcome to add more rules. But remember these are for fast and rash driving. Speeds at least 100% in excess of other drivers nearby. Bon Voyage and set some records. PS do not advice me to drive slow coz it would make me go faster.
Funny and memorable moments - Sabarimala
This post contains some funny (The Military Stare) and Memorable (Rendae Chaaya, Rs 2, Polo the mint with the heart) moments that happened during the trip of Sabarimala (01/01/07). Enjoy reading it. If you feel its TOOOOO LOOONNNGGG then I would prefer you going through Military stare to laugh and Rs 2 to understand about my dad.
Being a patriotic supporter of
Dad and I were tired after the first darshan of Lord Ayappa and decided to have a cup of tea. On the way we saw this AVT chai shop and dad said to me that he wanted tea from that shop. There was this big crowd in front of the shop. Dad went near the shop and coz of the crowd had to stand at the back line and he yelled for 2 cups of tea. The end result he didn’t mind dad or any other Tamil or Telugu or Hindi people requesting for coffee or tea or any food and gave food only to those who knew Malayalam. Dad was really angry over this and came to me and told the matter. I told him that I would get the tea soon and also shall make him realize the mistake. He said try it. I went before the shop, stood behind the line and smiled to the tea stall owner. When he noticed my smile I shouted politely, “Renda Chaaya” (in Malayalam it means 2 teas). I said it with an accent close to that of a Malayalee. He looked at me strangely and I gave him back a smile. He immediately gave me the tea. I paid him Rs 10 and I asked him for the change, “Rendu rubay” in pakka Tamil accent. He looked at me surprised and immediately I smiled, bit my tongue (showing him that I made a mistake revealing my identity) and rephrased to “Renda Roobaaya” (Didn’t even know that’s the correct way Rupees is said in Malayalam). He gave the 2 rupee change with a strange face. I told him immediately, “Ivalavu kevalama Malayalam pesana dhaan chaay kodupeengana unga kada mooda vendiyadhudhaan” with a smile (Meaning – If your gonna serve only to people who can speak such rubbish accented Malayalam then get ready to close your shop). He understood his mistake and immediately started selling food to everyone with equality. Dad liked the way I tackled the situation and once I reached him he said, “Renda Paeru evada poiko” (he meant where are both going to but what he said actually was where did both of you go?). It was funny and we laughed out loud. From that instant we used the words evada, poiko, ivada, avada, renda, all numbers with funny accent, etc).
Another great incident which made me feel great about my dad. I and dad boarded the bus to Pamba from Kottayam railway station. The conductor while giving us the ticket said that he didn’t have the exact change and that he would give 2 rupees at the end of the trip. I told my dad that he won’t unless we ask him about it. Dad smiled and said that if he doesn’t give us back the money then we can give him a friendly guilt which would make him not to repeat the mistake at least for the day. I asked him how he is going to put guilt in the person as he is used to questioning. Dad just smiled and said if the opportunity to make him feel guilty comes then I shall show you. I said ok. After 3.5 hours we reached Pamba. While getting down I questioned my dad whether he gave us back the money? Dad laughed and said he asked for it and am gonna give it to him. Since dad had been wearing the mala I was quite positive that he is not going to shout at the conductor for money. Yet I was confused on what technique he is going to employ.
Dad went to the conductor, asked him where to board the bus when we return back the next day and after some jovial talk he asked for the money. The conductor with the good mood gave the 2 rupees to dad. Dad took it in his right hand; put them in his shirt pocket, and then he did a strange thing which surprised me as well as the conductor. With his right hand he pulled the conductors right hand, opened his palm, held it with his left hand, used his right hand to take the same 2 rupees from his shirt pocket, kept it in the conductor’s hands, closed his fingers over it and said, “A small gift from me to you for the New Year. I like your work and I understand that you are not paid well for your kind hearted job. Next time don’t make someone ask for their money, let them tip you on their own”. The conductor didn’t say a word. Dad said thank you for your service and started walking. His face was smiling at me, actually it was glittering with the 32 gems in his mouth and his eyes were in Tamil terms looked Tejas. The conductor came to his senses and immediately ran to some nearby devotees and gave them their change. It was an unbelievable sight. I learnt more from that one instance than what I had learnt from my moral science book. I was really proud of being his son.
Polo the mint with the heart
Loved this incident. This one shall be remembered whenever I shall see a beggar in my life. After finishing our darshan I and dad were climbing down Sabarimala. Since dad had climbed the mountain without even taking a single Polo or glucose we decided to distribute the Polo mints to all the Maniganda’s (first time small kids coming to the shrine). While climbing down we were distributing the mints to every child we can reach. They were happy. Some oldies who were real tired also had the fortune to have the mints. Only two people of the (8*12 = 96) 96 mints replied with a thanks. That was nice to hear from them. We were nearing the bottom of the mountain and I was walking in front of dad. I saw this beggar amputated (left hand and right leg too) and didn’t mind about it and continued with the distribution. All of a sudden someone pushed me and went fast. I turned and noticed dad running towards the beggar. All I saw was his back bending towards the beggar and it was in that position for quite sometime. I realized that it wouldn’t take that long for someone to throw money for a beggar. A funny thought came into my mind that dad didn’t have change and so had dropped a note and was taking the change. I laughed at myself, shook my head, shot myself with my handgun and went towards him. People were laughing around dad and dad smiled at them and responded with the smile, “He needs it more than anyone else. He is the one who is shouting at his voice to attract people”. That’s when I realized that dad had put a polo mint in the beggar’s mouth. I found that the beggar was happy and with his heart he namaskared dad. If there is anyone reading this blog thinking that it was disgusting putting food into a beggars mouth then I regret your soul. I liked what he had done and definitely would remember this incident till I go to my grave and for sure that I shall narrate this one to my children and their children too.
This was fun. Never had so much fun with dad. Both of us behaved like college kids. We were sitting in a deserted platform in Kottayam for our return journey to Chennai. We had a solid 4 hours to time pass. After a while a train came and stopped in our platform. The AC compartment was in front of us. All of a sudden I saw this guy who was wearing a tight white T shirt, a very small shorts, a near knee long socks and tennis white shoes. The most interesting thing was he had a turkey towel over his shoulders and was speaking in a cell phone. He had a military cut and it confirmed my intuition that this guy was a new recruit to the military. Since our platform was deserted he obviously looked at me and dad. I was staring at him all the time. My eyes focused only on his eyes and I was telling dad what I was doing. I requested dad to look at him in a way that gave him a point that dad was commenting on his dressing style. Dad looked up and down all the time. This guy even came down the platform, went to a shop had a biscuit packet and got up again to his compartment. We still stared at him. He got real uncomfortable and so turned his attention to the other side of the train which was an empty zone. After 5 mins the train had the Go signal. I told dad that this guy would come and shall have a look at us and if he does I asked dad to stare at him just as I do. As I had expected this guy stood near the door and watched me. This time I raised my left eyebrow and gave him a hard stare. To make things worse for him, as the train moved my neck turned in perfect synch while my raised eyebrow stare continued to exist. As our view was impaired with a pole I had to give up. But after 2 seconds we noticed that the guy leaned out of the door and looked at us and we immediately gave him back the stare. As the train left the station I stood from our seats, moved to the platform edge and still continued to stare at him. This went like for three quarters of a minute and finally the guy vanished into the compartment. Instantly I and dad laughed like college kids for atleast 10 minutes. We even spoke about the guy for half an hour. I and dad were sure that this guy would have thought about us till the next morning. Even now when I remind dad of the term military shorts dad shows his 32 pearls. Someday I need to meet this guy and give him his stare.
TV – The Idiot Box:
One good incident which doesn’t fit under the Sabarimala category but is worth remembering in my life. PS am lazy that I don’t want to write a separate blog for this. This one goes at the top of my memorable moments list. I was working on my PhD qualifiers report early in the morning. As I had been working on it the previous night too and since I hadn’t watched much TV my dad got real confused. He came to me, sat near me and asked what I was doing. After I explained him what I was working on, he told me to relax. He got up took the remote from the shelf and came near me. He showed the remote in front of my face blocking my view of the monitor and asked me to watch some TV and that I close the laptop. This was the first time in my life that my dad has taken an effort to bring the remote to me and asked me to watch TV. It was really a proud moment for me. 18 months ago I was a voracious TV watcher. Though being in a state where most channels are to be accessed using a set top box I still managed to watch lots of TV programs. My favorites at those times were POGO (I never missed most cartoons) and NDTV (My only access to sports). But now things are different. It might look that I am turning out to be a workaholic but it is actually wrong. I am having more fun in my work environment than what I used to have watching TV. Anyway I had made my dad realize that am turning out to be someone he wanted to be. But now he wants his old son back though I am making him happy. Let’s see what the future holds for me – an idiot box or an idiot itself…..
Day Rider Refueled:
Year 97 someday in April, the time was around , there was this sound of ‘Ouch’ from my brother. I turned back after the heavy landing and saw him lying on the road looking furious at me. He stood, looked at me with a red eye and said, ‘You are not supposed to twist your accelerator that much and leave the clutch all of a sudden’. I laughed with caution and told him, ‘your instructions were incomplete’. For people who didn’t get what I have written so far, then here is a recap. That day was the first time I was taught how to ride a scooter. My bro was at the back and gave me instructions. When he said to me not to leave the clutch suddenly I heard it wrong and so the scooter raised to 60 degrees and he fell back whereas fortunately for me I somehow managed to stay on foot and keep the scooter in balance.
4 years later dad taught me how to ride my bike. Most of my risks I had taken in life started from that incident. Some incidences change the way a person lives the rest of his life and one such incident is me getting my bike – TVS Victor. Being a guy learning most of the science and technology that happened in the world via watching cartoons, I had this craze of being the fastest biker in the world. And guess what I was fast but not rash (that’s what I say to myself). I called myself Day Rider and my theme – 4 G experience. I had driven like a hell warrior and had scared myself to death most times.
Then came the day when I had to leave my bike under my dad’s custody. 472 days later I saw him standing like a stallion, a war horse, bleeding red, staring with his panther eyes and when I went and hugged him after taking care of my parents, I felt his impatience, and I felt him saying, ‘only one person can drive me crazy – you but you need the right key to do it’. I laughed out loud and asked my dad to throw the keys to me. It was 5 in the morning and I took my bike for a ride.
Some feelings can’t be compared to anything in the world. It didn’t take me more than a second to feel the past coming into me when I released the clutch and drove my bike for a meter. Unfortunately dad called me in and so had to park my bike back into my house. Later that day I somehow convinced my dad to use my bike (it had been long and dad considered that I had been driving in a country where driving is as simple as walking) and made him sit at the back. The first half an hour was as expected the worst of all times. Dad sitting at the back giving instructions, cautions, warnings etc about the ongoing traffic, sudden crossings by people, veering of autos, vast chasms or road pits, built on bumps, natural traffic inspectors in the name of animals, etc. He was shouting in my ears to keep off the right side of the road, to go slow and be careful spitting instructions all the way. Though I was annoyed, I loved every word he was saying coz that’s how he used to be when I drove with him sitting at the back and to make things more cherishing I liked the way he described the road. My bike was crying coz I didn’t unleash the beast him. My fingers were itching and yet was under control coz dad was at the back. It took 14 hours of coaxing to let my dad take my bike alone. This is the only time in which you can compare freedom to being wild.
It was 10 at night and my dad gave me the bike so that I can go and meet my friend. He was sending me off and so I rode my bike slow, till I crossed the road. As soon as I turned into the street, I started to be myself. Every person in the world feels like a legend at sometime of his life and this was one such time for me. Riding on a road filled with dangerous pits and bumps, skidding with gravel and red sand, with the dust of a zillion microparticles in the air, the sudden flash of yellow light from the oncoming traffic, busses having their own mind, cyclists behaving like grand prix champions avoiding all rules of traffic, autowalas driving like the snake game in our Indian cell phones, old people driving slow at the centre of the road pissing you off in every damn way, women two wheelers driving insane, children crossing roads with no fear, bullock carts moving with poise, and much more made my ride memorable. It was a heavenly feeling to ride in the city of
Things I learnt from driving in Chennai:
- Multitasking – listen to songs while I ride and watch front, back, left, right, down, up and in the mirror too. This helped me do multiple things in US too.
- Concentration – it doesn’t take a long time to concentrate on something. One can achieve utmost concentration in just seconds.
- Risking – life is filled with risks and I learnt it from driving. And I can face them now.
- Heart – when I drive I don’t follow my mind. It’s a habit for me to veer through traffic. I don’t think before I make a sharp turn, it happens from your soul and that makes me happy. I value my heart than my mind.
I wish I can be like this all my life. I fear that my emotions might some day over come my sanity. I never feel lonely when I drive, but life is veering into something I never expected. Hope I can be the Day Rider in my life too. Some times I wish life is only a road and I have someone or something like my bike to make me follow my heart and not my mind.
First times in 2006:
The list is endless, but let me blog what I remember
First time blogging.
First time independent life with room mates.
First time charing of the cooker I brought from
First time cooking of a curry.
First time wheeling using my bicycle.
First time climbing 18 floors non stop.
First time watching sunset from a multistoried building.
First time ice skating.
First time playing racquet ball.
First time using status messages to keep myself of stress.
First time using camera to take pictures of nature and unknown people.
First time playing paint ball.
First time directing and performing in a mime.
First time driving on the interstate.
First time fighting for a cause.
First time learning to love solitude.
First time being literally killed on my birthday.
First time wearing a complete suit.
First time lost weight without any intention.
First time having an adopted American family.
First time learning Chinese, marati and Korean.
First time falling deeply in love (with my life).
Resolutions for 07
Resolutions for 07:
Drive safe and sound (sound means with max volume and safe means under control kissing death)
Work only 8 hours a day (hope it happens all weekdays).
Go for a trip once in 3 months.
Not to miss any family get together.
Watch sunrise and sunset at least twice a week.
Climb POT once a month.
Have food at all restaurants in
Become a better ice skater.
Take better but fewer snaps using my camera.
Submit 3 more papers.
Spend more time with friends in press avenue thereby forgetting things that trouble me.
Remember friends birthdays without depending on orkut.
Not to quit on what I am trying to achieve without worrying about what’s being done to be problematic.
Follow the concept of ‘Life ain’t filled with problems but it is filled with challenges’.
Last but not the least; make 07 a fun filled year.
India – The Return.
Before the trip:
If you are a F1 or J1 or any student whose been in US for quite sometime, then definitely you would be excited atleast a couple of days before your first trip to
Maharaja & Granny of Air
Any typical Indian who has been to USA (be it even in the worst part of the states living on table cleaning, serving steaks to students, why not cleaning toilets) would say that Air India has got the worst service in an airline industry. They would complain about everything they see in the flight. They would point that there is no proper smile or a ‘your welcome sir’ reply from the air hostess. PS most would say, ‘how come they recruit such ugly looking people as hostess’. But I loved the flight to my delight. Leave the service and courtesy. There was this sense of going to
I had this 89 year old granny as my besider. Initially she dint care about me. I spoke in telugu with Mr. Banu from ONGC (first time overseas business flyer) who was concerned about immigrations stuff. Later I was chatting in tamil and English with these students behind me. Then the fun started. I called Abhay a good friend and spoke to him, ‘Kaise ho Bhai?’ the result of this line: The granny was shocked. She had this puzzled smirk on her face. Then we spoke for a while. Initially it was hard for me to understand her Hindi (I accept that I am crappy with my Hindi) but later I realized that she understood English well and so used English as my line of defense.
The fun part was she started reading a book on Sree Krishna Charithra when the flight took off. Later when I switched the TV and was watching Krish, she was interested in the movie and once I made her wear the headphones, she started humming the song ‘Dhoop Nikalthi Hai Jahan Se’. She was one pretty cool Granny. I liked especially when she was served food. Her table manners were excellent and perfect. Later I found out from her grandson that she has a royal bloodline and that she did her academics from
This is an interesting thing I noticed in
Mumbai – Synthetic but Patriotic
When I say synthetic I mean synthetic. No offense to mumbaites, but I do say that the way of living in Mumbai is not what
I had to stand in queue for boarding my next flight to Chennai and one person in front of me asked me to look after the queue coz he wants to go out and return to the same spot. I was smiling with my heart when I heard those words. He returned back with a cup of coffee. This cup was unusual for me. It was small, white, paper type, open top and was steaming. For a guy whose been drinking coffee from starbucks, this was strange. But for a guy who had spent his life in
A ‘weighty’ judgment:
Now comes the big part of meeting my parents. Landed in Chennai, collected my luggage and was walking out into the receiving crowd. Hands waving, people smiling, parents hugging their loved ones, grandmas lifting their grandchildren and there was this odd face with grey hair covered all over the face. There was this pain in the eyes of the person, a puzzled forehead, a shocked body language hands stopped waving in the air but there was this curve in the face diverted directly from the heart. There he was my Dad, shocked by the way I looked. I went to him, hugged him and to prove to him that I am fine lifted him and held him for a while. He was happy then. Now I had this big fear of confronting my mom. She was waiting for me at home. As expected dad asked me questions regarding my health and about my food. I did put some sense in my answers. Now he was feeling not happy but confident in what I had.
Reached house and there I saw mom running from the hall towards the door. Footsteps slowed, laughter turned to smile and smile turned to shock. This time it was more serious. Eyes concentrated on me, hands stopped moving and her body stiffened when she reached the door. She didn’t open the door. She just stood inside watching me through the grilled door. It took at least 10 mins for her to start speaking. Hugged her too, lifted her and then kissed her on her forehead. Now she became real angry and stared at me. I just smiled at her and then came the hard stuff from her. Tears started overflowing. More laughter from me and then another hug. Finally she understood what has happened. (It wasn’t intentional of me to lose weight. Change in diet did everything). The saga of explaining my weight loss continued the whole day with relatives, neighbors and friends.
The rest of the day was all normal except for one thing. Mom stuffed me every half an hour with some kinda food. I was made to hog on all kinds of food. I had to keep her happy and so had to eat whatever she gave me. The end result: I was sick. I was so sick of the food I had that I couldn’t sleep. I fear the next 25 days. Mom is gonna stuff me like anything. Lets see what happens.