Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bribe ok! Fine yakke???

The title of this post is the motto of our Trafficku Police’u in case you are wondering.

Today, I was driving peacefully at a comfortable cruising speed of 40 kmph as stated in the Driving School Manual, when I saw the traffic light turning Amber. Now, as a good little product of a driving school I slowed down, braked gently and stopped short of the white line. The very next moment, twenty one pair of eyes were glowering at me very angrily.

The eyes belonged to the BMTC driver whose bus was halfway up the kerb, the cab driver whose Qualis was on top of the BMTC Bus, the Reva driver who was under the BMTC bus, the pick-up van driver whose van was shamelessly showing its privates as it lay on its back and several mobikers whose bikes were piled neatly on top of each other in a formation that would have my PT Sir very proud indeed. Bought back memories of Sports Day formations...sigh.

Did I mention the traffic copper who was half way up the flag post in the traffic island? That made it 22 pairs of eyes looking very angrily at me indeed. According to the Bengaluru Drivers Union Road Rules (as opposed to the Indian Union Road Rules) you are supposed to speed up when you see the Amber light!

I was so embarrassed!!! I wished the earth would open up and swallow me. But then the Driving School manual, page no 768, para eight states that “Thou shalt not leave thy vehicle on the road even if you desperately want the earth to swallow you up which is natural when you follow road rules in Bengaluru.”

Yes peoples I am a driving school product. :( A much hated, reviled and despised species on Bangalore roads. We are so despised that we had to make a support group to support our support group. We even despise each other. Every Saturday, in a dark corner of a room in that building next to Mayo Hall, we meet to discuss our problems and how we should deal with a world that is increasingly becoming hostile to minorities like us. Our meetings were raided twice by the traffic coppers. The laathi charge, the coppers hoped, would make us forget road rules and intimidate us into joining the mainstream drivers on the road. But we held our own folks. We taught them a lesson they won’t forget in a hurry. And how did we do it?

We ran for our lives in single file on the “left side” of the road.

Ha! That taught them a lesson! Long live the cause!! We shall prevail or die on the roads following traffic rules! *gulp*

I slid down in my seat while the people picked themselves up from their respective piles. The traffic copper meanwhile had climbed down from the pole and was miserably hoping he had stayed up there. Traffic was in a snarl and the drivers were practically baying for each others blood. An inspector and couple of more coppers rushed in and started clearing the traffic.
After what seemed an eternity the jam eased up and cars sped away clearing the road around. I felt a tap on the car bonnet. It was the Inspector. I was screwed. I expected a stiff fine and a lengthy session in Kannada epithets. Instead he leaned over, smiled rather agreeably and asked.

Which driving school?

As I sped away thanking my stars for getting off so lightly I felt an enormous amount of pity for the Driving School Director cum Sole Driving Instructor cum peon.

And did I get a ticket in the mail? No. I didn’t. But the driving school owner is now footing the bill of some traffic copper’s annual trip to Haridwar we heard. The copper has reportedly gone there to wash off his sins.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Hostage situation

Child psychology. I don’t haz it :(

Proof: A little three year old hyperactive, kinetic and nuclear plus Chocos energy powered brat was left at home for us to baby sit. Brat had a towering reputation as a nuclear reactor powered tornado who could talk faster than a tape recorder in fast forward. He also was not easy to amuse.

I decided that I would show him magic tricks while his parents darted to the dentist, did a hurried cavity fill and were back before brat could do some real damage to us.

So I took out a pack of cards and made him choose one and then retrieved the card from under a pile of cards. Brat looked totally unimpressed.

After hurriedly consulting the “Basic Magic Tricks: For Dummies”, I showed him the Cut and Restored String, Rising Card and other tricks, created specially for suckers. By the time I had finished the rising card trick, brat had disappeared and I heard my dad howling as brat dropped his precious TV remote to the floor from atop the TV that was on a highly complex show case housing his precious collection of liqueurs and cigars and other male artifacts from around the world.

Then brat picked up a really rare bottle of whiskey and decided to drop it from the liquor cabinet that was above my mother’s precious crystal collection, when my brother M appeared from nowhere and caught my dad in mid-swoon.

Grabbing a one rupee coin after depositing Dad’s lifeless body on the sofa, he showed it to the brat and then coolly put it in his back pocket without making any pretense of hiding his action. Then he showed his empty hands and brat clapped... after he had deposited the bottle of whiskey on the cabinet. He looked mesmerized.

M then took the one rupee coin from his pocket and showed it to brat. Brat was thrilled to bits and totally in awe of the lame ass show. From the corner of my eyes I could see my mom fanning my dad frantically with a newspaper. She was alternatively sniffing at some smelling salts. I was impressed by her multi-tasking abilities but could not leave the “magic show” to convey my appreciation. I just couldn't abandon my brother when he was in danger. There was no way I was going to break brat’s mesmerization which was directly connected to our collective sanity.

Then M told brat to do some magic tricks for us… and he did it and… how!! Brat picks up the coin, throws it behind him and shows us his empty hand. We scrutinize his hands diligently like overly suspicious morons. Then he searches for the coin around the room. I spot the coin under the sofa and quickly push it out onto the carpet. Brat spots it, picks it up and holds it up triumphantly for all of us to see. Every one claps. I don’t remember a family event where all of us have clapped with so much passion and emotion….of various kinds.

By the time brat had learned how to keep the coin on my dad head and retrieve it to the “astonishment” “admiration”, “gasps of disbelief” from his audience (and murderous rage of my dad), his parents were back. We were too exhausted to say bye, but the parents didn’t mind. They had the look of relief of people whose loved ones* are returned safe, after an armed hostage standoff.

By loved ones, I mean us and not the brat.