“Thou shalt sprout thee rage within on to the dwellers of Bangalore” – Author
Just like Kafka’s protagonist wakes up one morning to find himself an obese, hideous insect in Metamorphosis, I transform too once I set my tires on Bangalore roads. Most people who know me, know me as a caring and gentle soul. Part of it stems from the illusion that I listen a lot which, in truth, is due my handicap with all things oral.
The other part, though, is a carefully disguised (as a friend found out recently, much to her shock) aspect of me that masks this foul-mouthed, scowling inhabitant of Bangalore traffic. Once I start my bike and set off, I savagely hunt for any hapless soul that dares to annoy me in any of the innumerable ways – cuts into my lane, overtakes me from left, horns incessantly or just has the nerve to be on a faster bike than mine (the SOB!). In the event any of this happens, the response is swift, precise and dangerous. What’s the response you ask? Tit for tat.
An Activa lunges from the extreme left to the right and causes me to brake (and curse). What follows next is an elaborate strategy of following the victim, slowly sneaking past him and then, in a rapid motion, cutting into his lane. I look back and give an evil smile at the victim, who sometimes might flail his arms and shout. But, kids, do not try this without my supervision, or in fact, don’t try it at all. Because once I actually did have a collision on one such hunt, whereupon the victim, much mortified and shocked, demanded to know if I would kill him just because he cut into my lane. I replied – ‘But, you weren’t killed, were you?’. Killed on Bangalore Roads? Bah! What a phoney he was ! Somehow I never liked these overtly dramtic types.
But, what irks me, rubs me up the wrong way, angers me, gets my beard, has me hopping mad and has me framing new swear words the most, is the band of b*****ds I call ‘Horny for Horns’. Akin to security blankets and stuffed toys, the horns on their vehicles are what these drivers feel secure with, by honking away to glory. The honorary hornies among them go a step further. They are out to follow in dear old Cacaphonix’ steps. By sounding the horn every 2 minutes. No matter what. Traffic signal still in red. Middle of a sweltering traffic jam. Behind ambulances. Or simply because it feels good to be doing something. So, what if you your fellow human beings lose an eardrum or two?
How do I deal with the hornies? If the horny is a car and I am driving, I usually make an elaborate gesture of going to the extreme left, then grandly waving them forward, attempting to embarass them. This is the wuss way out and I am not such a big fan of this because it doesn’t feel like I’ve had my revenge.
I like it better when I have stopped somewhere, usually because of a traffic jam ahead of me. A rookie Maruti Zen HFH is set upon his horny ways. I stay still. A minute passes. He is still honking away. Something snaps. I turn back and rattle out a stream of uncontrolled, angry curses and refuse to move out. Ah, catharsis. Warning: Kids, do not try this too often. Chances are he might be the local rowdy who may snap too. His snap is infinitely more dangerous though. His snapping means the brandishing of the latest service revolver. What follows next is a factor of your reflexes, your bike speed, his wife’s ministrations of affection last night and the tenderness of the chicken he had for lunch.
It’s not all hunky-dory though. I have had days when I’ve met my matches who are as stubborn as I am. For instance, a few days back, I tailed this HFH whom I initially let pass through the wuss way and then, imitated him. He would press his love button and I would follow. But, either his helmet was too thick or he thought it was a jolly little game to start off the day with. He happily continued his performance. Not one to give up easily, I kept it on too and received, as applause, angry glares from fellow drivers. Soon, we were like the Two Tenors on Diwanrapalya. After 5 minutes of a horny concert, I accepted defeat, not willing to compromise my ears just as yet. As I rode away from him, I could still hear the damned noise in the background, like the remanants of a bad day in your dream.
Sadly, I think I am growing older. Lately, I have caught myself handing out advice (still with a scowl though) to auto drivers, errant bikers and rookies on what they did wrong and acting disappointed with the state of affairs. That is why I thought it prudent to pass on the knowledge to a younger band of guerilla commandos.
So, stay warm this winter, have a great year and DON’T HONK! :-)
PS: Friends, Lovers and Fans, especially those who think I am “nice”. This is also my “nice” way of subtly putting across of an image of my true self. After all, when someone tells me I am nice, I am too nice to disagree with them. So, I accept it then but I’ve always wanted to tell you this, girls. Keep the love!