Driving in Bangalore is like working on a Six Sigma process. There are a million opportunities for a defect; in this case a process defect being defined as “getting a dent in your car”. A day with less than 3.4 scratches, dents or bent bumpers means that your driving for the day is Six Sigma qualified.
Every time you brake; you brace for impact from behind, invariably there is a car, auto or a bike just a few millimeters behind the rear bumper ready to crash into you. I pity those cars with “body color bumpers” ; they will have to be repainted after every hit. Mine has a “Scratch” color bumper so that it absorbs as many scratches as it likes. I tried to get a Scratch Color car but they don’t sell them here. So I had to do with a scratch color bumper
Every car owner blames any dent on the ubiquitious “Other Driver”. The “Other driver” is one who brakes too early or never brake on time. He either makes a turn without an indicator or tries zipping past cheekily on a bike through your left when you have your left indicator on and slowly turning left- just begging to be knocked down.
According to “been-here-for-a-long-time” Bangaloreans everything can be blamed on the Software engineers. Nothing was the same again afterwards..…After the Software Revolution almost overnight the population doubled; quadrupled and had the city bursting at the seams. All Software Engineers went on onsite trips and bought cars & flats with the money they saved. They had survived on just Puliyogre rice in US/UK/Canada for an year to save money for the entire duration of their onsite trip.
However the government was not in a mood to let them drive happily ever after in their new flashy cars. They called emergency meetings and made the decision to dig up all the roads…Also they decided to build “Semi-fly-overs” thru out the city. These were specially designed to narrow down the existing roads and make them so congested that not even a “fly can go over” to the other side. People initially thought these are like fly-overs in other cities ;but later on came to know these are meant to be “Semi-fly-overs” which is supposed to be like a speed breaker (speeding is if you go above 20 kmph) and never will be like those on which vehicles actually ply on..
Talking about flies; how can you forget mosquitoes; another remarkable phenomenon hereabouts…. Around the time Infosys was thinking of ESOPs; Mosquitoes learned that Bangalore was a good place for a “byte”. And the rest is history. According to stats, currently there are around 2767 mosquitoes per software engineer in Bangalore. Mosquitoes have a gala time with these “soft” targets
Meanwhile holes in ozone layer induced global warming and the air conditioned city now had air conditioning only in the offices of software co: s. The honchos of the software companies had met and hatched a conspiracy. They wrote a program to increase the atmospheric temperatures in the city so that the offices became pleasant havens for software engineers who now preferred working 15 hrs instead of 9. And dreading their hot n sweaty mosquito infested homes and the rush hours to get there….
Btw let me tell you; as such we Bangaloreans are not different species from anyone else. But well there is one distinguishing factor.
For eg: Mumbaiites work hard during the week; and in the weekend; go around town sporting T-shirts of brands such as Adidas, Nike, Reebok etc. ….
Bangaloreans too work hard during the week, but go out on weekends sporting t-shirts, jackets, caps, socks, bags & underwear (mebbe) of brands such as Infosys, Wipro or whichever software company we work for................
Back to the topic of driving… Well not so long ago I was one of the “overtake-only-thru-the left” bikers I mentioned earlier but then I managed to become a car owner. In my own foreign trips, though I did not survive on Puliyodiri rice I saved a lot of money by having just one Beer a day and in the end of my sojourn I had saved enough to own just one li’l not-so-new Santro. Still I look at my car and I wistfully remember all those drinks I did not have.
Back in Bangalore I did a Cost-Benefit analysis of using the car vis-à-vis the bike. Well btw my KB 125 bike is unique. Unlike other bikes where the mileage is calculated in Km per liter; this gr8 breakthrough’ of motorcycling; the mileage is calculated in liters to go one Km!!! This can probably be attributed to the fact that my knowledge of Zen and that of Motorcycle Maintenance are quite comparable. Anyway in the final tally, mileage-wise the car won hands-down. So due to economical reasons I chose the car
Another important reason I choose the car for my daily commute is the Bangalore Bus Drivers..
Well, their mundane existence of just driving passengers back n forth bored these guys to no extent. Then one of them saw Tiger Woods on TV and devised a game called BMTC-Golf . The rules are similar to ordinary Golf . However in this case each Bus Driver uses his bus instead of a Golf Club. All he has to do is to aim right, swing (the steering) and whack !!Knock a two-wheeler driver to a convenient pot-hole of a suitable size. Jumping a red light and knocking down a 2 wheeler carries extra points and brings down your handicap.As playing BMTC-Golf with a car is as difficult as a “hole in one” i feel a wee bit more comfortable in a car.
Btw the golf courses for this extremely popular sport are designated by the very creative names they have been given. For eg: There’s an 80-feet road; where 80 feet is the average radius of a pothole & similarly there are some 100 feet roads. Each driver compares his tally for the day with the others and the winner buys booze for everyone before everyone starts work the next day...
BPO Qualis drivers have seen the immense entertainment potential for this sport and are fast catching up. They have their own mini versions of the same game which they’re perfecting. They even flaunt their talent on the back of their vehicles like Golf players “How is my driving, call 988XXXXX”. I reckon not too many are talented in other Golf shots like “Putting”, “Teeing” or “Chipping” because I’ve never seen any BPO Qualis driver ask “How is my Putting?” on their back windows
With such varied species around; Bangalore roads are a reflection of life itself. Like in life there are no road signs when u require it and you have to guess by the number of vehicles going into a particular road or open your inner eye and see whether it will lead you to MG road. And in this One-way city if miss a turn, you have to orbit the city like a dogged satellite to get near the same point.
None has to keep reminding you “ There are no Second Chances in Life”
(Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org)