The chutneyfied xerox machine strikes again.
Me and driving have a very, very closely assosciated history. I think I can say with confidence that I am a good, if not great, driver, more so because I have had the ghastly experience of driving in the infamous Chennai traffic. I do believe that I have undergone many traumatic experiences trying to figure out what the Autorickshaw driver in front of me was trying to do, not to mention the frightful Metro water lorries. Of all the noteworthy incidents that happened last summer (When I was deemed qualifed by the local RTO to drive in India – one of my most significant achievements), the most memorable one would easily be the time when my beginner’s enthusiasm (popularly known as ‘aaruva kolar’ in Tamil) got the better of me…and the car.
It was my first time on the road, without a middle aged man having a great deal of adipose deposits operating the car simultaneously. There was no ‘L-board’ on the car, upon strict instructions from my cousin. Apparently it was a ‘prestige problem’. I had my driver sit next to me (half-wincing, he was scared, I don’t blame him) for the required moral support and one twist of the key later, I was in control. Half a kilometre into the ride later, my driver realized it was safe to partially open his eyes. Which was the start of all my woes. He began giving me instructions to ‘speed-u’. Which I did. And then he decides that I was going too ‘speed-u’ and asked me to ‘brake-u’.
Which I did.
The price for my obedience?
A nice dent on the car, courtesy the befuddled man on the bike who had no choice but to run into the car thanks to my braking skills.
And out of nowhere, almost as though they had been paid for it, a crowd gathered and started asking me questions in a way that would have put any FBI agent to shame.
My driver just sat there, unflinching. He was obviously a man of past experience, and by the looks of it, knew how to handle such delicate situations.
He brought the window down and looked at the angry mob.
Just as I thought he’d say something carefully diplomatic and explanatory, as one would during terse situations like this, he simply said “Ponga da, poi velaya paarunga, vandhutaanga….thu!”
(roughtly translates to go mind your damn business)
He quickly brought the window back up and said “speed, thambi speed”.
Which I did.
Muhahaha. My sister is one total loosie, she just proved it. Let me tell you the story of:
So anyways, we had gone to pick up Queen Bratty-I-will-not-come-by-bus-yuck-yuck in her client’s office. She made me and Amma wait for like, forever. And then she comes all pish-poshing tugging on her NEW NIKE BACKPACK (unfair unfair unfair! her backpack costs more than what she gets a month from her office. She just showed up with it one fine Saturday from Office. Appa should have never given her a CREDIT CARD) and flippity flipping her hair. She was flipping her hair so hard that one peon-in-brown-uniform got scared and opened the main door for her.
So she comes walking upto the car and asks amma if she can drive the car.
Amma said ok.
So she starts the car blah kablooie and drives upto the main road ok-ok. And then on the main road:
Driver: 3rd gear, 3rd gear
Amma: Yes, 3rd gear. You can go little faster. But if you want go slow.
We were picking up speed!
And then suddenly:
Driver: 3rd gear 3rd gear
Amma: Slow slow!
(I wasn’t taking much notice. Too busy seeing billboards. 😛 Haiyya, ice-cream! :D)
My sister suddenly applied the brake and KABLOOIE! One guy on the bike just crashed!
Oh man, it was like in TV! Suddenly all these people started surrounding the car and asking questions, while my sister looked more perplexed than a Monkey who had too much Mango chutney.
And then after some calming down of those people and telling big fat lies like my sister already has her license, we were free.
My sister got plenty of strawberries and cream. (Strawberries – long lecture; cream – super scoldings)
Now that’s what I like.
I’m so adorable when I’m evil no?
Vanilla Vats signing off!
The NY Times talks about the single thing most taken for granted in driving – shifts.
I was sitting in a conference room at a publishing company in New York City (not The Times) last week when an editor poked his head in the door.A hot new sporty hatchback had been dropped off for him to drive to a studio for a photo shoot.
But there was a problem: the car had a manual transmission, and the editor couldn’t drive a stick.
At first everyone in the conference thought he was joking. He wasn’t. His magazine isn’t a car magazine, so there’s no professional reason for him to know how to drive a stick. But I’d always thought it was a basic life skill, like rock, paper, scissors, and shuffling cards. I’d always taken it for granted.
Growing up in India, the land of the feared Ambassador cars, its impossible not to learn driving without shifts and a couple of crashes.
Driving Pundits will tell you that shifting gears is what makes driving the experience that it is. The control of the engine and making it go vroooom, is quite a heady feeling. However, mastering the stick is no joke – it takes time, and a very patient Ramu-Driver.
But I suppose Automatic transmission’s biggest argument-in-favour would be the fact it allows multi-tasking. For the Indian Driver (chauffeur for all you pompous ones), this would mean:
->Time to ponder about the next swear word he’s going to use
->Time to observe Namitha’s movie posters with the required concentration
->Time to discuss the Indian cricket team with the “Saar”
->Time to think about whether he should get Samco Chicken Biriyani for lunch or not.
->Time to roll the window and get a better look at the “Super figure” crossing the road.
But, as them ‘chauffeurs’ will tell you, with wide grins, that they do precisely this when driving, come-what-manual.
I think I’m really really proud of the this series. It wasn’t easy, but I think I did justice to you guys. Tell me if I didn’t and I’ll tell you that you’re wrong.