Saturday, March 24, 2007


Back in college days (1997-2001), when PCs were becoming popular in Kerala, 'Roadrash' was one of the games which had glued me to a seat. (Well, to be frank, I was never much of a computer-gamer; Roadrash, Minesweeper, Solitaire & Mah Jong being the only ones I've ever laid my hands on, other than the ones I had authored myself: a flavor of Othello, a memory game which I christened 'Ormma', and 'MathWars' which I wrote to improve my calculating speeds.)

I guess Roadrash got popular exploiting man's inherent urge for transgression, adrenaline, and a passion for lawlessness. I used to play on all the four routes available in my version, and was thrilled to the core when I could take a real-life drive along two of them: the 'Napa valley' & the 'Pacific Highway', when I worked in the USA.

Anyway, my taste of Pune roads during the current month-long visit surpasses all those elements of transgression, lawlessness and adrenaline-rush!!! read on...

Check out the picture to the right (from - this is the typical traffic on a busy Pune road. Okay, you might think that it sucks - you'll be stuck in traffic. hehe... Are you kidding..???? Yeah, if you are on a bus or a car, you might be stuck... but if you are on a motorcycle or an auto-rickshaw? That's the thrill !! Let me explain:

Imagine you have a glass jar, and you fill the thing with pebbles. Now, the jar is full, none of the pebbles can move. Say, you drill a tiny hole at the bottom of the jar - a real tiny one, through which none of the pebbles can pass. Okay..? Now, this is the traffic condition, and pebbles are the 4-wheelers and higher. Now, say, you start pouring sand into the jar :-) You see where I'm getting at..? ;-) You pour the sand into the jar, and keep shaking the jar - the sand flows seamlessly out of the hole at the bottom - the sand is the millions of motorcyclists and auto-rickshaws. Now, tell me... how would you like to crawl and slither out of a hundred pebbles, racing against the other motorcyclist like "Hey, haha.. I found a 2-inch gap there, loser !!! Lemme stick my front-wheel in there.. whoo hooo... the sucker infront of me twitched an inch so that his motorcycle doesn't get scratched!!! Loser!!! I win.. I win... now I plunge into that inch.. okay, now, there is the next sucker there.. he seems to be holding back not to scratch that car... loser!!! Its not yours... its somebody else's... why do you care..? there is no place for courtesy here... just the race to get ahead... its only fools who are polite... okay... enough of philosophy... here I commmmeeee.. Cool... I got ahead, and hehe, scratched that car too... Now, this guy in front - lemme honk my irky little horn, so that the loser gets pissed off, and move quarter an inch - I can push myself through it" And, thus, they go, everyday, dawn till dusk and dusk till dawn!!

The first time I saw the following, I couldn't hold my laughter :-) :

I was riding along this one-way lane, and suddenly a car comes against me!!! Against me, on a one-way lane, and he honks me, and gestures me, to get out of his way!!! ("Easy, tiger!!!") And then comes a motorcyclist dude, honking his irritating horn all the way, non-stop (don't they have eardrums???), again, against the traffic on the one-way lane. I mean his face is like "Can't these jerks see that I'm coming? Losers!! all of them mere filthy human beings who follow traffic rules - I rock!!! I'm the king!!! I'm so cooooool"

Then, I got used to this sight... So, I just give way to the cool dudes... And sometimes, I gesture them to appreciate their 'cool'nessness (ofcourse, sarcastically!) - A thumbs-up or an appreciative face-gesture... I mean, I could never do this!!! (I feel responsible to follow traffic rules. I know how it contributes to the big picture.) That makes these dudes cooler than me! They are the 'next level' citizens, above civil laws.

There was something funny that happened while I was returning from office during one of my initial days here: there was this traffic junction where the lights were red, and I had to pull up. A car pulled behind me, and started honking. After 10 seconds, I pumped up the volume of my iPod to cut out the annoying sound, but after another 30 seconds of constant honking, I turned back, and gestured (circles against my temple with forefinger) to the driver whether he had gone cuckoo, and pointed to the red-light. He paused for a while, and continued with his honking ("Dude, gimme a break").

Well, I guess people adapt, even with annoying things of life... We learn to live with it :-) a couple of weeks in Pune, and I don't feel bad about these anymore... Its just funny to watch how people live their lives out...

Who knows..? may be if I stay here long enough, I might adapt even further, to be part of them... And one day, one of my friends might be on a visit to Pune, stuck up in traffic, and I'd be doing my 'sand' thing... :-)

He/she might call out to me "hey!!! tedka, is that you..?"

And, I'd be like "Hey, buddy!!! watchu doin' here..? oops, hold on.., email me, okay..? I see an inch clearing up there... gotta go... (and, to the poor guy infront of me, who moved an inch yielding to my filthy honk) hey loser, here I come!!!!! scooooooooby doooooby doooooooooooo"


Tail-piece: Pune Traffic control branch's website: with instructions to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.


  1. good one Ted:)
    i have given this a lot of thought myself, see it's not that we indians lack road sense, it's that we make more efficient use of available give a bad simile, it's sort of like the difference between circuit switching and packet switching:D

  2. true... its case everywhere.... i always get a lift to office on my frnds bike... n on every traffic signal v r caught up in i have to close my ears tight as soon as signal is about to go green... everyone starts honking.. no idea why... but tht jst happens always...
    everytime i feel like getting down n trashing tht fella... but then.. heheh..... i should take into consideration my 10" biceps also.. isn't ????