Thursday, January 20, 2011


Though one tries hard not be rhetoric, the compulsion to write the initial thoughts on ever-changing Indian cities seems customary.

The puzzling look of a stranger on a sudden smile is priceless. So is the swerving auto-rickshaw that constantly plays ghost in my left rear view mirror. In a short moment, it gets replaced by a rider with a helmet. Before one could realize, he disappears too. He then appears right in front of my bumper, only to slow down, forcing me to apply my brakes. Chennai roads and the ditches!

I stop at a red light ahead of me. I look around to realize I was the only one to stop. Later, one more good samaritan stops. I was not sure if he stopped by his own will or as all Indians do, he likes to follow what others do. Eventually, all vehicles stop and in about 30 seconds, all I could see around me were a few million cars, billions of two-wheelers, trillions of auto-rickshaws and one bicycle (who by the way was happily balancing by placing his left hand on my rear window).

The countdown of the red light reaches 10 seconds and I hear the blaring horns already. I wonder if every single one of them were driving an ambulance in their past lives. An old guy in his TVS 50 tries so hard to honk at a car in front of him. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had a 1000CC engine and if he would reach 100kmph under 5 seconds. Only if the car in front of him had let him go. By the time I came back to reality, vehicles are inches apart, every one of them moving with a cohesive objective – to get past the signal light before it turns red again or maybe to catch the space shuttle that was leaving in 5 minutes beyond the signal light. Either way, the make sure they get the heck out of the traffic light.

As I shift gears and take off, rest of the vehicles fade in my rear view mirror and in one split second, I realize how much I belong here!