Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thrill seekers

We see them everyday on the roads, of course in India "only". They are the thrill seekers and come in various sizes and shapes. No, they are not stuntsmen or adventure sportsmen/women. I am talking about the "common man" - the one who is affected by the budgets, protests, strikes and such... R K Lakshman's common man. There are many categories of  common man/woman who seek an adrenaline rush every time they set foot or wheel  on the roads. Here are some stereotypes I've encountered...

The quintessential middle order shopkeeper/trader astride the largest black bike in the market, clad in his trademark white "bush" shirt and lungi sporting the city version of the handlebar moustache. He'll be bowling along merrily in front of your ride  and then just near the turn you need to take, he'll stop dead in his tracks. Wave a ham hand at a passerby (an obvious acquaintance whom I'm sure he met only yesterday), spit out paan accurately at a corporation- planted sapling and proceed thus "Hello, how are you? ..... Business is good ... the usual... you know my wife's second cousin, that no-good fellow..." Well, you know the drill, blaring horns, obscenities flying thick and fast and finally he moves his bike to the side of the road, muttering darkly about lack of manners...

The group of pimply youngsters (he could be the one who brings in your cylinder, water or whatever) - characterised by their tight shirts with all kinds of inscriptions, faded in-the-wrong places jeans, knapsacks, mobile phones with headsets dangling from the neck... These get their daily dose of adrenaline by simply jumping off the moving bus in front of your drive. Neat na? Vehicles screeching to a halt because of this acrobatic display gives them greater kicks, while you want to incapacitate them with one....

The call centre employee (most probably the owner of  that shrill preoccupied voice that you'd like to stifle once and for all; at "customer care")  - clad in the demure crepe salwar, flowers in the hair, handbag with a just over a dozen charms and that villian - the cell phone. She of course has never deciphered that the handsfree works in the same manner as the headset in office. So, she traipses along, head tilted, cell in the ear, now giggling, now chattering, now blushing... across the road! Again you screech to a halt, horn blaring, murderous intent in the eyes... "Sorry.." she says and runs across and continues traipsing, cooing...till the next vehicle is brought to its knees...(Yes, it's that same voice !!)

Of course no discussion on stereotypes is complete without the mention of the anathema of all things orderly; why the auto driver of course. He will move about in the traffic at will, now in front , now on the side, now to your left; never tires of playing hide-and-seek. He will appear on the right, cut in front and stall left. He gets his customer and zooms off leaving you and your tyre sore!

 I am sure you have met many of these and more... Do write and tell me about them.


  1. Good one :) Especially that Call Centre part!!!

    Btw, I blog @
    Do visit

  2. Interesting!

    I liked the last para.

  3. I am happy to have struck a chord with you all. Siddarth, I will definitely visit your blog.

  4. The auto guys...yes yes couldn't agree more....driving has definitely become a survival of the fittest!

  5. Now that the vacations are on it is not very hard to find, on-the-spot stuntmen and women i.e men and women (both yound and old) who get this huge adrenalin rush at vacation and tourist spots and indulge in such feats of daring you wonder whether in real life they would have even thought of such things. Some feats - Climbing precarious rock, mountain and hill formations in Salwar Kameez, Sari, Skirts, Jeans and Pants. Wandering dangerously close to waterfalls, rapids, rivers and slippery areas despite knowing that swimming is mandatory for such acts. Deliberately reading, then ignoring and performaing all such acts despite the warning signs/boards/notices at these tourist spots. Some of these include feeding wild animals, wandering close to wild animals, rocking boats on boat-rides and tyring to or learning to swim in places where they are strictly forbidden. All of a sudden becoming friendly with foreign tourists at these locations as though literally challenging them in such feats. Many such Euphoric acts have only been fatal. Haven't we heard of them or seen enough. Wonder if they'll ever learn!