Lessons from rainy Chennai evenings

I drive a two-wheeler to work. I bought my bike in May. Everything was so smooth until last three days. Chennai was bored of being sunny and for a change she decided to pour her heart out. If you were in Chennai for even few days, you would have heard of Nelson Manikam Road. That is the road which connects Nungambakkam with Anna Nagar. Two posh areas full of cars and high end bikes. And when it rains, this road comes to a stand still.

nelson manikam

If you are a two wheeler driver like me, then you would have a lot of time in your hand waiting for the traffic to move. Inch by Inch. You think about greater things. How you don’t even matter in bigger scheme of things and there is no reason to go on in this rat race called life. And then you will see a share auto move for a centimeter and without your knowledge you will be in race with four other two wheeler drivers and two cars to secure that one inch space.

TH19_RAIN1_1523780g

As I said, you have abundant time in your hand to observe people and things who otherwise might not interest you at all. Here are few things which crossed my mind when I was struck in traffic for a good one hour to cross a 500 meter stretch.

Get your hands dirty:

No prizes for guessing how Chennai roads will be when it rains for five minutes. People who drive car as well as bike are reluctant to dip their vehicle in puddles. But if you have your destination and only your destination in your mind and don’t mind some dirt up your sleeve, you can roll up your sleeve (or trousers) and cross the puddles when others wait in the side without moving forward and not willing to get dirty. But sometimes it is the best way to move forward. If you have your destination in your mind and determined to achieve it as soon as you could, you got to roll up your sleeves or trousers and get some dirt on you. It is not only effective, but also so much fun.

Leader finds theΒ way:

If you had to cross Loyola college by evening 6-8, you will know what I am talking about. There would be less than an inch gap between any two vehicles. It may be a KTM Duke, Discover, Activa, Share auto or city bus. You will have to move when they move and you will have to stop when they stop. And suddenly there would be some men, who cant wait. They will see the gaps, which you thought never existed. They will wade through it with such a skill and confidence that sometimes you wonder, whether they are inflatable toys rather than men with muscles and bones. The best thing is they will show the people that there is a way and you can always, always create your own trail than to wait and follow others.

The do-gooders:

Each man would be as desperate to get home like the next man standing in the traffic. Sometimes, when you see that there is a gap between a share auto and car and thinking of using that space, the share auto will move just an inch to make sure that you cannot get through. This will be more deliberate if you are a female driver. I saw a man zipping past a girl in activa who was stuck in same situation like I mentioned above. He signaled her to follow him, while he expertly zipped through the gaps, while not allowing the sadistic share auto guys are egoistic men drivers to harass that female till the next signal.

The Chennai:

While stranded in the Subway, below the Nungambakkam Railway station, you will have hardly space to move. But the person in the 47 D bus, with the aim of Arjuna will spot that half centimeter space in front of you and will decide to use the space to fill with his spit. You cannot do anything as his aim is perfect other than swear him silently. You will be tired of all the honking and the reckless driving. You will be sure that the line behind you will be at least a mile long. Suddenly you will hear a sound of ambulance and you will see all the vehicles move to their left so as to give space to the ambulance. As in any metro we will have space to adjust even if you mean to use the footrest of the bike standing next to you, while he is balancing in the bumper of the car next to him. When an ambulance cross you steering clear of the traffic, all the motorists would have thought the same way for a moment to give way to the ambulance. Suddenly you will find your heart swell with happiness, not because it was Chennai people or not because of they finding space to give way to traffic. But because you are one of the collective consciousness, who wanted and gave way to the ambulance and the sense of satisfaction when we do some good thing with a crowd and when all the thoughts merge in a point. Truly exhilarating. Sometimes, I think it was the reason whey India won the world cup 2011. The moment when everyone sang Vande Mataram together in the stadium, it caughtΒ up with players and that collective consciousness is a strong force. When it used wrong, it killed a lot of people in Germany during WWII. When it is used right, it can work wonders. For a moment, I felt happy to be in a team which did a great job and the next moment, without even thinking we were all following the ambulance utilizing the clearance space.

A rainy Chennai evening can teach you a lot.

Comments

    1. Post
      Author
  1. Ti

    Dropping by after ages, but it feels as refreshing as the first post i read of yours. There is so much to learn from each event of our lives.

    1. Post
      Author
  2. Karen Xavier

    I liked this… you look at life in a good way, you make your life extraordinary… by finding good in situations and events around you… very well written, loved the bit about feeling ecstatic after letting the ambulance pass through, and then the mad scramble to follow the ambulance… nothing screams ‘life’ like that…

    1. Post
      Author
      prasanna

      Thanks Karen for dropping by. Yes, as you said, at one moment people are very adjusting and big hearted and the next moment they change. It is funny but I guess that is what we call Life and survival.

    1. Post
      Author
  3. Destination Infinity

    I am surprised that ambulance even moves forward in peak hour traffic, in Chennai! Thankfully, I don’t have to wade through peak hour traffic any longer, but that’s one thing I’d hate to do, especially on a two wheeler.

    Congrats on the new domain. Nice theme.

    Destination Infinity

    1. Post
      Author
      prasanna

      People have sense to find way to Ambulance now-a-days. I dont know about other roads, but since I am travelling in Nelson Manikam Road, I can tell this. Lucky you:(. I was travelling in empty roads every night for last three years. Things changed now.

  4. mahesh

    A good start – here is wishing you many more good things, happiness and professional and personal success as a writer and photographer πŸ™‚

    ‘** ^Loyola’

    Regards,
    M

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  5. sushmitha06

    Ha Good read Prassana !!! You have illustrated the situation exactly πŸ™‚ Enjoyeed reading the last part more – indeed those miraculous moment happens πŸ™‚

    1. Post
      Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.