Friday, November 26, 2010

Onyamaaaaarks... Getseyt... Ggggo! ROAD RASHES 1 - The Last Mile

Okay people! I herewith launch, without further ado and fanfare, my new section named


Now then, does this refer to the sorry state of the roads? Especially post a nagging South West Monsoon and an unpredictable and continuing North East Monsoon? Admit it, don't they look like rashes on the road?

Or does it point at the brand of driving epitomised by Road Rash, the game - complete with baton (I loved the clunky sound it made when you knocked another chap or a cop over the head with it... heh heh), link chain and deliberate driving onto pedestrians so you could make the bike jump?

Or does it hint towards the mentality you develop when you drive?

It's a bit of each. There is so much to lament, so much to wonder, so much to boast about, so much to feel sorry for, so much to share...

But let me not get ahead of myself. I will go about this section in the most logical way possible, i.e. at pure random! Well, that's exactly how Indians use the road anyways.

Let me introduce you to one of my patented observations - the Last Mile. I'm sure you've heard this term used in reference to networks - the final leg of connectivity from a communications provider to a customer. It is widely accepted as the most challenging link to ensure, and often the single point of failure for critical setups.

In our parlance, I would like to extend this thought, this mentality, to people's behaviour in this country. It is the behaviour typified by an ostenisbly strange reluctance, refusal or ennui towards completion of any task. Allow me to explain with a few examples:

  1. After months of inconvenience caused to all road users by digging up earth, heaping it along usable road, rendering half the road width unusable, etc, the road work would be complete. But towards the end of the road, just next to the busy junction, would be a huge pile of rubble, a couple of drums in which the tar was melted, an old tyre half melted and stuck to the semi-molten tar, and assorted paraphernalia...
  2. One absolute nincompoop of a politician or administrator would have played a cruel joke on the populace by sanctioning the concretisation of one half of the road. Another joker - several thousand moons later - would have sanctioned interlocking tiles over the junction area. For several months after the completion of the latter, there would still be a gap of an agonising few inches between the two metalled surfaces. A monsoon would come and go, causing the interlocking tiles nearest the edge to dislodge, leading to a grand pothole...
  3. An area on the road would be cordoned off with metal sheets for manhole work. Weeks after the work is complete, the metal sheets remain...
  4. A political party would set up an elaborate shamiana for some ostentacious self-indulgent celebration, for a day. For weeks after that, some of the material used would lie around. Another stark reminder would be the merciless holes dug on hitherto smooth road to pitch the tents.
  5. A jaywalker would begin crossing the road (illegally, may I add) on a trot, but would slow down to a stroll roughly two-thirds of the way across the road, causing you to brake, triggering a general slow-down of passing traffic.

Let me dwell upon the last example a little more. If you attempt to understand the reason behind the said behaviour (slowing down post mid-way while crossing the road), it goes like this: I've indicated to the world around that I intend to cross the road. I have granted a fairly large favour on the stupid users of the road by taking off on a trot at a random point, and hence earmarking the miniscule gap in traffic that I choose to exploit in order to cross the road. Now that I've started crossing, the idiots had better acknowledge that. This means that they had better slow down so I can complete crossing the road in peace. What?! Do they need to be told individually? Can each guy not see that, not only have I clearly begun crossing the damn road, I have actually crossed half? I have made my intentions to cross quite abundantly clear. Now no one can blame me for jumping across a busy road at a fast section. If some bloody goat failed to brake in time and actually brushed against me I'm so fortunate! I can then gather a huge crowd and demand money from the nut! Everyone knows the pedestrian is always right!

The reason might be pure apathy. It could be even more sinister than that. But it is someone else that suffers, you see...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Languishing at the Bottom of the Chasm

So then, as promised, a short and abridged list of stuff that could've merited a post or so each, had it not been for the sojourn:

  • The New Arrival - Part Deux: Interesting tidbits on the newest arrival to the Maverick family.
  • My Pothole is Deeper Than Yours: A disgusting lament on the state of roads in the Maximum City.
  • Workout Basics: Busting the common myths around working out and physical activity.
  • Under-Foot Stubble Rub: ... and other interesting way of deriving divine pleasure from a 4-month old at home.
  • Culinary Experiences to Die For: A post dedicated exclusively to the heavenly Spiced-up Rice my partner Olly drummed up one evening. Yes, complete with recipe and all...
So, dear reader (is it just a coincidence the word was singular?), be privileged to learn first of the launch of a new series! Yes, dear reader! I'm soon going to begin a new series within this blog. I would call it 'Road Rashes', named after one of my preferred PC games of yore. What will it be all about?

Well, what can I say...! "Patience is a virtue!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why oh why

So then, why did I stop / pause / break / sojourn / cease / halt the posts on a blog that was yet to score posts in double digits? As is almost always the case in such matters, the blame must go to the author himself... er... moi.

To begin with, the better reason(s): I got busy with RL, as they refer to Real Life in this realer-than-real life. This is always a good thing, believe me you. It proves that you do have a life! I mean, RL caught up with me man! I got busy doing stuff in real life so much so that it didn't allow me to get onto the net, this site, this blog, and look at a hefty 60-odd comments that my last real post had quite surprisingly generated. Now that must be a kick!

Another: there is something about creating life, bringing another human into this world, that shakes your foundations. I remember the first time it made me soft on the inside for a few days. Yes, I admit it only lasted a few days, but it did bring about that change in me. There was a tenderness in approach, something I'm not very accustomed to. I was very conscious of the interactions I was having with people all around. I went out of the way to ensure I did not hurt anyone with words.

The second time around - this time - the effects were a little different. Well, the circumstances were different. The recession was raging, at its peak. People whom I'd been close to for a long time suddenly began to behave differently, or even indifferently. So when the child was born, I had the same thoughts of amazement and wonderment on this whole creation of life thing, but somehow I turned a bit of a fatalist. I think I hardened a bit on the inside this time. I did not actively spread the cheer, so to say. I only shared the news with people whom I thought cared about the news or event more than just to gossip about it.

In perspective, I learnt different aspects of life in the aftermath of two very similar events.

But then, it would be unjust to leave out other major reasons for the hiatus.

Yes, as I said, an extraordinarily large proportion of people I thought I knew well, turned. Or rather did things around me that I would not have expected them to do. No, I'm not going to name them, nor hint at those situations or happenings. Those are best left where they have been relegated.

But it is interesting to look at the results. Although this unexpected chilling of relations across the spectrum disturbed my faith in those people, it did not shake my faith overall, on life, on relationships, on expectations. I think I know the reason for that. I have always been the kind of guy who had the least of expectations from others. There was a basic set of hygiene aspects, if when disturbed, would do a binary shift in my thought process for people / events. But otherwise my favourite line always has been: You cannot fall off the floor. (Actually, that's conditional too. I mean, an earthquake could ensure that the floor you were fallen upon - heh heh - actually fell several floors; but hey, what the heck.)

For quite a while I whined about it internally. When people asked me about the changes they perceived in my outlook I gave them vague and confusing answers. Internally I looked at myself as a victim and moped about it. After a while I realised I was only making an excuse. I had always told myself I could never determine others' actions, and that I could only fashion my reactions to external circumstances. So why did I forget my own golden rules? Others may behave strangely, but they are within their rights to do so. All I had to do was to bother about how I was letting this affect me. Once this realisation dawned anew on me I was back to my usual self.

But then, this sordid, but commonplace and boring, tale does not end here. The reasons I listed above only contributed to maybe ten months of inaction. The rest of the period of slumber can be attributed to inertia. Yes, that scientific principle you never studied well enough in high school.

What's next, you ask? Probably a post on what fell through the crack. Heck, call it a (shamefaced) chasm...

Sunday, September 5, 2010









What the...!
(Blink... blink...)

Huh? What! Where am I?