Every evening, I come home bone- tired.
With a pulsing headache.
With ringing ears.
With teary, irritated eyes.
With a sore bum and achy arms.
No, it’s not my work that does that to me.
My work only gives me a creaky neck, a wonky back, dry, flaky hands and sore calves. Thanks to odd posture, endless scrubbing and perennial standing- in that order.
Everything else, is thanks to the inescapable, horrid, nausea- inducing traffic and having the ultimate misfortune of having to steer a motor vehicle in that madness.
My work is something I enjoy, it never gives me headaches. The ride back home always does.
I am a blubbering, swearing, irritated mess by the time I reach home. My joy killed. My life- force wasted. My energy drained. My sensory receptors overwhelmed.
The crazy zig- zagging of bikers, the compulsive honking, the bronchial death inducing smog, the signal- squabbles and the complete and total disregard for rules. The traffic situation in Bangalore is in dire straits.
My Roadavatar is one of feigned indifference. I pretend to not notice the pandemonium. I try and focus on the music and not swear at the guy who just cut across. I try to think happy thoughts. Of beaches. And French pastries. Of bilateral mandibular sagittal split osteotomies and facial bi-partitions. Of lacy Jimmy Choos and the limited edition Cartiers. I try.
Then there are days like today.
When I become a crazy, car chasing, honking, gesticulating mad-woman.
It all started at a traffic signal.
It was still red. With 5 seconds to go (yeah, we have timers here!), before it would turn green.
Mr. My Arse- is-on-fire-so-I-need-to-get-Home (AIOFSINTGH) starts honking at me to move along even before the signal turns green.
Well, that is almost the norm here. So I ignore him, and start to sing “we all go round the mulberry bush” in my head. Loud.
And once we all get moving, in the crazy impossible formations that happen right after a signal, Mr. AIOFSINTGH continues his mindless honking. It almost has a tune to it. The most vile, brain- numbing tune there ever was.
I veer away from his path. He veers too.
He continues to honk. At me. At everybody.
I peek a look at my rear- view mirror.
He seems to be unperturbed. He does not seem to be particularly interested in me either.
I speed up. He is some distance away.
Yet, he continues to honk away.
It’s a disease I realize.
The sound does weird things to me.
I slow down and let him pass. I then speed up and get right behind him.
And almost unconsciously I start to honk. Persistently.
Almost magically, the tune is exactly the same.
I never knew I had it in me.
I honk and honk and honk. Exactly like he did!
I notice the man looking at his rear view mirror. Finally! Hallelujah!
He gestures with his hand. Asking what my problem was.
It seems to irritate him.
I smile some more.
Then I overtake the irritated creature and drive away.
I can still hear him honking at the guy in front of him. Maybe he’s just honking at the universe. Maybe he’s pissed with his God and is venting his frustration. Or maybe he has “Honking Tourette’s”!
I come home in a decent mood.
I may have discovered the secret to staying sane in Bangalore traffic.
Give what you get. Be as mental as the others are.
Maybe it’s time to upgrade my Roadavataar. I guess the more time I spend irritating others, the less time I shall spend irritated.
And considering my “other home” is no better when it comes to bedlam on the roads (DOHA!), I guess it’s time I started working on some coping mechanisms.
What say folks?
Tailgating Land Cruisers (we know where they come from!), callous BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) buses and mental, bikers- there is no respite in sight!
Till next time…