Friday, December 07, 2007

Road Rage with a twist

There was another post that spoke of road rage some time back, but it's been some time since then. By God's Grace, I'm older & more mellow now. Or yellow as my twenty something cousin would put it. Here's a couple of my recent responses to aggravation on Poona roads.

I do not try & run Pune-ites off the road anymore. There's no point. They're stubborn & are willing to get their own vehicles damaged if you end up damaging yours in the bargain. So I keep my cool. I cannot overstate the importance of keeping a cool head in every situation throughout your life! Even if you have to defend yourself physically, there's no reason to let your adrenaline take control of your mind. You can do more damage to your opponent if your mind is thinking of vicious ways to do it. But more on cool in another post.
So what I do these days is stay calm & think of ways to cause permanent psychological scarring rather than get worked up, get my blood pressure up, get into a shouting match. Such as:

The Koregaon Park - Mundhwa road is being repaired for the past month. As a result of which, it is now temporarily a one-way. But Pune-ites being the priceless lot they are, break every traffic rule in the book & then some more. They drive right into the one-way, in hordes, causing immense discomfort for those legitimately on that road. Thankfully I realized the futility of trying to shout down 40 motorists. So I called the Traffic Control Room & appraised them of the situation. They're Pune-ites too I guess, so they said they'd take immediate action, but did nothing for a long time. Then one day, as I was driving past the other end of the road, I saw a police vehicle stationed there & a couple of cops. And of course, there were motorists leaning out of their windows, alighting from their vehicles, /begging/negotiating with the cops to be let off. This was my moment! I stopped my car, rolled the window down & in the loudest voice I could muster I hollered to the cops, "GREAT JOB!!! WONDERFUL!!! CATCH MORE OF THESE GUYS! DON'T LET THEM OFF EASY!" And I clapped as well. I wanted to get out of the car & do a little jig, but I was in a bit of a hurry. Plus judging by the response of one of the motorists, I think I had done enough! :-D
But it doesn't end here. As I drove onto that road, a couple of metres ahead, I saw more motorists heading down the wrong way. So I slowed down, rolled my window down, and signalling the errant motorists to stop I said, "Run! There's a police car coming right behind you!" And that sent the Puneri drivers scurrying. Where? Straight into the waiting arms of the cops at the other end!!! LOLOL!!!! BLOODY MADE MY DAY!!!

The Katraj - Hinjewadi Highway is supposed to be just that, a highway. But unlike anywhere else in the country, this highway is littered with Pune drivers, not sticking to their lanes, weaving in & out at 80 kmph, driving at 60 kmph in the right lane, not allowing you to overtake blissfully unaware of rearview mirrors that will tell them that someone behind them is signalling them to move!
Once I got stuck behind one such truck. Normally my response was to honk until the guy moved. That would entail hand on horn for a good 300 seconds and having to put up with that noise yourself! Not to mention the aforesaid blood pressure! But not now... Nah...
So I overtook this guy somehow (didn't slow down near him to wave my fist/finger or anything), and then slowed to 30 kmph right in front of him. Then one deep breath and I decided to drive like that for the next few minutes. Suddenly I saw this car overtake the truck from the left & join me in front of him. Same speed. And he waved at me as if to say, "That's the way to do it"! And then both of us drove like that for the next few minutes, in front of the trucker @ 30 kmph. :-)

As the other car pulled away, I saw his registration number. Bombay car. Gosh, I love those Bombayites! Imagine! Crazy Bombay Stranger-Friend joins me in getting back at a stubborn/deaf/blind trucker.

Apparently I'm not the only one who does this. Quite a few non locals who live in Poona for work adopt this route to get back at their tormentors. As they say in Bombay, "Tension lene ka nahi, Dene ka!"

PS: Did another nice thing that Koregaon-Mundhwa day that I forgot to mention. After the applauding, I called up the Pune Traffic Control Room (whom I have called earlier to complain) and told them what a wonderful job they were doing. I personally believe that they must have been all smiles in that office for the next 10 minutes. I doubt if they have ever received what is called an appreciation call in call centre parlance!


  1. nice post, this one. i also had fun reading it.

  2. hehe. will certainly try this in mumbai...

  3. Thanks bluesprite. I don't think you'll need to try it in Bombay (as I still call it). Unless there's been a HUGE influx of Poona-ites.

  4. nice one . living in pune I guess I know firsthand what you are talking about .Like the way you framed it!


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