Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Commute Tales # 43, #45

Keeping with my statement of yore that if I need to keep ‘The Daily Ramble’ indeed a daily then I should rely on my commute to give me enough material here are two episodes from my commute. These occurred when riding – you don’t really expect anything interesting while riding, all you want is to get to office or home quickly.


I was picking my way on my bike through stationary traffic at the Sadashivanagar – Bhashyam Circle – stoplight the other night and finally stopped behind a Merc. ‘C200’ it said at the rear above the characteristic Merc tail lights. I peered into its dark interiors expecting to find portly passengers and a chauffeur but discovered it had a single occupant, its driver. From what I could make out from behind it was a woman who seemed to have had her hair straightened and streaked brown. I somehow found it odd to see first of all, a Merc driven by its owner and secondly by a lone woman (okay, young lady!) at 10:45 pm in the night. I found myself getting curious about the driver and hoped that the car too would turn right on green like me so I would have more time with it.
On green, the car did turn right and I was soon on its tail to its right, trying hard to get a look at the driver through the driver side rear view mirror. (Wonder of wonders, the driver side window was down) I could just about make out a somewhat brown round face with that brown streaked hair. I pulled ahead and leveled with the driver side window and… actually looked straight in. I was wearing my helmet, of course. The stretch of road I was traveling on wasn’t exactly the place to pull off these kinds of stunts but nevertheless… A surprised and enquiring face looked back at me and strangely the vehicle made no attempt to slow down or speed up to shake me off though I had quite intentionally been with it for some time. This really surprised me and not knowing how to react I broke off my gaze, rode level with the car a little further and then pulled ahead shaking my head, very visibly. Speeding past the few vehicles ahead I thought maybe the Merc would catch up. But later it crossed my mind that perhaps it was headed for one of the roads of Sadashivanagar itself. A Merc could easily be at a home in this area.

PS Maybe, I should have returned her stare. Maybe I should have stayed with the vehicle longer?
…I should probably try that some other Friday night at 10:45 pm.

KA 25 X – ASHU

As a part of the effort to make the commute more entertaining one arbitrarily starts racing with fellow commuters while riding to and from work. But the one of the pre-conditions for a race is that the intended rider should nonchalantly overtake me. And so did KA 25 X – Ashu, one morning somewhere before Devasandra. That set me off tailing him in an effort to overtake him. But he was good. We were too evenly matched with roughly the same average speeds, hence requiring more effort by me to beat him. But straight ‘drag stretches’ are always favorable to me and so is picking my way through stationary stoplight traffic so I did beat him but he kept coming back and beating me, negotiating the moving traffic better. During this ‘I’m first – No, I’m first’ routine he pulled up next to me at a stoplight and asked for directions to Koramangala checking whether he had to go via MG Road. He then said that he had to go to Electronics City. I promptly told him that I was headed to Hosur Road myself and that he could follow me. He was a little taken aback when told to follow me but maybe decided to do it anyway, giving up all chance of playing the ‘Me first’ game. He started following me along my winding route to office and we gradually got talking when alongside each other at the stoplights. He said that he wasn’t from this part of town but was here to meet his fiancé and was now making his way to his office at Electronics City. He said he had carried obattu from yesterday’s festival for his fiancé. I remembered the obattu I had had yesterday and was generally very happy to find someone to whom to describe all my research at arriving at this route to office, with its relatively lesser stoplights and manageable traffic. When we were approaching Silk Board he became very insistent on stopping for tea/coffee. I decided that we could stop when close to my office and tried telling him that across Hosur Road traffic without much success. Finally when I stopped at Shell for fuel, we decided to stop at a bakery ahead and he waited for me to fuel up. After a long wait, as far he was concerned, we got to the bakery and talked some more over chickoo shake, exchanging numbers before leaving.
Hmm… A rather unlikely way to meet new people, arbit racing.


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