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Write On

I have been away for a week. There would be punishments for this kind of thing but I’m the boss and not a keen follower of the masochism movement. Instead I can only make a note to self: Live and let write.

No revolutionary events to report but mundane thoughts on things continue. Like happiness worth 50 bucks by way of two (second hand) books I bought for 25 each. Cheap thrills aren’t easy. In the 10 minutes before the 10.30 pm movie show, you must scan piles of mindless junk to get to anything worth more than 25. And when you do, the joy lasts for days on end. If you’re turning your nose up at “second hand” stuff and think you’re cat’s whiskers, well then you better do a good job chasing the tiny rat’s ass I care about your opinion on that one. The great thing about second hand books is that there’s always a story (or more) than what exists between the covers. If you find names or personal notes, you’re lucky. Otherwise you can invent your own story and imagine it played out as the finest drama there ever was.

Talking about drama, there’s enough everyday to belittle Television soap operas. Having your zombie moment at work in the form of picking up the phone and dialing the number on the keyboard instead of the phone pad. Spilling cheese from an eat-on-the-go sandwich all over your clothes on your way to work. Paying 50 bucks and getting lost on your way to a place that’s at a five minute walking distance. Or days going downhill suddenly picking up towards the end and making you a star (at least for a while).

As star vices go, I have those of the restless variety. There is a need to always be doing something that amounts to more than can be summed up in a word (or sentence). There’s the urge to eat the forbidden sweet (did I say “forbidden”? Nonsense. In my world there are no forbidden sweet vices). There’s the desire to watch back-to-back episodes of the favourite show late into the night, with knowledge of how resulting lack of sleep will affect next day at work. There’s the conversation with the almighty where wishes shift priorities at the speed of light/sound, whichever you prefer.

And so the days pass, one bead on a string followed by another.

Jaded, Coloured, Crooked, Pearl white.

Good, Bad or Ugly. But none like the other.

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Marriage, Love and Morning Matters

Morning commute is usually about playing your version of Monster Truck Madness while Metallica belt out the perfect background score. But sometimes you’re caught on the right side of the road.

Yesterday, 20 minutes away from my destination, I caught sight of something spectacular.

A man wearing his heart on his car. These pearls of wisdom made for more than morning chuckle.

(Roughly) Translated thus…

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If Marriage is Love then why get Divorced?

Marriage is not a necessity  –  Love is a necessity

Marriage is a compulsion – Love is what we seek    

Marriage is suspicion – Love is a belief

Marriage is selfish – Love is about giving

Marriage is a societal obligation – Love is a bond we choose

What have you done, Marriage or Love

—-

I wondered if the driver had ever been married or in love or both at once. But it matters little for he made Monday morning glorious.

Here’s to people ruining their cars and making our day. Amen.

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17 Lessons from Driving for Vrooming through Life

DrivingThe act of driving can teach you a thing or two (actually several, as I found out) about life.

Your reactions and the decisions you make behind the wheel can often be replicated in the non-driving situations you face in life.

 

1. Staying calm is an art, especially when horns are bellowing around you and bus drivers are screeching past within centimeters of your vehicle. But if you can manage to BREATHE EASY while the world around you is dancing to chaotic tunes, you’ve got yourself a lesson well learnt.

2. There is also the neat skill required in WALKING THE THIN LINE between knowing when to let things be (like when the car behind you touches the bumper ever so slightly) and knowing when its alright to throw decorum out of the window and let the choicest abuses roll off your tongue (but all this while being aware that the latter reaction should be resorted to when all else fails and when you’re unlikely to ever meet the person/people you’re addressing in this manner).

3. It is to your benefit to know that people can’t always be trusted. A person indicating to turn left is just as likely to create hassles for others and instead turn right. The key is to realise that ANYTHING can happen and EVERYTHING is what you need to be prepared for.

4. If you always let others manoeuver their way to get in front of you, soon enough you’ll fall behind. So it’s quite alright to honk and move ahead to MAKE YOUR PRESENCE FELT and your stand crystal clear.

5. When you have a car breakdown, there will be those (very few) who stop to help and the majority who pass by thinking “I’m so glad that didn’t happen to me”. The idea is to be grateful for the former (and become like them) while ignoring the latter. And if nobody stops to help (or watch) you’ll have the When-I-managed-it-all-alone story to tell and be proud of.

6. Sitting in the co-driver seat can often be a nerve-wracking experience. But when you’re not in control its best to advise on things the driver can’t see and you can, while trusting the person to take care of everything else. Things usually run smoothly that way. After all it isn’t good sense to get anxious about things you can’t possibly control. So DO WHAT YOU CAN TO HELP and then just SHUT UP.

7. If you want to drive rash and throw caution to the winds, do it on your own time. It’s unfair to get people to partner you on the road to possible self-destruction.

8. If you must break the rules (jumping red-lights, speeding, etc.) you better not harm others. And also…DON’T GET CAUGHT.

9. Someday was your first day behind the wheel. So just give the slow-moving newcomers a break. DON’T BE A BULLY. If anything, give learners a smile and a thumbs-up when you cross them.

10. No matter how great the spot looks before you park, you will see a better spot after you have parked and are getting out of the car. DON’T FRET. You’ve managed to park you car and at that moment it’s all that matters. Nobody’s distributing prizes for getting to the best parking space. Just get over it and go do what you actually came for.

11. Traffic jams don’t last forever. So when your plans have been temporarily halted, first look for a possible way out. When you’ve tried and can’t find any, just MAKE THE MOST OF THE TIME YOU HAVE. Do something exciting enough to remember this traffic jam for a long time to come or at least till the next jam comes up. Call a friend and make small talk, listen to your favorite song on loop (and sing along, if you don’t mind the stares), read the book in your bag or if gentleman-luck is shining on you, you could feast your eyes on fellow traffic-jammers. Give yourself a break and have a good time.

12. Wearing seat-belts (or helmets) makes sense, even if their absence can’t give you deadly diseases. If things can protect you from possible harm, it makes sense to use ’em.

13. Rearview mirrors are a blessing if you’re the kind of person who likes to know what’s happening around you. While you’re moving on ahead, it’s great to be able to SEE WHO’S CATCHING UP.

14. It’s always nice to HAVE A CLEAR VISION, so keep your windscreen clean. Because when people come riding in the opposite direction with headlights shining on you, you don’t want to lose your focus by being blinded.

15. You’re as powerful and capable as you think you are. Just because you’re sitting in a Maruti 800 doesn’t mean an SUV has the right of passage. THE ROAD DOESN’T CARE HOW BIG YOUR VEHICLE IS. If you know how to manage the turns (and the bumps), you’re as good as anybody or better than most.

16. It’s always good to CONCENTRATE ON THE BIG PICTURE – Your final destination. When you do that, getting lost doesn’t seem so bad. You might have to take a detour and it will take longer than usual. You may even need to go back on the road you just passed, but if it gets you out and onto your final destination, it can’t be the worst thing to happen to you. And asking for directions doesn’t show you to be incompetent. Admitting your lack of knowledge may be a small distraction if other people can help you get where you want.

17. And more often than not, the best thing is to TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. If you travel on the road that ‘seems’ right to you, pure joy is what you’ll feel when your decision is vindicated. And if it turns out that you were wrong, at least you can be happy that no one else got the luxury of spoiling things for you.

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My Way on the Highway (or why I’m sure my Driver Karma is outta whack)

When I was three months pregnant, I decided to make life simpler and travel to work at ease. So I could read, munch, stare outside and get lost in my stream of consciousness while someone drove me to work. It was also meant to be relaxing after a day’s work.

The man in question (appointed through very reliable driver of so-and-so) was young, brash, and always late. We’ll call him Driver No. 1 (yes, there are more). The wiser older people said I wasn’t used to having anyone work for me. I had to give it time and loads of patience. Yes, sometimes I could read or munch but I was never relaxed. I gave plenty of holidays, money before it was due but I could never trust the fella to turn up on time. And he never proved me wrong. So finally I decided to rid myself of the menace.

Problem not solved though. I was still barred from driving and had to put up with whoever or whatever was going to come next. Enter Driver No. 2, again sourced through the aforementioned reliable driver of so-and-so. The newbie was always on time. He also always spoke at length about nothing in particular and could not stop himself from driving like a maniac. In addition to the above, he thought the sun rose from his nether regions. Since he was Driver No.2, I decided to swallow a whole lot and just put up with him, tide through the months. Somehow we got to June, three months away from D-day, due date, life-changing experience etcetra. Then came Europe (free wheeling holiday in running shoes with baby bump to boot). Mr. Driver meanwhile outdid himself in my absence. Screamed, shouted and left father-in-law with sprained leg stranded in the middle of nowhere. There was no real reason for the behaviour, except he was an asshole. When you’re having a baby, everyone will tell you to think happy thoughts, stay calm and breathe easy. With Driver No. 2, life was anything but. So, unpleasant as it was, I didn’t regret his exit from my life.

But I was still three months away from freedom. So the hunt was on and fulfilled quite promptly in the form of Driver No. 3 (who had the distinction of getting me to one week before D-day). Seeing as he lasted till the end you would think I was happy. I don’t want to be hard on the guy and I’m sure I was being too picky. But sometimes his driving made me want to holler in his ear. There was nothing wrong with him per se. He drove safely, was always on time, did not speak a word and was very well mannered. But god-oh-god why would you always follow the slowest-moving vehicle and then honk to almighty. Or go right up to the person wishing to turn and then suddenly realise you have to swerve your way through to go straight. I realized I’m no back seat comfort seeker.

So I counted days, to deliverance, to abuse-while-you-cruise routine, to driver-proofing my life.

To finally being able to drive my way on the highway.

P.S.: Driver No. 3 is still alive and flourishing as assisted ride for father in-law. And I have a new menace to deal with. He’s a whole other story. Wait for it.