Traffic Nirvana

I have witnessed car drivers do a wide variety of chores stuck in the infamous Bangalore traffic. Conference callers are easy to spot. The moment you think someone has lost it, shouting or smiling or as is mostly the case – smirking – at oneself, you will notice the tiny hint of something sticking out of the ear. Hail our early morning time-zone conqueror! These days cars have built-in bluetooth, which makes it impossible to distinguish a mental case from a corporate go-getter (and you’ll argue the dividing line was blurry to start with). Ladies who have to rush in the mornings use their jam-time to powder their noses. Curling their lips to a near kiss on the rear-view mirror (and stopping heart beats of many a male driver in the trailing vehicle) they bring out vibrant color sticks to brighten their days. Once, I saw a lady sit up straight and do her eye lining while chomping on a piece of toast.

sleepToday I witnessed something different and definitely more pragmatic. Stuck in a half-a-km-in-half-an-hour traffic, I was scanning the rearview when I noticed this gentleman. I was aware of the derisive “asleep at the wheel” as a corporate leadership epithet but had never seen its origin in action. Our man had pulled down his seat to a recline and tilting his head back he took heavy odds that Old Madras Road will not clear up in a hurry. He was fast asleep. Suddenly the road (of a kind you may find on Mars) opened a patch in front and I, like a drive-deprived carnivore ate up the space with first gear glee. I then looked back at the rear-view. Our man took slim interest in such territorial aggression – he was still fast asleep. Soon the driver in the goods truck behind him started shouting for him to go conquer the 10m space between his car and mine. Our man woke up. Slowly he brought his seat upright, fired his engine and holding out a hand that blessed no one in particular, restarted his journey towards nirvana