In Mangalore when it rains it really pours and when it is hot, it is red hot. Now the rainy season has started. Didn’t even notice when we slipped into the routine of carrying an umbrella. It usually starts with the exact same day school opens after summer. I think I have bought the car at the right time because umbrella is just a play thing for this kind of rain. It will beat it and soak you by the time you count ten steps.

Right now I am exploring all the byways, alleys around the office with the car – still not confident of taking it to the main road. It is like those parents say that they are afraid of bringing up their kids in this kind of world. It would pain you when, with just a warning from a horn just behind your ears, they overtake you and you almost fear that they have touched your rear view mirror.

I was in Bangalore for most of last week. I think I am lucky not to bring up my car in Bangalore. It is jungle out there. If you stop at a signal, autorickshaws and two-wheelers will cover you like those flies. It would be almost impossible to get out of those claws without touching anything. I always tend to compare this with those building block puzzles. Within half a minute of stopping at a signal, each car/auto/two-wheeler will do their individual part and fit everything perfectly into the nooks and corners that it will be the most efficient way of packing different kind of vehicles into minimum space.

It is like art of walking in a crowd (I would think of the crowd coming out of a theatre) without touching anybody, but still maneuver by applying breaks, suddenly accelerating, sensing openings and counting on the speed of others when you cross over. It almost becomes a second nature in these parts of the world. Ever tried crossing over a 4-way intersection? It is just like those magic acts. Close your eyes and just glide forward, those who needs to stop will stop and you will reach there without a scratch. But you may get slightly scared if you keep your eyes open. It is not the concern for others which would make you good at driving; it is just the art of survival and protecting your skin at any cost which will see you safe at the end of the day when you reach home.

I know that it will all look very silly and exaggerated to a veteran, but maybe because I drove for around 2 years in US (that is the first time I owned a car), I have too many bad habits (like checking blind spot, waving pedestrians to cross the road – one guy today stared at me for stopping and asking him to cross the road, these concepts called “yield”, “signals”, don’t horn unless the other guy is going to hit you for sure etc). I have to unlearn a lot of things. Hope I will get better at it soon. Then maybe I will start appreciating my friend’s view that driving here is the ultimate enjoyment (why don’t they seek that enjoyment only from video games which allows you to restart the game when you hit something).

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