Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Been getting subtle and not so subtle messages and mails that I have not been blogging at all. Some said on Twitter that yes, I am active there, but should continue to write here. Honestly haven't found a trigger for a long while. Did not feel like coming to this space and write about something that truly wanted me to write about. Though I really don't understand why the traffic situation in Chennai is so bad that someone is driving in the against the flow of traffic and have been seeing this for the past week. Yesterday it was an Octavia. I realized I cannot trust that just because I am on the right side of the road, driving the way and in the direction I am legally and rightfully entitled to, never know when I would have to face the hood of another vehicle. 4 autorickshaws today. Don't think anyone wants to follow rules in this city anymore. And yes that infuriates me. Today there was this bus on College Road whose driver thought it was best to see how good a driver my mom was an almost swerved into her car. Just when I thought this was THE END of me seeing this guy hurtling down, he swerves to the left and then starts laughing. Then says, Ladies oatreenga illa. Paathu badhrama oattunga. Looks like thamizh naattu kalaacharam teaches this as well. 
In retrospect, I wish I were the kinda person to drag the guy out and throw him on the road, like Superman or something. Or like the goons in Tamil cinema. It is really sad to see a city that I have grown up in have citizens like this bus driver today, who is a public servant, whose salary is being paid for thanks to the taxes that all of us pay. Citizens like those who intentionally drive against the flow of traffic head on. Right now it is depressing that I live in this city. Don't know if I have anything really to be proud of being a part of this city. Yes I am usually an optimist but this is a downtime. Someone told me in Twitter "Stop complaining and blend in". When there is bullcrap happening, I am expected to blend in? Sorry, I said. Sorry I wont blend in with Bull crap. And truly Sorry I am. Sorry of the state of affairs that is prevalent in my city today. Well what can I do? Not sure at all, except perhaps wish I were superhuman and could right the wrongs. I personally can do nothing about the behavior of the bus driver or the auto drivers who seem to be a mafia of their own. Tell some two wheeler, ask them but politely to drive carefully, out spills the profanity and a certain finger at times. What went wrong I wonder. Uninspiring parenting? Didn't they have inspiring teachers in school? In addition a lack of personal sense of justice and righteousness. Like my lawyer said, in a Utopian world, where is the need for Lawyers or Policemen or Judges? Really where would the need be? Or the laws should be as cold  and merciless as in Japan or the Gulf countries perhaps. Would that change things? 
The other day, I remember giving a byte to a channel on "Why I love Chennai". I am glad it was taken on a happier day. If I had to do it today, I would have probably said, "Not today....and maybe not tomorrow either".

30 comments:

V S said...

I used to be chennai-ite as well, don't live there anymore but everytime I go back to visit, the unruliness of the traffic and the ever increasing rudeness of the drivers is frustrating to see. What is the point of better roads and highways if people can't learn to drive well and learn to respect fellow drivers?

Sathiya said...

Good to see you back.....

This reminds me of the first scene in the movie Anniyan. I have seen similar traffic situations in almost all the cosmopolitan cities of India. They never respect the Zebra Crossings, they never respect the traffic lights(they will stop only when the traffic from the other road starts moving in slowly)...

I sometimes think, the traffic police usually stand on the side of a traffic free road, catch hold of poor guys and get bribe from them for silly things....they should rather start catching these serious traffic violations and impose fine on them or even get a bribe...

Anonymous said...

Most probably the person who said 'blend in' goes against traffic rules most of the time!

Make me realize again, how luckily I've been to be brought up in the West. For all its hypocrisy(so say the rest of the world), at least, my generation was raised to uphold law and ethics. And these traits were taught by many teachers in grade school itself, including my Caucasian teachers(yeah, the bad White culture-less folks, according to "Dumb-il" cinema).

Infuriating just to read... must be worse to live through.

-kajan

vishesh said...

Ya people donno how to drive..two wheelers scare me..driving is no pleasure, you have to look out in all four directions!

And my God, taking reverse is a head ache, people expect you to watch out for them..

the other day a fellow came and banged into my car, when the car was standing still and claimed I should look out for him!

No clue whats happening..auto..3 kms 50 bucks..The merc taxis in Singapore cost slightly more than that..

Matangi Mawley said...

me dad says- "you may be a very sane driver... bt you must be prepared to face the "half" categories on the road when u drive". i have had the experience of being pushed to some corner of the road.. esp LB road, adyar.. most people are mad there.. n velachery 100 ft road in night time! wish i were invisible..

Sathyu said...

I can understand & empathise da seriousness of da problem faced by u, while driving in da roads of a city like chennai. First keep a dedicated driver (to be politically correct, a properly trained lady driver also wud do!). Though a chaffeur wud get automatically employed when u post-graduate from u'r Skoda to a Merc or a BMW, it is high time dat u spend a few more bucks to employ a driver even for u'r skoda. Traffic woes of varied sorts in developing countries are a complex problem. When we own a car, we gotta be more responsible than an auto driver or a bus driver. Our outbursts also shud get more refined, dude. Don't get too hyper about it and mangle u'r nerves. It wud become more so, when we start owning much better and really cute cars and SUVs. So, just chillax, dude! And take care..

VITHUR said...

Its disgusting to see a Bus Driver commenting on the way, we drive cars. 90% of the cars in Chennai have dents and scratches and its because of these bus drivers. They drive tangentially and not straight and bull doze other vehicles. And all the more irritating to see people driving big sedans on the wrong direction.

Pardonable if they have just returned from the Gulf or US, where its left hand drive... but still ............

Paramesh said...

Hi Chinmayi,

I can understand about the feelings on your city. And whatever you saw is not new. Expect is the only word which can be used frequently that might or cannot happen. Have a good night and expecting for your next blog

Anuradha said...

Being born and brought up in Chennai, I used to get annoyed when people complain about Chennai; earlier. But guess what, currently I am in the same state as you. I recently came for a vacation to Chennai and found it real diffcult on the roads. Could not bare the traffic conditions. Maybe thats because I got used to American traffic conditions and found ours a bit difficult to adjust to.

And why is there a separate complaint on 'Woman Drivers'?

Bhaarath said...

Courtesy and Sharing the road is not something that is imbibed as a value from a young age. Kids see their parents or elders driving aggressively and they tend to do the same. On what to do about this, we might not be able to change the bus or auto drivers, but lets start with ourselves, our families and our friends. I am sure sometime in future we'll have more courteous drivers on the road than the others.

Madan said...

Welcome back Madam. I agree with everything what you have written. The problem is that even if you try to put sense into them, they "do not want" to be told or advised...They think they know too well about everything. In fact just like you have mentioned Superman, I have always dreamed about having this big crane sort of thing where you can just lift the vehicle (offending or having utter disrespect to rules), swirl in mid-air and throw to teach a lesson....but the irony is that it will stay as a dream.

You shouldn't feel bad about Chennai in general for some lunatics are going to be there everywhere. One bad sheep does not make the entire group bad right?. Just savour the good things and move on. Time will teach these offenders a good lesson.

Welcome back to the blogosphere once again ( after a month's gap)

Sadanand said...

wat it all says is tat people arent afraid of others or future. there must be some guy like anniyan,
im sick of indian govt, do u think people accused should be given bail(like actors or polititians),celebs should be like a role model for others in developing our world, but when great accused educated celebrities are roaming freely without any fear, then how come an ordinary guy would follow the bl**dy rules of our govt.

change the rules, impliment strict actions and appriciate those who follow rules and punish who doesnt. this may bring down the crimes in the world.

Do you think celebs should be let free?????? think think. keeping mouth shut doesnt make things better. speak out.

Arun Vaidyanathan said...

Yeah... We have such people as the bus driver that you mentioned and we have many more who are even worse not only on the road.
Lack of sense and empathy are among the factors driving the world around to being the most unsafe/unpleasant place to live. The saddest point is that we are left with no choice but to best equip ourselves in tackling testing situations we may be put to face or to just raise our tolerance threshold and be only a silent spectator.
There are a number of qualities in oneself to be attended to and corrected that no one wants to do. Neither does anyone accept if pointed out or if at all one realizes it himself, the others around do not help. Criticism, blame, abuse, doubt and the list goes on.
The bottom line is that we can probably only try to be good and feel content till the time comes.
Let's believe that God sees everything.

The Mendicant said...

Hi Chin,
I empathize with your situation. The same thing happens to me in Bangalore. I ride a 2 wheeler and acc to me, I am living my third life. I would have ran over by Govt. Bus, a private bus and hit behind by a SUMO. Daily I see motorists, autos and sometimes heavy vehicles coming in the wrong way. It happens so much in Bangalore, some days I wonder whether I am in the wrong side:-). Moreover Traffic lights are followed only if the police is somewhere around. I always repect the traffic rules, even if I am going to be some minutes late to the office, but the irony is that motorisits behind keep honking and utter abusive language if you re trying to be correct! But life goes on!!! All my soul wishes for a better discipline from fellow humans, but as of now I have to only blend n stop complaining! Don't worry, you are not alone in this TRAFFIC TRAUMATIZED TERRIBLE Things.

Karthikeyan said...

Hi Chinmayi,

I feel that this indiscipline in driving dint happen overnight. It’s like a virus which has spread over the years. And now it has reached beyond acceptable limits. The issue is, we aren’t taught that if we don’t follow the rules we will be punished. Everyone is of the opinion that we can getaway doing anything by bribing the authorities. But it is not fair to blame the government totally for these issues. May be our education system should give more importance to issues like this Change should come from each individual. And of course there is something which the government can also do to fix this.

Something needs to be done, atleast to change the future generation. Traffic discipline should become a habit.

Kaushik said...

Only a spiritual education can help you understand this situation. Its a pity that nowhere in school or at home are we ever taught how to deal with our negative emotions.

Cheers,
Kaushik

Candid Chitchats said...

First of all, really happy to see something posted here after such a long gap..
and as for the things you have mentioned about Chennai, I think it is the same in most of the busy cities in India(the traffic, people not adhering to rules etc..)
Of course, personally, I do feel Chennai or rather TN tops when it comes to male chauvinism

Eric said...

I agree with you. I guess nobody has learnt anything from Shankar's Anniyan. What's the point of having traffic cops in Chennai when nobody fears them nor respects basic traffic rules?

On another note, looking forward to seeing you in Toronto in Rahman sir's concert. Just bought my tickets today.

Chandru said...

he he.."Uninspiring parenting?"

Inspiring them to become bus/auto drivers ? , i guess they probably did not listen to them like me ;)

but yeah, i get your point.Should work if infrastructure comes in to place.

Bharathi Mohan said...

It is not only Chennai.. Bangalore is also in the same league or even worse than the Chennai..

Hapless & helpless two wheeler driver in Bangalore...

Anonymous said...

I agree, the deplorable nature of behaviour from some people really irritates you and oflate, there is no law and order or respect for elders in Chennai. This is the influence of cheap culture promoted by Cinema and TV.

Parthasarathi said...

The mtc bus drivers are so bad while driving(not all the drivers). This happened to me while on my way to my home from office. I was driving my car in the middle lane and an mtc bus went in front of me in the fists lane where the two wheelers has to go. The driver suddenly the driver turned right to stop the bus in the bus stop. The driver even not used the indicators. I immediately stopped the car and overtook the bus and asked the driver why he not used the signal indicators! He replied Aamaam appadiye ivaru traffic ruler follow panni thaan povaru. I wanted to remind the song of people leader Dr.MGR, ie, thirudanaai paathu thiruntha vittal thiruttai ozhika mudiyath. Thanks.

Vijai said...

Hi chin
nice to see after a long time here...but with kinda sad note. i wud have appreciated you if you have pulled that fellow out and did what u've said here. At least did u try to inform the unruly behavior of that idiot driver? Sometimes we are handicapped and also allow this even by not raising the voice. Had it been his sister or mom or someother woman driving will he do that? Unless law is enforced with full force its difficult or impossible to curb such kind of persons. I am sorry for what has happened to you. Keep yourself safe. :)

Rag_hav. said...

"Not today....and maybe not tomorrow either". Do you think it was any better yesterday? I doubt. I love Madras to death, but there are chinks in whatever "perfect" things we like. With a huge population and egos larger than that, it all comes down to personal realization. No more revolutionary cinemas/fiery speeches will make any bumpkin change. If that was the case, Madras (or even any other Indian city) would have become the Utopian world we would like to see before you and I were born.

Sumi said...

True Chinmayi... There are so many who drive rashly and its not only happening in Chennai. In Coimbatore, few days back, we lost one of our friend because of a drunkard who drove Qualis and had hit this guy who was carefully driving his pulsar.Where is justice here? The person who had done mistake had not even got a scratch. The guy who followed the rules had to lose his life....

Sw. Raaj Neeravo said...

Politics has been the disease of humanity, the cancer of consciousness.
Drop all politics within you. And remember, when I am talking about politicians, I don't mean particularly those people who are in politics -- I mean all those who are ambitious. Wherever ambition is, politics comes in; wherever you are trying to get ahead of somebody, politics comes in; wherever you are trying to dominate somebody -- maybe your wife, or your husband -- politics comes in. Politics is a very common disease, like the common cold. _ OSHO

Ananthasayanam T said...

Pl write and keep writing-truth is seen in your writing and truth is a rare find these days

Ananthasayanam T said...

where do you get time...is it only 24 hrs per day..?! do u eat, do u sleep..? languages, dubbing, singing, compering, counselling?..? multifaceted u r...we are quite happy to see ur postings at the blog

Vijay Narain said...

Expecting auto/bus drivers to remember their school values is perhaps wishful thinking. But expecting them not to cross lanes suddenly, and obey traffic rules is absolutely justified and unfortunately hopeless too. I haven't driven a four wheeler in Chennai yet. I use expletives only about as frequently as Hailey's comet under normal circumstances, but when I drive my bike, five minutes seem like thirty eight hours!! Now go do the math ;-)
If u have time :
http://vijaynarain.blogspot.com/2010/03/mylapore-masala-and-bus-kisu-kisu.html

Anonymous said...

I agree.. Me and my cousin went arnd chennai during the midnight and found the city more lovable than during the day.. the city is really bad after been in 4 cities(Ahmedabad, Bombay, Bangalore and Chennai) I would rate chennai as the least preferred city to live. Why ? Because ppl here suck.. Let me not crib more :)