Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What Maketh a Bangalorean?

I met a charming man (CM) the other day. He was about 5' 10", of slight build, and his stained teeth betrayed a fondness for the paan. He was weaving through the light afternoon traffic on a gear-less step-through scooter, confident in the belief that his vehicle's derrière ended where he sat. It was this belief that encouraged him to brake-test me while cutting from Lane 1 to Lane 3 at an acute angle.

I braked heavily, startling my parents and wife. I also punched the horn button, tooting angrily at the said CM. CM obviously didn't enjoy being tooted at (who does?) and he pulled up in front of me to have a mano a mano type argument. Being stout-hearted and nursing a fondness for the m-a-m myself, I decided to exit the car and introduce myself to CM.

CM proceeded to employ some fruity Hindi cuss words. It was a sheer waste of breath and time, as I frankly don't get Hindi c.w. Give me the poetic Tamizh c.w. any day of the week. A well-directed Kaep Maari, Porambokku, or l.k.b (this last one is of Hindi origin, but has been fondly and permanently adopted by my state mates).

Anyway, CM realized that Hindi wasn't doing it for him, whereupon he decided to share his hypothesis on Tamizhian drivers with me. My car sports a TN registration (bit of the DQ charging the windmills there), and it wasn't difficult for him to deduce my native. CM claimed that TN drivers honked more than Bangaloreans, drove worse than Bangaloreans, and didn't belong in Bangalore. He was apparently some sort of an Ambassador for Bangalore, as he interspersed his tirade with sweet entreaties such as, "Chill, machan. Why are you getting tense? You are in Bangalore now. So chill machan....". Such e. failed to convince me of his friendly intentions, as the body of his monologue questioned the legality of my parentage, with mild threats of how easy it would be to set fire to my car.

Seeing that this friendly chat was going nowhere, I turned away from him. As I walked back to the car, he screamed out in frustration, asking me to return to where I belong. This last statement stung me. For Madras is closer to Bangalore than Patna is.

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