Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Red Light, a Crook and some Impropriety...

It was one of those days. As I stepped out of office the weather looked lovely. There was a light breeze blowing and the clouds didn't look like rain. I got this urge to just stretch my legs a little. Since I've joined my new job I've been spending 10-12 hours glued to my seat.

And that's not doing any good to my already moderately rotund frame.

I started with thinking that I'll walk for a while and then take an auto for the remaining distance. But I just kept going and going and walked all the way back home. (takes bow). Well, except for a small stopover at McDonalds (hehe...ow, my legs).

It was a long walk, some 5-6 kilometers (from Infantry Road to Indiranagar) but I should do it more often. Or at least some distance (as I mentioned earlier, ow, my legs). But not just for the exercise. A stroll through this city gives so many things to blog about!

A Red Light

I started getting into my stride and started feeling good about the walk some where near Brigade Road. Staying with the momentum I swung on MG Road towards Ulsoor with the same momentum. As I walked I felt I was being observed. I cast a quick glance and saw this highly made up woman. She wasn't what you (or anyone) would call pretty. Alright, alright she was butt ugly. And she was looking at me with a rather leery, longing look.

""Score! Swapnil, you still got it man! You haven't got that look for the last couple of years (ok, ok let's be honest five years). Damn if she was fifteen years younger and a little (or a lot) prettier you may have given her one of your trademark 'how you doin's'.

So I moved ahead with a little smirk. And less than fifteen meters later there it was again. An uglier (if that were possible), more heavily made up (if that were possible) was looking at me with a leerier (if that were possible) look.

Score! Swapnil you devil, you...

Wait. Two leery looks in less than fifteen meters and two minutes after a five year drought? Somethings fishy. 

Oh, yeah, the new after shave! Now it all makes sense. Didn't the ad say it drives the ladies crazy. And of course these fast moving consumer goods marketers do not lie in there ads. That would be just...wrong, wouldn't it?

So I swaggered ahead, and yes, you guessed it. A third specimen. Same make up, same leery lusty look. And out of the haze that my brain usually is a memory flashed through. PS and I were driving by that place quite late at night some months ago and I got curious about a line of women apparently standing there waiting for an auto.

"But there are so many autos standing right there PS, why don't they take one?"

PS: (Bemused look)"You're seriously asking me this question?"

SB: (Bemused look at his bemused look) "Yeah, why?"

PS: "How old are you?"

SB: "A number older than 20 yet laughably close to it"

PS: " Jackass, they are prostitutes. This row becomes a pick up point at night. The clients come, haggle with the women, haggle with the autos and take them to their places or cheap hotels, got it"

SB: (Clarity starting to dawn) "Ah"


SB: " do you know so much?"...snigger

PS: (pause)

PS: "Because my IQ is twice yours"

SB: (muttering) "Played the high IQ card again. Dog"

'Ah' was what I said then, and 'Oh' was what I said now as realization struck. Yes, ladies and gentlemen I was walking through the low end Red Light area in Bangalore. Thankfully it wasn't too late in the night so the place was still not really bustling with the clientele!

A Crook
And the walk was not over.

Just as I left the red zone (unharmed and with my honour intact, thanks for asking) I was accosted by another guy sitting on a bike. And he starts with the most fake American accent I've heard since that chap I knew who went to the US for two weeks and came back with the Texan drawl instead of his voice. (Yes, you. You know who you are!)

FAG (Fake Accent Guy (What? What did you think?)): "Excuse me, do you know a petrol pump nearby? I seem to have run out of gas (yes, not petrol)."

SSSB (Super Samaritan Swapnil Bhatnagar): "Yes, there is one around half a kilometer ahead."

FAG: "Oh, but you see I'm new to Bangalore. I came for an interview ten - fifteen days back. This bike is a friend's who's gone to his home in Chhatisgarh"

SSSB: (Confused) "Umm, ok"

FAG: "Actually I'm running low on cash and I don't have any credit card."

(Expectant pause)

SSSB: "Umm, well hard luck mate" Maybe I'd have believed you if you hadn't tried the fake accent to make you seem respectable stunt. You really think I'd be stupid enough to believe that you took a bike out and did not take money and have no plastic money at all? And you're here for a fifteen day long interview? Ok, how did you get to know about my IQ problem?

FAG: "Do you think if I give the petrol guy my cell phone..."

(Expectant pause 2)

SB: "Yeah, I think that would work. Good luck (with this stupid scam working)"

And some Impropriety
Now I don't know about you, I don't think a business establishment in which a man comes perilously close to another while measuring the in seam should be called

"Men's Touch Tailors" 

(Yes, it exists. On Ulsoor road)


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Can we rewrite yesterday please?...

Ok, I know a lot of people hate me but do you HAVE to get together on one day to get all your curses firing?

Whew, what a day yesterday. I started this post last night but I could barely hold back my tears and decided to curl up in bed with a good book instead(Have you read Samit Basu's Gameworld trilogy? In terms of SFF books with a bite, its right up there. I didn't even read an unknown book. I needed so much comfort)

Even today, well read and well rested I look back to yesterday with a little shudder and a grimace on my face.  My eyes turn up with an accusing look and I still whimper the words that became a part of yesterday's regular vocabulary. 

Are you up to hearing this sordid tale? Its not going to be pretty and I do not guarantee that you will not cry.

The day began as any other.

Pleasant dreams shattered by the door bell as the maid came in at the crack of dawn. And then I resettled into another set of pleasant dreams (dream set number 2 for the statistically minded). Everything was perfect. The gentle swish of  the ceiling fan. The warm embrace of my well used and slightly worn blanket. Diffused sunlight filtering through the curtains as if afraid to jar me from my slumber. Ah, bliss...

And then something clicked at the back of my subconscious and my eyes snapped open, wildly staring into the not-so-diffused light streaming in.

"Damn. Late again. Have to do something about daily dream set number 2"

Racing through the morning routine (no breakfast) I raced to my car. Then stopped in my tracks. Turned around, raced up to my house. Picked up the car keys. Turned around. Raced down to the car. I was still in control and driving out of the gate I thought I would still manage to reach with only a small delay from my usual entry time in office.

I swear I heard a little rumble in the skies. The Gods, in hindsight, were sniggering.

Now the regular route that I take to office is fairly straightforward and hardly any red lights. I reach office in around 20-25 minutes. However, today was going to be different. As I sailed through my regular route I saw this army truck bearing down on me as I was turning into a perpendicular road. It didn't seem to have any intention of slowing down so I did. That's my 'Golden Rule of Driving'. You might want to take notes here.

Do not get in the way of a truck.

Ah what an adage. Brilliant in its simplicity, yet so useful.

So, moving on, I let the 4 tonne hunk of momentum gaining metal take the turn first. As I eased behind it I had a couple of thoughts. The truck, it seemed, was just transporting one guy sitting at the back.

"What a waste of resources!" I thought.

The second was that it had a small learners 'L' apologetically painted at the back.

"Ah, so its a practice run for the driver. Show him the kind of challenges he could face in the battlefield. Nothing better than to let him loose on Bangalore roads for a real test of his skills in a just-about-slightly-less life threatening situation  than he was being trained to face. Good" I thought

Then, with a wry grin I accelerated on the left towards the turn I usually take for my workplace. But, and here's when things started going down, the turn was closed for some construction work As I slowed and moved past the turn I was cursing. It just had to happen on the day I was getting late.

And then it happened.

I have no clue how that truck appeared at my right rear side. Didn't I actually let it pass earlier? I heard the solid iron bumper of the truck dragging along the side of my beautiful beautiful car. The rear passenger window glass shattered and shards from it flew in. Another bump and the truck disengaged from the car and was on its way with no intention of even stopping to see the damage it had inflicted. I was a bit confused for a minute and in that time it raced away before I could gather my wits all I could see of the truck was a deep military green blur.
(I am a bit appalled.I just don't expect our armed forces to just run away. I guess the learning driver panicked but I am very disappointed I can't report his cowardly act of running away)

Fortunately, I wasn't injured. (Yes, you can keep the champagne back in the fridge. Yes you, I know who you are and I WILL hunt you down)

As if that wasn't enough when I gave my car at the workshop in the evening I left my house keys in it (Its not the first time its happening. As I enter the car I just stick the house key in the cigarette holder {I don't smoke and it seems such a waste to  not use that nook}and then promptly forget its existence till I reach home)

So 11:30 at night saw me hammering away at the surprisingly strong lock of my house. Finally after four five neighbors clustered around we finally managed to break the lock and I heaved a sigh as the day finally came to an end. 

I am not moving out of my house today. No sir, I've had a month's fill of incidents in a day.