Saturday, March 27, 2010

India 2: Germany 0


Yesterday riding back to work after running a lunchtime errand through one of the hopelessly identical roads of Salt Lake, I saw something like the above picture zoom up in the rear view mirror of my Bajaj Pulsar. Many a time in the past 2 years on my drive up Route 24N to Boston, I had had a similar sighting of a powerful Beemer, or a Porsche or an exotic Merc while I was doodling away on the same road with my trusty Toyota Corolla. A mere hint from them that they were looking to pass me and I'd slink off to the right of the road showing respect and giving room where it was due. But that was Boston in well-to-do capitalist Massachusetts, and this was Calcutta, the heartland of stagnating Communism! More used to the sight of a rusty yellow Amby cab falling away into the distance in my rear view, I was shaken and stirred. For someone who knows their cars spotting a BMW 6-series convertible (650i to be precise) on a Calcutta road is somewhat like spotting Katrina Kaif shopping at my local fish market. Hell! I hadn't seen one of these beauties in even the 1.5 years of driving down America's freeways. Just when my moony eyes were regaining focus, the peaceful aura of the moment was shattered... into a thousand painful shards all thanks to the incredible boorishness of the idiot who was driving that beautiful machine.

He accelerated the car to within a couple of inches of my Pulsar's tail light and started honking the horn like crazy. There are a lot of things I can tolerate in this world but overbearing bullies are not on the lucky list. That the car deserved a better, saner, classier driver went without saying and in the few seconds that it took me to move my motorcycle out of his way, I had made up my mind. In a crowded city like Calcutta, even in 'planned' areas like Salt Lake, there is one challenge you should not be throwing out and that is of a point A to point B race with a motorcycle unless of course you are riding a motorcycle too. And if your two wheeled rival be a Pulsar 180 or one of its bigger brothers, then the game is as good as lost. Cycle rickshaws, potholes, randomly located semi-filled or over-filled manhole covers, swerving buses will all form an obstacle course that only a motorized two wheeler can negotiate with ease while everyone else must gnash their teeth and wait for the crowds to clear up. The race was on and on my Pulsar's home turf, in the madness and chaos of a Calcutta road.

This the BMW driver seemed to have realized from the moment he overtook me and he made a desperate dash to leave me trailing. On a road with unpredictable traffic and an even more unpredictable surface, he could only go so fast. Just as foolish as I'd have seemed if I had showed up honking behind a BMW on the German Autobahn riding my Pulsar 180, a similar wave of stupidity might have engulfed my competitor's brain when he decided to give my Pulsar a good dose of his horn on yesterday's warm Salt Lake afternoon. I was easily keeping up with him making full use of my home ground advantage and giving him his own back in terms of honks (with the incredibly loud factory fitted horns that the Pulsars come with), hovering just a few inches behind his multi-lakh rear bumper and the few quiet sections of the road where he tried to gain on me by accelerating hard were handled without breaking a sweat by my trusty two wheeled powerhouse (I mean by Indian mobike standards... of course). The guy was getting really mean by now cutting me off rather dangerously whenever I tried to overtake him. It seemed like very soon I was to be famous for being a victim of another BMW hit-and-run case. He knew and I knew that he was only delaying the inevitable, but misplaced pride at being at the wheels of a BMW kept him going.

Then I found an ally in the form of another Pulsar, this one carrying three guys and subjected to the same shock-and-awe tactics by my rival in his mad rush to get away from me. Except that, like me, they too were not shocked-and-awed and joined me in my bumper to bumper pursuit of the amazing car with its no-longer-amused driver. Now there were two Pulsars on the BMW's tail, honking away and pushing ahead for right of way.

Being rich and driving a BMW doesn't add an iota of courage to the person concerned - is what I confirmed yesterday. A chicken remains a chicken. Within a minute of being pressured by two Indian bikes, the German car braked hard to a standstill on the right of the road at a cut in the road divider and began indicating that he was turning right. His game was up and he turned tail going back in the opposite direction. By this time, both the mobikes had zoomed past him, and I exchanged an approving farewell nod with my BMW afflicted Pulsar teammates, a mutual salute for tackling fire with fire and for not bowing down to that bit of exploitative and extraordinary rudeness. At full time, the scores read Bajaj Pulsar 2: BMW 650i 1, or better still, India 2: Germany 0!
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[Do not be foolish enough to consider everything stated above as an incentive to speed. Drive and ride safe. Reach home. Alive. With all limbs in their respective places. Let others on the road do so too. Please.]
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3 comments:

Kumar Bibek said...

Hahaha, Nice one. But seriously, I don't really have an clue as so why so many people start honking as soon as they see someone in-front of them. It irritates me the most. I can stand a few minutes at the lights, but I cannot tolerate people who go on honking the moment they see the lights turn green.

4Ws can never beat the 2Ws on true Indian roads (the pot-holed ones) :)

Roy said...

Well said, Psychs, no 4W can beat a 2W on 'true' Indian roads! :D

Santosh said...

Way to go brother...

No one messes around with those who have their leash on that mean beast called "The Pulsar.. 180"
Yeeeeehaaaw.