Posted by: Mojo Jojo | November 12, 2008


A few feet to the right, and I wouldn’t have found it funny. Hell, I would probably have been too busy playing with needles and pins at some local hospital to be posting this.

Now, my closest friends (except Ol’ Mac, who thinks my bike is too big for me) would vouch for the fact that I am the safest driver there is. I screech to a halt at red signals even when the time is 1 am on the clock; the needle on my speedometer rarely ever crosses the number 40; I try my best not to kill pedestrians (which is quite a task in Bangalore, believe me!); I even stop my vehicle to let dogs cross the street.

But even the safest driver there is could find himself in particularly unpleasant experiences, when the streets he is dealing with belongs to Bangalore. Because, really, you don’t have to be a particularly rash driver to get hit by a maniac-driven BMTC bus or have your just-washed shirt decorated by a great glob of sputum thanks to some idiot autowallah who seems to think that the world is his spittoon.


Venue: Double Road flyover on Residency Road

Time: About 2:45 in the afternoon

So, all I did was brake to a halt when the traffic cop on duty stopped the traffic flow from my end to let the others pass. Like a perfectly good citizen.

A few seconds went by, and I sedately watched vehicles from the other side drive past. The biker on my right was probably doing something as innocent as telling his pillion rider how bad the traffic in Bangalore has become. Well, I couldn’t that say for sure because he was talking in Kannada (a language I still haven’t managed to master), but I think it’s reasonable enough to assume that’s exactly what the motorists here talk about all the time.

It was extremely sunny, and I could feel a bead of sweat trickle down my helmet-concealed face. A housefly buzzed by, probably wondering if it should migrate the east of the Alps. The biker by my side was still talking to his friend.

Which was when it happened. The moment of magic.

I heard a dull thud, and before my very eyes, the bikers on my side were flying through the air as if in slow motion – their hands flailing about before being deposited on the ground a few metres away.

It took another second before my brain even registered anything. I looked to my right and (hey, presto!) in the bike’s place stood a city cab, its side badly damaged. The driver inside had the expression of a boy who was heading for a spanking because he had just broken his mother’s favourite vase.

And a spanking he seemed to be assured of, judging by the way the two fallen warriors were glaring at him from the place they lay splat on. Then, slowly but surely, they got up and hobbled up to the cab, which was – by then – already surrounded by a bunch of curious passersby.

It was showdown time. A hot gust of wind blew across the scene, and – for some weird reason – that familiar Good, The Bad and The Ugly tune started running through my head. Holsters ready, turn around, get set….

I winced in anticipation of the worst.

Well, maybe I had cast my hopes too high. Because all they did upon reaching the evil cabbie was raise their fists and indulge in the following conversation:

The motorists (menacingly): Gobbledegook gobbledegook!

The evil cabbie (defensively): Gobbledegook gobbledegook!

The motorists (more menacingly): Gobbledegook GOBBLEDEGOOK!

The evil cabbie (almost in tears): Gobbledegook gobbledegook…

The motorists (raging like wounded tigers): GOBBLEDEGOOK GOBBLEDEGOOK!!

Now, rivetting as this conversation was, I could not afford to ignore the fact that the traffic policeman on duty was sprinting towards us. Which isn’t a good thing, especially when you haven’t renewed your vehicle insurance in a while.

So I asked Baloo (Oh, did I mention earlier that he was also riding with me?) to hop on, and soon, we were rapidly zooming away from the long arm of the law.

God, I really need to brush up my Kannada…    



  1. The picture you have on the top left more than sums up what happened. Perfect companion to a perfect post 🙂

  2. 3inone (with tears of laughter) Gobbledegook gobbledegook?

  3. Gobbledegook gobbledegook Gobbledegook gobbledegookGobbledegook gobbledegook Gobbledegook gobbledegook…….!!

    Thats what i wanna tell you now…because, i NEVER said your bike was too big for you. I ONLY said that u handle the RX better….!! 😛

  4. 😀 bike was too big for you? vertically or horizontally? i think both ways
    i think u haven’t read this.

  5. Haha! Fuckin lunatics, these cab drivers! 😀
    Glad to know he didn’t hit you! Hehe! Go have a vaseline to celebrate!

  6. I drive in Bangalore, as you probably know, and I could also commit murder on a daily basis. Fate was on your side that day and I know exactly the junction you’re referring to. And how stupid is that, in the first place? Traffic control in the middle of a flyover.

    Nice translation of Kannada though but you’re slightly off, it’s “Gobbledygook-aaaah, Gobbledygook-aaaah” and probably a few “aaiy-ohhs” thrown in as well.

    Drive safely.

  7. @ Mattiz: Oh. Sad but true… the picture is just something I pinched from the net.

    @ 3inOne: Gobbledygook, indeed. Even after being in Bangalore for three years now.

    @ Mac: Okay. And… why exactly can I handle the RX better?

    @ Creepy Suzie: In every way possible, they say 😦
    Read that blog post. Real uncanny that both Asiya and I posted stuff with the same title around the same time (well, at least the same year)…

    @ Nikhil: Then I guess I will have to start moisturising myself with Old Monk.

    @ Chailey: Really, whoever designed that thing must have been a genius. I think it’s the only place in the city where you are actually allowed to drive on the wrong side of the road.
    About the translation bit, I can see you have become quite a pro at the stuff 🙂 But don’t you think Gobbledygook-aaiy-ohhs belong more in the Mallu dictionary?

  8. Your idea of how the autowallahs considering the world to be their spittoon, reminded me of another book that I had read way back – All The World’s A Spittoon.

    Well, why just Bangalore, most of the metro coties in India are suffering this same ordeal of choc-a-bloc traffic in almost every street. And on top of that there is nothing called “office hours” anymore. So Hell reigns throughout the day!

  9. I was reading your post, read further, kept reading. My name never came. Buy yes towards the end it did turnup. You have no idea how nice it feels to be just an after thought. 😛
    (Am still working on my sarcasm so don’t take it to heart) 😉
    Is it because my blood group is O+ve? (That sounds like oh positive–afterthought)

  10. Now getting down to the experience you described it pretty well. The only part I disagree is with the Good Bad and Ugly tune. I could here just blank noise. What’s blank noise? Remember the sound that used come in doordarshan looong time back when there used to be telecast only for 12 hrs? There used be rainbow colours and a tooo sound? That one…

  11. well whatever u do, asiya would have been there done that before you. there no escaping asiya 😛
    and is that blog heading in response to moe. wow, how flattering

  12. @ Asmita: Have to agree. Nowadays, everytime is office time for someone or the other.

    @ Balu: I can understand how you can’t keep all your challis in one comment 😛

    @ Creepy: Flattering? It was supposed to convey a warning 😉

  13. Now I am scared :-/

    jomo, jomo? jomo, jomo, jomo!

  14. Well Jimbo..ur lucky it wasnt ur ass that the cabbie kicked..more than the pain that flyin through the air and landing splat on the road, it would have been the pain of having to repair your bike..

    BTW..isnt Victor a lil big? I guess that’s what Mac really meant 😉

    Glad you are safe man .. 😀

  15. cab drivers can be lunatics any city you go to…that was some conversation they had…I am betting it must have really sounded like that and everyone talking at the same time…..

  16. ONe needs to be a little descriptive with chalis these days. After all not everyone is as ‘smart’ as me right? =P

  17. @ Suzie: Creepy, Creepy, Creepy, Creepy, Creepy, Creepy.

    @ Shain: No, man. It’s the XCD that’s a lil small 😉

    @ Cats: Yeah, that and the fact that they were talking in a language I can’t comprehend for nuts

    @ Balu: Yeah. But good you put *smart* within quotes 😛

  18. Read it in Bangalore Mirror today. Excellent blog.

    There is another road in Bangalore where you can drive on the wrong side of the ride. It runs from KG Bus Stand to Platform Road. But hell, in Bangalore most ppl drives on the wrong side.

    Another point I have noticed, in Bangalore is ppl indulge is heated conversation (mostly leading no where). While in Mumbai, I watched a cab driver slapped hard for rear-ending another car.

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