Posts Tagged ‘Hyderabad’

When I went to meet my friend in Hyderabad, I realised how difficult it is to drive there. Not because of heavy traffic, but because of erratic traffic. Hardly anybody follows traffic rules, and we accustomed to follow traffic rules religiously in Bangalore, will find it quite difficult to drive there. When I suddenly saw a mail from one of my friends, my driving in Hyderabad lingered in my thoughts and I felt like sharing this article with all. Many will agree to what he says. If they, don’t I’ll tell them to try to drive once in Hyderabad!

This hilarious article was written by an expert from Baan, Netherlands, who spent two years in Hyderabad.

Driving in India For the benefit of every Tom, Dick and Harry visiting India and daring to drive on Indian roads, I am offering a few hints for survival. They are applicable to every place in India except Bihar, where life outside a vehicle is only marginally safer.

Indian road rules broadly operate within the domain of karma where you do your best, and leave the results to your insurance company. The hints are as follows:

Do we drive on the left or right of the road?

The answer is “both”. Basically you start on the left of the road, unless it is occupied. In that case, go to the right, unless that is also occupied. Then proceed by occupying the next available gap, as in chess. Just trust your instincts, ascertain the direction, and proceed. Adherence to road rules leads to much misery and occasional fatality. Most drivers don’t drive, but just aim their vehicles in the intended direction. Don’t you get discouraged or underestimate yourself except for a belief in reincarnation, the other drivers are not in any better position.

Don’t stop at pedestrian crossings just because some fool wants to cross the road. You may do so only if you enjoy being bumped in the back. Pedestrians have been strictly instructed to cross only when traffic is moving slowly or has come to a dead stop because some minister is in town. Still some idiot may try to wade across, but then, let us not talk ill of the dead.

Blowing your horn is not a sign of protest as in some countries. We horn to express joy, resentment, frustration, romance and bare lust (two brisk blasts), or, just mobilize a dozing cow in the middle of the bazaar.

Keep informative books in the glove compartment. You may read them during traffic jams, while awaiting the chief minister’s motorcade, or waiting for the rainwaters to recede when over ground traffic meets underground drainage.

Occasionally you might see what looks like a UFO with blinking colored lights and weird sounds emanating from within. This is an illuminated bus, full of happy pilgrims singing bhajans. These pilgrims go at breakneck speed, seeking contact with the Almighty, often meeting with success.

Auto Rickshaw (Baby Taxi): The result of a collision between a rickshaw and an automobile, this three-wheeled vehicle works on an external combustion engine that runs on a mixture of kerosene oil and creosote. This triangular vehicle carries iron rods, gas cylinders or passengers three times its weight and dimension, at an unspecified fare. After careful geometric calculations, children are folded and packed into these auto rickshaws until some children in the periphery are not in contact with the vehicle at all. Then their school bags are pushed into the microscopic gaps all round so those minor collisions with other vehicles on the road cause no permanent damage. Of course, the peripheral children are charged half the fare and also learn Newton’s laws of motion en route to school. Auto-rickshaw drivers follow the road rules depicted in the film Ben Hur, and are licensed to irritate.

Mopeds: The moped looks like an oil tin on wheels and makes noise like an electric shaver. It runs 30 miles on a teaspoon of petrol and travels at break-bottom speed. As the sides of the road are too rough for a ride, the moped drivers tend to drive in the middle of the road; they would rather drive under heavier vehicles instead of around them and are often “mopped” off the tarmac.

Leaning Tower of Passes: Most bus passengers are given free passes and during rush hours, there is absolute mayhem. There are passengers hanging off other passengers, who in turn hang off the railings and the overloaded bus leans dangerously, defying laws of gravity but obeying laws of surface tension. As drivers get paid for overload (so many Rupees per kg of passenger), no questions are ever asked. Steer clear of these buses by a width of three passengers.

One-way Street: These boards are put up by traffic people to add jest in their otherwise drab lives. Don’t stick to the literal meaning and proceed in one direction. In metaphysical terms, it means that you cannot proceed in two directions at once. So drive, as you like, in reverse throughout, if you are the fussy type. Least I sound hypercritical; I must add a positive point also. Rash and fast driving in residential areas has been prevented by providing a “speed breaker”; two for each house.

This mound, incidentally, covers the water and drainage pipes for that residence and is left untarred for easy identification by the corporation authorities, should they want to recover the pipe for year-end accounting.

Night driving on Indian roads can be an exhilarating experience (for those with the mental makeup of Chenghis Khan). In a way, it is like playing Russian roulette, because you do not know who amongst the drivers is loaded. What looks like premature dawn on the horizon turns out to be a truck attempting a speed record. On encountering it, just pull partly into the field adjoining the road until the phenomenon passes. Our roads do not have shoulders, but occasional boulders. Do not blink your lights expecting reciprocation. The only dim thing in the truck is the driver, and with the peg of illicit arrack (alcohol) he has had at the last stop, his total cerebral functions add up to little more than a naught. Truck drivers are the James Bonds of India, and are licensed to kill. Often you may encounter a single powerful beam of light about six feet above the ground. This is not a super motorbike, but a truck approaching you with a single light on, usually the left one. It could be the right one, but never get too close to investigate. You may prove your point posthumously. Of course, all this occurs at night, on the trunk roads. During the daytime, trucks are more visible, except that the drivers will never show any Signal. (And you must watch for the absent signals; they are the greater threat). Only, you will often observe that the cleaner who sits next to the driver, will project his hand and wave hysterically.

This is definitely not to be construed as a signal for a left turn. The waving is just a statement of physical relief on a hot day.

If, after all this, you still want to drive in India, have your lessons between 8 pm and 11 am-when the police have gone home and The citizen is then free to enjoy the ‘FREEDOM OF SPEED’ enshrined in our constitution.

Having said all this, isn’t it true that the accident rate and related deaths are less in India compared to the US or other countries!!? ?

India, a land of rishis and spiritual men from ages, has always believed and trusted in men. Our mindset is built in such a way that we respect all elders and without our knowledge bow our heads when we see men in saffron robes. We never go to the extent of thinking if the person in the guise of a sanyasi or a see is genuinely a spiritual one or not.

Time and again, men have proved us wrong, rather say our belief as wrong, when they cheat us in various ways. Women, don’t know why, get trapped easily to the colourful words of these men and later take time to come out of the shock.

In Karnataka, Nithyananda Swami has been in the centre of a controversy after television channels aired a videotape of his alleged sexcapade with Tamil actress Ranjitha. He openly declared yesterday that the secret video was a part of his private life! He is the same guy who had impressed several people, including one of my best friends in Hyderabad, across the world.

I was surprised to hear when she told me that he was invited to her office for a meditation therapy. Not only she, but her other colleagues were also impressed by his speeches and cunning smile! Moreover, he had even promised her in front of her colleagues that he would take her to Kailash Yatra. She was more than happy to hear that, as being overweight, she had not expected that kind of assurance from a so-called seer!

I told her not to trust others and have faith on herself and her inner power.  Doing mediation is good and to get peace of mind it helps people, that too  who are busy with their hectic work schedule, a lot. But finding a real Guru  who could help us attain that spiritual peace of mind is too difficult and where can we go in search of a Guru like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa? Not all can become Vivekananda and not all ‘Swamis’ and ‘Gurus’ are Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was married to Sharada Devi and yet attained the supreme level of spirituality. He had seen the life as life and he never told his disciples to remain brahmacharis to attain spiritual moksha. Even in Christianity, many clergies are married and have families. A person gets curious to know about things which are denied to him. According to a mythological story, even Narada Maharishi marries and experiences earthly life, even though a mere dream. Buddha became a sanyasi after he got a son and not before his marriage.

So why should one become a see or a sanyasi to please others? First they should please themselves and their inner soul before putting the saffron robe and preach others.

In this case, Nithyananda Swami, who was Rajashekhara before becoming sanyasi, had not seen and experienced the life to the fullest. He gave up his earthly life at a young age, after finishing his Class 10. He became Nithyananda (‘Nithya Ananda’ means, “Happy Always”). Only god knows why he chose that name, whether to keep others happy or to keep himself happy! A teenage boy gave up earthly pleasures and went in search of spirituality (?) and succeeded in getting lakhs of devotees across the world. The interesting thing is within 2-3 years he amassed wealth worth crores of rupees and opened branches of Dhyanapeetham in several countries.

And now, people are angry over his alleged sexcapade. He has lost trust among his own followers. A Guru (Nithyananda) without a Guru (as he didn’t have any Guru and was not a disciple of any other spiritual Guru), now needs a real Guru to teach him a befitting lesson for cheating so many innocent devotees is what I feel.

Now, that TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao has succeeded in getting the nod from the Centre for a separate state for Telangana, he will be considered to be a hero. Earlier, Potti Sriramulu had resorted to the same method and Nehru had to yield to the demand for Andhra Pradesh and bifurcation of states on linguistic basis.

Sardar Vallbhai Patel brought 500 provinces together after Independence and gave us one united India. And now, leaders, rather say, separatists are hell-bent on making separate states.

A seperate statehood during 1968-69 was meaningful and possible because most of the Telangana area was predominantly occupied by locals and few people were settlers from other states and Andhra region. People of Telangana are not on par with the people of Andhra and Telangana is backward compared to Andhra in various factors. Now, after 40 years, a sea change has taken place in Andhra Pradesh, including Telangana.

The creation of Telangana state will definitely have a ripple effect on the length and breadth of the country, leading to further balkanization of the country. It will encourage regionalism, linguistic chauvinism and fanaticism. Though smaller states with compact areas may witness better development, the experience with Chattisgarh with huge mineral resources, has taught a good lesson to people. It has witnessed unparalleled looting of state’s mineral resources by politicians, who have feathered their nests by leasing the mines to private parties.

When the whole world is thinking in terms of globalization, people in Andhra Pradesh apparently seem to remain local and don’t want to move ahead with the rest of the world in race for development.

How genuine is the demand for a separate state? Unlike Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh is geographically not that vast. Telangana may lose the advantage of unified Andhra Pradesh, as the coastal Andhra is rich in agriculture and Rayalseema has vast mineral wealth. The new state may not be economically viable.

Now that the Centre has agreed to the political pressure, there will be a demand for a large number of such new states like Rayalseema, Vidarbha, Saurashtra, Hareet Pradesh, Bundelkhand, Purvanchal Pradesh, Bodoland, Gorkhaland. Not just there, even in Karnataka, people will seek separate states for Coorg and North Karnataka, which will only further jeopardize the integrity of the country.

Creating a seperate state will not solve the problems of Telangana, but will add additional problems for the new state. Instead of creating a new state, the Centre could have generated more employment opportunities, establishment of large and small scale industries, eradication of illiteracy, child labor, poverty and gender equality. It could have supported agricultural sector and helped in bringing down the prices of essential food grains and meet the basic needs of a common man.

The Centre should have thought of resolving the issue which is acceptable to all regions instead of unilaterally imposing a decision. Anyways, it is time to roll up sleeves and get down to smart work. It is time for leaders to develop all fields — education, science and technology, trade and commerce — to make Telangana’s economy a strong and vibrant one.

It was a sudden visit, not pre-planned unlike my other trips. After Vij left, I wanted a break, a break to refresh my mind and soul. I wanted to be away from Bangalore and all familiar faces. Suddenly, Taraka’s face came in front of my eyes and I just called her to ask if I could visit her. When she confirmed that she would take leave and take me around, I just took four days leave to visit her in Hyderabad.

I was eager to meet her after so many years. Yeah, after four years. Four years ago, she had come to Bangalore and visited us.

Unfortunately, the train reached at 12 noon instead of 9.40 am on Saturday and Taraka was waiting with jeeju to receive me at Kacheguda railway station.

Oh, it was a pleasant meeting, two friends, rather I would love to call her my elder sister, after four years.

I met Taraka for the first time in 2002. She was my roommate in the PG. Old memories gushed in, and we kept on chatting about the days we spent in the PG. Our discussions ranged from family, work, politics, society, religion, agriculture, economy, what not, almost anything and everything. Though it sounds strange to note that two friends discuss such things when meeting after so many years, to be frank, that’s how our friendship started and became stronger. We used to discuss so many issues, current affairs and political issues in the PG and it continued even after she left Bangalore. The discussions were not useless and meant for time pass. They helped me to improve my GK, as I was pursuing civil services.

From being a student I have grown up to be a working woman. I admired her spirit and strength and learnt so many things during my stay with her for 8-9 months. Today, I salute her for being so strong, for supporting her family, being a successful working woman and mother of two lovely kids.

From being a student I have grown up to be a working woman. I admired her spirit and strength and learnt so many things during my stay with her for 8-9 months. Today, I salute her for being so strong, for supporting her family, being a successful working woman and mother of two lovely kids.

Our friendship has become stronger by the passing years (touchwood) and I hope it continues to be much more stronger in the coming years.