More tales from my rather few biking opportunities in Chennai.
The road will be ruled of course, by buses. They are wonderful. Spectacular concept in public transport, energy efficiency, emissions view-point etc. But are driven by maniacs. Not as fast as the Mumbai BEST buses, but in a more maniacal, trigger-happy manner. They will honk when they choose to. Usually after creeping up slowly on you and being inches from your face.
The dubious distinction of being second shall go to the lorry drivers. So what if they are overflowing with sand, water, oil, whatever? They will drive fast. At breakneck speed even. And they will honk. In a really angry blare. They are the second-in-command, dammit.
Next, but, by no means of less importance to mankind are all the vehicles belonging to the Tata Sumo category. Includes Scorpios and Quali (the plural of Qualis), and such others. Don't ask me. Their role in life is unclear. They might be, at any given point of time, be transporting
(a) School Children
(b) Families enroute to Palani Malai
(c) Prostitutes to the red-light areas, wherever that might be
(d) Call center folks to call centers
the driver might be taking a joy ride through town, since he anyway has the keys to the Sumo. Barring this, last instance, such vehicles carry upwards of fifty people at a time. Why waste that corner over there, stuff it with a child, go on, do it.
They will, of course, be in a tearing hurry to get to Palani Malai lest the mountain closes and will do their 'level best' to run over any opposition - be it a car, an auto, Thatha, or Kenny.
In this category we put all call taxis. They are excused their bad road sense and lack of knowledge of rules. They are hard of hearing because of THAT WOMAN in their main office who keeps disturbing the countryside by yelling into the radio. "No. 312 No. 312 Yenga Irrukenga" or something like that.
The testosterone machines on bikes are next (and no, this does not include the rather few friends of mine who insist on riding motorbikes). They are in a hurry. They need to
(a) get to office and eat lunch
(b) get home and take wife to beach
(c) meet girl-friend in shady area; stopping only briefly to pay off cop
(d) reach Tasmac! they are having a sale! (yeah right).
In any case, they are quite immune to the knowledge of what is behind (wife + kids) or around (Kenny in a car, Barathi Call Taxi, Karuppaiyah Water Carrier, Sumo with kids, whatever). They Need-To-Go. Thats it. Rest is irrelevant, at least, so they wish, and therefore they honk honk honk. And if you try to cross the road because suddenly they have slowed down to check out Ponni going to temple in half-sari, be warned! They will immediately speed up and honk loudly, thus serving two purposes:
(a) Doing away with you and
(b) Attracting Ponni's attention with display of maleness.
Passenger cars (owner-driven or driver-driven) are next. Along with all the fellows riding black coloured cycles slowly. The reason the latter is in this category is simple. You don't mess with him, the poor sod is only waiting for Tata or Mahindra to make a Rs.5000 car (constructed entirely out of cardboard; and running on Perumaal Theertham) so that he can get out of his rut.
FINALLY! FINALLY! the last in the list, the one everyone conspires to annoy, hit, aggravate, or, at the very least, honk repeatedly and unnecessarily at, is Kenny On A White Bicycle. The guy at the store already told Kenny, 'Why do women need bikes with gears?' 'What purpose do you need a bike for?' 'It comes only in one colours, take it or leave it' etc. Lets say his name was Makesh (as in, Mahesh). Makesh told Saravana (which is my absolute favourite Tam name btw) who told James-uh who told everyone else to watch out for this and to immediately honk. Even if you are at Nandanam Signal and Kenny is at Park Sheraton (doing what? checking out the store next door and going 'Rado ki Ghadi Haathon mein'), Honk Machaan, Honk.
(All names, including that of major auto manufacturers have been used merely as advertisement for their wonderful products).