Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Great Indian Art of Car driving

My apologies for getting lost for a while now. I have no lame excuses this time. My sister's wedding is less than 4 days from now. My computer at home is dead, and the net which is delivered by the infamous *cable walla* is not working because of an earthquake in Indonesia 1 week back. I have never felt more cut off from the (cyber) world, the way am feeling now!

Finally I landed up in a friendly neighbourhood cybercafe, and typing this blog cost me Rs.20 :) !! Hehe, so this one is an *expensive* blog, so you better appreciate!!

Most of you already know my undying attraction towards anything on 4 wheels (read cars!) and minutes after landing in India, I wanted to get behind the wheels of my stick shift (Santro..). However driving in US for more than 6 months made me realize that I had actually forgotten the *Great Indian art of car driving*.

Driving in India is an art. Period. No wonder not everyone in India can drive. Any monkey can learn to operate a car, but driving requires different skills. For the last week or so, I have been trying to understand this art again, and here are a few of my observations:
  1. When you drive, you are the king of the road, and everyone else must understand and follow your will.
  2. The bigger the vehicle you drive, the more respect you command on the road.
  3. You can either drive on the right or the left of the road, as long as you yield to bigger vehicles coming in the opposite direction (vehicles smaller to your's must take care of themselves).
  4. You yield to only those drivers who are more aggressive than you are. But the moment you yield, you let the other driver know your displeasure by honking loudly.
  5. Pedestrians, cattle, stray dogs, and bicyclists do not exist. As long as they do not directly come in your path, they are an illusion and they should watch out for you for their own good.
  6. Red traffic signals are used to decorate the road, they do not serve any purpose.
  7. You should honk every 15 seconds for everyone around you to know that you are coming.

If you understand these basic rules and you know the geometry of your car to the last millimeter, then nothing can go wrong. You can squeeze your car in to the last millimeter and cause traffic jams and be proud about it.

Once I started following these rules, I figured that I was back to my roots, now I can comfortably drive in India. I guess I will have to go through the "California Driver's Handbook" once I am back in Uncle Sam's land :) !!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Whirlwind tour of motherland

Most of my readers are my friends, so I bet you already know that I am on a 1 week work and 2 week vacation in India. I thought I say hi to all you guys!! Life has become a bit hectic (the bit part is an obvious understatement!). I am craving for sleep and food now :) !!!

All said and done, I do intend to continue blogging even while I am on vacation. So hold on... I have a personal deadline of writing atleast 2 blogs before February, so lets see how well I stick to it :) !!

Thanks for dropping in...

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Road Trip

Yawn!! Living up to my reputation of procrastinating, though I originally intended to write a blog before the *dawn* of the new year (yeah! dawn makes it sound all the more important :) ), I somehow managed to get into 2007 without a post. All said and done, I decided I force myself to write today, before I get out of your oblivion for at least one more week.

I had 4 whole days of new year weekend (I know you guys are jealous, but I couldn't help mentioning it :P) and I successfully managed to do .. ahem .. nothing. I am really proud of my accomplishments. How many of you can actually sit at home for 4 days and not do so much as even reply to emails?

Well, I understand most of you must be wondering by now, that this guy has no specific topic in mind to write about, and hence he is just wasting his blog writing this and that. After all, if 4 years of engineering has taught me one thing, it definitely is to *attempt* to answer every question in the paper, knowing the subject being strictly not imperative :) !! Its like the essay I used to write when I was a kid. Remember those essays in 5 sentences we had to write about our Mom/Dad/Grandpa/Grandma/Dog/Cat etc? And I would always have the first sentence as 1) I have a [put subject here]. and end with 5) I love [put subject here] very much. So there was no problem filling up the rest of the 3 sentences.

Nostalgia apart, I had been on a tour to Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and Death Valley on Christmas weekend. I know this sounded like a dream vacation for most of you (even I felt so, till I went on it). Let me describe the tour, so that you guys can re-live the pleasure with me :) !! It was a 4 day *Bus* tour, and we covered more than 2100 miles in 4 days. If you do some simple calculations you will realize that most of our day time was spent in the bus going to our destinations, and the evenings were actually spent sleeping at the destinations.

I kinda figured out that it was more of a restroom (RR) tour of California, Nevada and Arizona. We were actually evaluating the RRs that would come on our route once every two hours. You can very well name a city, and I bet I will be able to tell you how good the RRs in that city actually are.

Here is a rough itinerary of what we did:

Day 1:
1) Evaluate the RR in the Starbucks @ the Bus Departure terminal .. Rating **
2) RR in San Jose .. Rating ***
3) RR in some esoteric city (have you guys ever tried to relieve yourself while holding your nose? Tried doing that here ...)

Anyways, in short, neither did I see Las Vegas (I am lying, I checked out the RRs in Bally's, MGM Grand and Stratosphere) nor did I see Grand Canyon (the tour guide gave us 1 hour to see Grand Canyon and the RR line was longer than the Golden Gate bridge! So I had to make a tough decision between, whether I want to see GC or whether I wanna relieve myself. I bet you figured out what I did :P)

But the optimist in me refuses to die. I finally decided, I can be a RR critic. I have read columns by food critics, and lonely planet's guides to "Places to see in Las Vegas". But I bet no one has ever written "A guide to the best Restrooms in Las Vegas". I think I am gonna en cash on my idea and put my experience to every one's use. But since you are my loyal readers, I will give you the advice for free :P. I found the one in Bally's to be the best. Can you imagine a men's restroom complete with a fresh towel for everyone who uses it, and also a cologne to spray on? Wow, that's a nice way to attract visitors :) !!

Jokes apart, from my personal experience I would like to warn everyone that, "never ever go on a bus tour, if you wanna enjoy your vacation!". Bus tours just let you take photos of all destinations but they don't let you assimilate it :) !!

Upcoming blog ... the difference between a restroom, washroom and a toilet.. so read on...

Happy New Year

Hiya there! Just thought I wish you all a happy new year 2007. To ring out the old and bring in the new, I thought I change my blog design for 2007. So here is a redesigned layout to help you to sleep when you read my blog. Those of you who use RSS readers, I don't think you ever noticed my template, so no change for you :)

This is probably my first new year where I have kept no resolutions at all. And I am proud of it cause if there are no resolutions, you are not gonna be worried about not keeping them :) !! So I decided to take the year as it comes, starting with no alarm to wake up today morning :) !!