After so many years of driving in India, this is the first time I did a solo long journey. Last Saturday I drove from Bangalore to Coimbatore on my own, non-stop for a total of 6 hours averaging at 70kmph.
I was a little apprehensive about it when I had planned it , because I haven’t done something like that before and I wasn’t sure how to handle any problems in my car, if that happens. But then I did not find an alternative option to leave my car with my sister, now that I ain’t using it anymore.
I started at around 8.45 am after a couple of eggs as breakfast. I decided to stop somewhere if I felt hungry. But then I just kept driving on and on and when I felt hunger I was close to my home town. So decided to just get there and have my lunch.
I have always enjoyed driving. But driving on my own with just me and my thoughts and my songs, and sometimes the lack of it, it’s like a meditative process. I loved it. I had a good old playlist which has always helped me with my driving and I used it this time too. I thought that after a non stop drive like that I would be sore. Thankfully a couple of stretches helped me with my stiffness. Now that I have done that I am a little bit more confident about my driving. And my good old car supported me like a champ that it is.
I admit I love driving and giving up that control to a driverless car is a lot scarier for me. But if it helps in the overall improvement of our traffic system and a smooth flow of vehicles around, not to mention lesser accidents, I think I can learn to overcome my fears 🙂
This video by Tesla, titled “Full Self-Driving Hardware on All Teslas” is very cool.
I wonder, what would happen in cities like Bangalore, where it is almost always bumper to bumper traffic. How will these cars react? Will they get frustrated and after a while of bad traffic and dealing with people with almost zero common sense or should I say road sense, will these engines just change themselves into Transformers and start walking over people? or will they self destruct because of the pressure? What happens if any of these hardware malfunctions? or if someone hacks into these systems and corrupt them and instead of going forwards they start driving in reverse?
Recently while driving through Hosur Road, Bangalore, we saw a cab which had the logo of WOW on it. It was driven by a woman. You don’t generally see many cabs driven by women. It had a pink symbol on it. But I couldn’t see very clearly what it was. And after that I totally forgot about it until today when the word WOW popped on my mind. I know of a WOW club which stands for Women of Wanderlust group where tours (both national and international) are organized for and by women. I assumed this one with the cab must be something related to wheels. And the search led me to Women on Wheels group, where cabs are run by women for women. In a place where sometimes women in cabs (driven by men) are being raped or being asked for sexual favors instead of payment is very prominent, this is a big deal. But I don’t know if many women know about this at all. Since I don’t read newspapers anymore I am not sure if there are ads taken out for these cabs. I know that they don’t show up when you search for cabs in your local area. I hope they become more popular and they get more support from women. My friends used to mock that if I am ever out of a job, I can be a good cab driver. Now, I know a group which would take me in 😉 I will definitely try them out next time I take a cab.
My office car parking isn’t all that great. But there are three levels (including the ground level) and I usually park my car on the first level where one section has double parking in it. And I happened to park there because it is closer to the lift and easy to park too. The ‘request’ that is put up by the security team in a small paper that is glued to the wall for those people who end up double parking behind a car to leave their keys with the security/driver so that in case of need they can move the cars and not trouble the owner/drivers.
Day before yesterday I wanted to leave home a bit early because it was getting very cloudy and it looked like it was going to rain very heavily and I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic for hours when that happened. So I go to the parking lot by 4.15 pm and I see a car parked behind mine. No other cars are double parked else where. Just that one car behind my car. Just My luck (no, not the movie title!) I check with security to get them to move the car. He goes and checks and comes back to tell me that the owner/driver of that car hasn’t left the keys with them. WTH. OK! (deep breathing) I asked him to find the employee to whom the car belongs to (they should have a database even though I wasn’t very sure of it. The last time I had registered my vehicle with their system was around 5 years ago) and he says ‘no, maam. There is no such database anymore.’ OK! (shallow breaths) I asked him to get the facilities team manager or the security manager pronto. I have never ever raised my voice with service people, because most of the time they try their best to do their duty and are often the scapegoats for the mismanagement from the higher officials. When the facilities and security manager (both of them in fact) turned up, I explained them my situation and asked them to figure out a way to get my car out. I was packed on three sides by cars and by wall on the other side.
They tried to figure out the owner of the car using the registration number but ended up nowhere. It was registered in a name that wasn’t in the employee database. I was rolling my eyes. Did they really think that everyone uses cars that were registered in their own names? Hell, I have been using a car which was in my dad’s name for almost 5 years now. After me pestering them and them finding no other way, they made an announcment in the system used only for emergencies asking the owner / driver of the car to come to the parking lot immediately. It was already half an hour past by then. We then waited for 15-20 mins more. No response. They were fiddling their thumbs and thinking what to do next. I was all for reversing my car with full force and hitting the double parked car and damaging it. I would have done that if I didn’t have so many witnesses. I even asked them if they would look the other way round if I did that 😉 One guy told me that it would be futile because the hand brakes were on and that stunt would end up damaging my car more than anything.
Then they sent an email to the list which has all the employees registered in it. No response either. A couple of employees came down to check out what the deal was that made these people announce and send an email. It was already 45 mins past then. Finally, when it was close to an hour, everyone lost their patience and they were getting the scale and screwdriver to open the window or call the towing service to tow the car. They got their tools and were about to try and remove the beading on the window, when the owner of the car next to mine came down, looked at us and hurriedly took out his car. Now the car to my right was moved out and I had enough space to take mine out by squeezing it in. It was a tough one and took a lot of manoeuvering but finally we all did it. It was more than an quarter and an hour by then. Yet still we couldn’t figure out the owner of the double parked car.
I came home after struggling through the peak time traffic, which was my purpose of starting home early and wrote a very strong email to the management about the loop hole in their system for managing situations like this and the fact that this was the second time I was facing this, except that this time it was more than an hour of everyone’s time that was wasted. All because of one idiot who did not have the common sense to leave the keys or his number with the security and didn’t bother to respond to the calls/emails. I wanted to write “Shame!” using a marker on his car, but unfortunately none was available with anyone at that time.