Wednesday, August 27, 2008

LakeView or Bust

My nephew summarized the events of last night succinctly. "If we had this kind of determination in sports, we would all have more gold medals than Phelps".

With that opening, let me unravel an unnecessary adventure we went through.

The evening started innocuously enough with us visiting the homes of our cousins for Janmashtami. As luck would have it, the critical mass for the late night dessert trip took its ominous shape and unwilling the fight the hand of destiny, we acquiesced and proceeded towards LakeView for ice-cream in two cars.

The fuel gauge in my car showing a huge (negative) gap between the needle and the 'Empty' mark notwithstanding, we set out merrily in the heavy downpour. I was very confident that I could fill fuel on the way. Let us call this Mistake #1. The first petrol station we came across was closed. Well, duh! It was 11:30 p.m. and they close at 11.

Undaunted, we proceeded towards M.G. Road, some 10 km away. One more obstacle here. The double road was under 2 feet of water. A few cabs and bigger vehicles braved the water and forged ahead but the risks outweighed the dessert cravings for a bit here.

We made an elaborate U-turn on the one-way street amidst much honking, cursing and good natured ribaldry amongst our co-drivers who for some obscure reason were also driving around at this ungodly hour.

Next we attempted a different route to our destination. We shall officially peg this as Mistake #2. Any other normal human being would have thrown in the hat (into the fast rising water on the road) and gone home. But no! We are made of sterner stuff.

We continued along twists and turns of small streets and again ended up before a neat little reservoir on the road. A cursory glance at the Maruti Swift sailing effortlessly ahead told us all we needed to know. One more U-turn and by this time a strange sense of reasoning prevailed across the two automobiles and a consensus was reached to head home.

The fuel situation, meanwhile, continued to look grim and the weather gods continued to savage us with gale force rains. Just when I thought we might make it to a 24 hour petrol station, a sickening grinding sound dispelled any such notions. We had a flat!

At this point, the wife, one usually given to outbursts of humungus proportions when faced with adversity, broke out into hysterical peals of laughter. In a confined space, with rain pouring buckets outside, take it from me that this is not an enjoyable experience.

Luckily for us, our two nephews who would do any F-1 pit crew proud, jumped down and started changing the tire while the wife and I valiantly held aloft umbrellas successfully drenching both my nephews.

We sent the other car with an empty Coke bottle to get us some fuel.

Finishing the tire change in record time (about 4 minutes 37:22 seconds), one of my nephews said we should drive on. Mistake #3.

The other car and ours slowly increased our distance apart and with the threat of an empty tank looming, we jovially drove on...somewhere... My nephew was furiously trying to give landmarks to the other car and in the confusion even managed to ask how to give the cemetry as a landmark.

Putting a stop to the madness, we finally halted and guided the other car towards us.

We now move a little back in time to the happenings in the car (the fueled one and the one to bring us fuel).

After leaving us to our own devices, the other car moved at breakneck speed to get us the fuel. At a gas station, my nephew's friend started engaging the staff in a saga of epic proportions with intense melodrama involving hungry and crying kids stranded in the rain. The recepient, obviously a stalwart of such ocassions seemed unperturbed and wordlessly pointed to an oil shop nearby. Again, before my nephew could protest and just ask for an empty can, his friend broke out into the Darfur children mode. The man, without breaking a sweat and apparently ignoring the tragic tale, emptied a can and handed it to them.

With a 5 liter can of petrol, they journeyed to intercept us on our travels without petrol. For some unfathomable reason, my nephew hugged the can of petrol in the back seat, nearly knocking out the occupants with the heady intoxication of gas fumes.

At half past midnight, on the 27th of August, in torrents of rain, a Stanley and Livingstone like meeting occurred in the hallowed streets of Hosur Road (heading towards St Marks Road). With our auto suitably sated and after letting the other car go home, we of the indomitable spirit did attain our original objective.

Circa 1 a.m., we touched down at LakeView just as they were closing and ensured (one look at us and they knew we weren't leaving without ice-creams) that we all got huge scoops of ice-cream (mine was ButterScotch Cake with Fudge) and tore into them with abandon.

Like I said, the never say die attitude our family so proudly possesses helped us attain salvation and justified our
Raison d'ĂȘtre.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Technicolor dreams

Of late, I've been getting a lot of dreams. Not just at night mind you. Even when I take an afternoon nap, even if it's for 30 minutes. I'll keep updating my blog with these vivid picturizations that are beamed to me in surprising regularity because I think they're really cool dreams! Disturbing and meaningless no doubt, but cool!

The little boy
It's night and I'm looking up to the top of a bus where a guy is holding a 2 year old boy. My wife is in a hurry to leave for some reason but I really want to get that kid. The guys throws the kid from the top of the bus. I miss but the child falls safely next to my outstretched arms. I pick him up. Apparently he's Afghan. Fully padded up with woolen shawls and sweaters and socks; a really plump and fair kid with bright red cheeks. I am determined that I will adopt him and as I pick him up and hold him I start to cry uncontrollably.

The Chase
A long winding road in the middle of nowhere. I am stuck behind a slew of vehicles and getting very impatient. I need to catch up with a big Mobile Home that is a little ahead but making good progress as the traffic has cleared there. I decide that it's faster for me to run across the grassy plains and hills and intercept the vehicle that way. My only worry is the packet of yoghurt I have to leave behind in my car. Okay, I told you this was meaningless!

Anyway, I start running across dried grass fields and reach some farm houses. Strangely, there is no one anywhere other than the long line of cars on the road. I hear dogs barking in the yard but still see nothing. I also hear the sound of TVs and voices and start to fear that these folk are kind of the evil dead or something. I run past the houses and barns and finally come to steep mud incline which I need to climb to get to the road. A big brawny guy is already climbing the slope with little success. A guy in a military suit appears next to me as I try to climb. A gun shot rings out. The brawny guy is shot in the leg. I hurriedly climb down. The military guy (I think he's a general) walks past me with the chilling words 'You're already dead' and calmly fires another shot into my injured climbing companion. I am then escorted into a prison.

A wedding in Chennai

It's been a while since we had a massive wedding on the wife's side of the family. This one was especially important as it was the...