21 June, 2006


Resorts seem to be the popular choice of the corporate world for a relaxing weekend. After eliminating Club Cabana, Logica’s FS-ILOB unit decided to go to ‘Talakadu -- Jaladhama’on 10th June 2006. A maxi cab and a Swaraj mazda were arranged to pick up the picnickers from two different locations in the city. Swaraj Mazda was to start from Technopolis and the maxi cab from Koramangala. I was to board the Swaraj Mazda at Doordarshan Kendra as early as 6:30 AM.

6:15 AM: Dad dropped me at the pickup point. I waited patiently for the cab.
6:30 AM: No sign of the cab. I tried calling the driver but the mobile was switched off. I then called Sriram and he asked me to wait for another few minutes as the driver could have been delayed.
6:45 AM: I began to worry that the driver might have forgotten. A few joggers gave me a quizzical look. Some of them were probably surprised to see me standing in a bus stop but not boarding any bus that stopped there. I began feeling uneasy when a couple of guys slowed down and one of them even whistled. I gave them a real bad stare and they jogged off. I then began walking up and down the foot path.
6:50AM: I got tired of waiting and called up Ajoy and Sriram trying to find out if they knew the whereabouts of the cab. They seemed to be unaware of it too.
7:16 AM: Rajesh called me to inform that he would go to Technopolis and find out if the cab had reached the office.
7:21AM: I called Rajesh to find out if he had reached the office and if the Cab had too. But he probably was driving and he didn’t receive the call.
7:30AM: Sriram called me to find out if the cab had picked me up. When I informed him, the cab wasn’t there yet, he said he would call up Ajoy and find out what could be done. I then called Ajoy and informed him that I would return home as it wasn’t feasible to board the cab from any of the other two locations. One was about 21Kms from my house and the other was about 16 Kms. Getting an auto at that wee hours in the morning was difficult. But Ajoy insisted that I should try and make it to one of the pickup points.
7:33AM: Rajesh called me and informed that the cab had reached Technopolis and the driver had forgotten to pick me. I was now really furious and I asked the driver if it was possible to pick me from any other point. He informed me that he couldn’t.
7:38 AM: Sriram called me and asked if it was possible to reach some place that would be convenient for the maxi cab driver to pick me up from. The only place I could get an auto to was Shivajinagar. Sriram suggested that I take one auto to Shivajinagar and then another one to M.G.Road and try and meet them there. I finally took an auto to M.G.Road and since the streets were literally empty, it being a Saturday, I reached M.G.Road in just a few minutes.
7:51AM: I boarded the cab I was finally on the way to Talakadu!

The only familiar people were Ajoy, Sriram, Noreen and her son Jaden. I hadn’t seen the other people in the office. Since Sriram and Ajoy had updated everybody how the driver had forgotten to pick me, most of them empathized with me. There was a pretty girl sitting beside a window and she seemed to be genuinely concerned. She told me to give the driver a piece of my mind when I met him at the resort. Then another man sitting beside her introduced himself as Srinath and the pretty girl as his wife Sneha. There were three other guys I still didn’t know. We took the fly-over near Town hall and reached BEML. Here Sundaresan and his son Aravindakshan boarded our cab. Then we waited for the other cab. When the other cab finally arrived, we realized that there were two other people who hadn’t been picked up yet. Few guys in our cab took this opportunity to get the crate with beer cans that was in the other cab. We continued our journey towards Thalakadu and the other cab took a U-turn and went back towards Vijayanagar to pick up the two guys.

We began talking and I slowly got to know the other guys in the cab. One was Karthik and the other was Suraj. I still didn’t know the name of the third guy. Sneha seemed to know them all and it didn’t take me long to understand that they were all staying together in Finland for a few months.

We crossed BEML factory, Raja Rajeshwari nagar, Bidadi and Wonderla. A reckless station-wagon driver tried to overtake our vehicle from the wrong side. The driver of our cab got irritated and he tried to block the road and prevent the driver of the station-wagon from over taking us. I am almost certain that the driver of the station wagon was a North Indian. His features were Aryan. He managed to overtake few other vehicles and sped past us.

A few meters beyond Rajarajeshwari hospital, we were held up in a traffic jam. One side of the road was blocked probably for repair work and the vehicles had to ply on just one lane. Some thoughtless drivers had blocked the path of the oncoming vehicles and there was absolutely no way that vehicles on either side could move. Ajoy by then spotted the station wagon that had over taken us a few minutes ago. The driver had not only blocked the road by his senseless driving but was also beckoning to his friends to move further up the road. Sneha put her had out of the window and started waving to the other vehicles that had piled up behind our cab and informing the drivers not to overtake us. Fortunately the drivers listened to Sneha and they didn’t try to drive past us.

We passed Tavarekere [pond of lotus] on the way. Like the name suggests, it is a pond covered with lotus. I could only spot the white lotus. I am not sure if there were any, of other color. We wanted to stop by at Maddur to eat the maddur vadas. But we decided to stop on the way back as we were getting late . The good tar roads gave way to the mud roads and towards the last bit of the journey; there were only pot holes and no roads. The driver did a commendable job at driving us into and out of the pot holes. The speed at which he drove the vehicle made me wonder why he wasn’t a professional Formula 1 racer?!

No comments: