Introduction: For all the non Indians reading this post (highly doubtful that given that this blog has only 3 readers and I know all three of them) it is imperative that I provide a snapshot of how Indians view the rest of the country. North Indians seem to have not the best of impressions about south Indians (also known as Madrasis to them) and do an excellent job of stereotyping them (negatively of course). South Indians in turn do their best to return the favour. In kind. But not too kindly.
Of course you might wonder what about the other 2 directions - East and West? Well, the only thing about west India that these two sets of people know is Bombay and the infamous Narendra Modi. East India, well noone really cares about east India least of all the Indian government which probably thinks its part of the next country.
And while an instant and fleeting claim to blogging fame can be mine for the taking if I launch into a scathing attack on my brothers and sisters from the northern half of this glorious country (cough cough letter to Delhi boy cough cough) I will not be traversing that path today. All because I have some not so flattering things to say about the wonderful people in Madras.
The 2 words are forever on the lips of every north Indian (for no apparent reason) that pays to visit to what actually is a glorious city. A city drenched in history and culture, arts and sports, education and corruption. Each time I have heard these sacrilegious twin words been uttered by my friends (and foes) from the other side of the country, I have faithfully told them that the city isnt half as bad as they make it out to be and given an open mind (I'm not being sarcastic here ... I swear!) they probably would like the place. Of course my comments have always fallen on deaf ears but that has never stopped me from trying to help eliminate the racial stereotype that everyone is fond of nurturing. Until 3 days ago that is.
3 days ago all hell broke loose. I had driven down to Madras from Bangalore and had thoroughly enjoyed the 300+ kms of blissful highway driving with my able companion from Fiat. My happiness however came to a screeching halt as things took a surprising turn for the worse once I entered city limits. Suddenly all sorts of maniacs on two wheels and four continuously kept hurtling towards me from all directions while seemingly defying the laws of physics (Rajinikanth shtyle). It was almost as though they all wanted a piece of me or my Fiat and I had to do my level best to avoid contact with all of them.
As I drove into the heart of the city it grew worse. It was almost like going deeper and deeper into a cancer that relentlessly keeps enveloping you whatever you do. I am not the religious sort but I certainly did send up a ton of prayers over the two days I was driving around that forsaken town. There were at least half a dozen times I thought I was certain to run over someone who had just cut across my car with scant regard to his life and limbs. The best part is almost all the people riding bikes were doing it without a helmet so death is but a heartbeat away for them.
Driving through peak Saturday night traffic was the probably the worst driving experience I have ever had as my heart was perpetually in my mouth. The idiots truly are homicidal, suicidal and genocidal (trademark Sabu) and it took all of my driving skill and the blessings from the man up there to keep me, the people in my car and my set of wheels safe and sound. I certainly don't like to swear but two words were perpetually at my lips while I was behind the wheel - Bloody Madrasis ....