Wednesday, October 28, 2009


One of the more interesting activities I do while I am in kerala is hitchhiking. I only do this for short distance say from the town to my village etc. This saves money and unnecessary time wasted waiting for a bus and autos here are swindling in their rates. so here are few rules and conditions to enjoy this.

Rule 1: only ask for hitchhike from a 2 wheeler.

This is because in the off the chance the person offering the ride has nefarious purpose, he cant do much while he is riding the bike and the intended victim is sitting behind him and can do more damage or harm to him than vice versa. So in such cases the danger is to the driver. This is of course not an invitation to you all to do something to the poor soul who gave you a ride. Besides this advantage, a bike is something you can also disembark easier from than car in case of trouble (easy to do if you have practice ). Also riding pillion on a bike allows you to enjoy the scenery more.

Another added advantage is also the fact that since the driver is facing forward and you are behind him, there is less possibility of intrusive conversations taking place. (since most people need to see each other while having conversations)
Also in the event of the driver just leading you off in the wrong way and at a high speed, you can easily from behind him, reach and apply the brakes. He can’t do much since he is concentrating on the driving.

So only ask for a lift from a 2 wheeler

Rule 2: know your path somewhat

This is simply because when somebody stops and ask where you wanna go, you should not pass off the impression that you have no idea of the route and the location. A sound knowledge besides preventing scorn would also discourage any potential kidnappers.

Rule 3: always have a back up plan

This usually involve the presence of a normal transport bus that may be plying on the way or an auto. But admittedly, I myself have hitchhiked a lot of time where neither of this were available.

Condition 1: be ready to walk in case no rides
This is the basic premise. You may not get a ride and you should be ready to walk out the few kilometers you were hoping to get a ride. So its best to carry along something to drink and music.

Condition 2: only do it when you have time.
If you don’t, you are desperate and you make mistakes and end up taking the wrong ride with the wrong person.

Condition 3: be ready to do tandem hitchhikes’
You may not get the lift all the way, so you may have to take one half way and another rest of the way. It may even take 3 lifts. I say all the more fun.

So with these rules and conditions in mind, I wish you all happy hitchhiking.

Friday, October 23, 2009

KERALA DIARIES: On my way to Cochin

Early morning I got up and decided to go to Cochin to get some work done. During the bus ride to Cochin, one passenger in the bus started making an issue about the price of the ticket.

His argument was that the ticket was overpriced by ‘2’ rupees and the justification offered by the bus conductor that the price was more since it was limited stop fast passenger bus doesn’t hold. Now I am not sure about the strength or validity of his argument or the bus conductors, but I believe once you made your point no need to repeat it. But this passenger was constantly grumbling about the ‘injustice’ by the ‘money squeezing’ bus devils against common folks. The fact that his constant badgering of the bus people was irritating other common folks around him doesn’t seem to bother him. Rather I think their so called ‘apathy’ was infuriating him.

Another thing I never get about these constant whiners – if he doesn’t like the service of the bus why does he choose to continue traveling in the bus. He can always disembark and take a much non greedy bus folks. I guess he felt it was his solemn duty to grumble in face of such ‘injustice’.

I guess there was some benefit of his whining. The conductor decided to give him back his all so precious 2 rupees. But at this point the rupees had become a symbol of oppression, because he didn’t stop even after then. He just continued to grumble and even more fervently in my opinion.

In the end it was one of the common folk fellow passenger who got bugged and told him to shut up. But oh my!! That fellow became a conspirator to the bus folks. This made our fellow passenger bugged and no uncertain terms made it clear that fellow ought to shut up or else.

I couldn’t of course catch the or else part as my stop arrived. But the entire experience reinforced one of my many observations – never a dull moment in public transportation.

Friday, October 16, 2009

KERALA DAIRIES: The need to chat!!

It has been two weeks since i am back in Kerala - My home state.
Most of the time i spend cooped up in my own house, happily involved in doing stuff that requires minimum interaction with people.

But when i do have interactions, there are times with it is taxing, embarrassing, irritating etc. Though once in a while there can be situations when it is amusing.

Couple of days ago,I was returning from a trip into town and i decided to have the bike of mine washed at a service station.

As it was being serviced, i had to wait.
The owner of the establishment meantime decided to strike up a conversation with me.
In that half an hour of waiting he basically coaxed out of me, where is my village, where i worked, how long i worked there.
Once he learned i was in mumbai, he commented on his few years in mumbai and how a fast life it is over there.

This is an instance of a taxing conversation. I did not want to talk. I was happy watching wash the bike.

But the amusing instance comes next.

Post the washing, i took the bike and headed to fill it up with petrol.
Situation is , i was having a slight diffculty in balancing a bottle of coke i was having while riding the bike, so when i coasted to a stop at the pump, the coke bottle fell down. the lady at the pump with a laugh handed it back to me.

As i was struggling to open the fuel cap with the key, the lady attending started telling a story of a drunk customer who too seemed to have a difficulty opening his cap.
She went on to comment on how scared she was and how she is scared of drunks and mad people.

All this while i was under the assumption, she was talking to her fellow employees but when i looked up , i realized she was talking with me.
I couldn't understand ,if in that nano second of returning back my bottle we had made some connection and she felt the need to tell me her phobias of drunk and mentally ill people.

As i drove away from the pump i realized, it wasn't a connection. she was just using the story to get me to open fast the damn cap i was struggling with and that i was acting like a drunk.
Coming to think of it, she might have probably thought, the bottle of coke was actually booze.
(a trick used by booze loving expatriates in gulf countries)

Needless to say , i have decided to use such encounters to see the amusing side of peoples need to interact

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I am now at a point in my life,
were everything would lead to strife.

I have to now choose,
if i ever want to be loose.

I am so scared of the decision,
never free of the tension.

I want to be free,
to live life carefree.