Monday, April 17, 2006

Trying Out The Beast

Though Assam produces helluva lot of tea, the largest consumption is attributed to Gujarat. No wonder then, I get this tea craving every hour. So when the next attack came, I sneaked right outside the factory, and walked into a shabby little dhaba [a lean-to sort of teashop]. There were six or seven guys, mostly unwashed urchins, catering to only three customers. These top-heavy management type dhabas entail long delays. Everybody thinks somebody is helping the guy at the first table, poring laboriously over the tattered Tamil newspaper. No one moves till the lone customer gets really restless, and makes the right noises. Got my super-syrupy tea, fearing my blood sugar will hit the ceiling -what the heck, I slurped right down to last dregs. Almost everyone can speak English in Chennai, and when the urchins fail to catch your accent, there is always a kindly soul around who not only intervenes, but ensures that your about-to-be-shaken-up faith in humanity is gloriously restored. More of that Good Samaritan stuff later.

I was to take the tomato red Tata Sierra for a spin, as the boss suggested to get used to it before plunging into the suicidal traffic that chokes the Ambattur Industrial Estate on almost every road, right up to Anna Nagar. He had ominously added, 'Before the traffic starts'. Yes indeed around six thirty in the evening all hell breaks loose here. Nasty surprises awaited me round the corner. Armed with a sandfilled sock in their hands.

If I do not descibe my on-going struggles with The Beast, my blog would remain a mere 2-D skeletal caricature of real life. So lets see how the situation developed. After getting the keys to the sinister looking SUV, I went and rather confidently opened the door. I climbed into the high seat, nearly several inches higher than all the cars I have driven so far. I figured out the controls, and the auto-winding feature of the windows was working all right. The stuffy air moved out. The indicators were all lit up at the dashboard on turning the ignition key, and there were two keys to fox me. The smaller one was the turning ON key, whilst the big one was the real ignition key. However the battery seemed dead, for the car made no noise on giving ignition.

Manikandan, the man for all seasons, who had been helping me in house hunting, materialized from nowhere. How he senses someone is facing trouble anywhere in the office or the factory , and how he turns up at the right time everytime is a blessed mystery. He is a shadowy entity, lurking everywhere all the time. He reminds me of Arthur C. Clarke's tiny automatons that keep flying in the air, turning up to help the hero or heroine in distress. After materializing, he asks all the right questions, provides all the right solutions, in a jiffy. An amazing Man Friday for me.

I had already figured out most things before the apparition arrived. The battery seemed dead, I indicated to him. The thought that The Beast will roar into life any morment, casused a bunch of butterflies dancing in my tummy orgiastically. The vehicle is a truck in car's clothing, I reminded myself, for the controls seemed very hard indeed. I sat wondering, whilst M/n fiddled with the car, that driving a huge vehicle is double-edged problem : (a) it takes a long time to spatially absorb its size i.e. how wide and long the damned thing is, and (b) you have to wrestle with it physically. Little wonder then, having wrestled with the Sierra, next day I found my legs and thighs cramped and aching.

A lot of coaxing was required before The Beast could roar to life.


At 8:51 AM, Blogger Harish said...

Come home for the coffee or the chai. i know i did promise you one the last time around.

Good to see chennai on the blog with your perspective. Lay off the autos, they are a big No-No.

Call me if you have problems or difficulty with anything.
You have my number.


At 5:18 PM, Blogger david raphael israel said...


I would humbly but fervently suggest you request sugarless chai. I have requested such a thing in dhabas and been accommodated. Once with sugar, may be one thing; but if this were to become regular, that would be another. Perhaps you can find a nice regular dhaba where this eccentricy can be humored. After all, they're saving on sugar!

-- advice from the peanut gallery.

At 7:13 AM, Blogger raindanseuse said...

"If I do not descibe my on-going struggles with The Beast, my blog would remain a mere 2-D skeletal caricature of real life."

You're really getting the hang of this thing eh?

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Max Babi said...

Harish, you dear fellow, either I have problems with everything or nothing, depends on how I look at it. But I am enjoying the immense peace of mind that a dead cellphone can give...I had 460 pals after my life, so it is bliss bliss bliss now. Tks a lot.
Keep watching this space.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Max Babi said...

hey sonia,

you surprised me, been lurking here without commenting, eh?
Yeah got a hang of this all right.
Keep watching this space,I am having super fun...

At 7:57 AM, Blogger Max Babi said...

That problem lasted one day, from the next day the same dhaba has been sending me sugarless tea thru the same voodoo boy.
Life is easing up.
Tks for keeping track.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger vidyanjali said...

Enjoyed reading this piece! :)


Post a Comment

<< Home