Monday, November 09, 2009

Fluid City!

The city of Bangalore must be in a fluid state. Yes, yes. I have never seen a mobile lamppost either. But nothing else could explain, the phenomenon I am about to narrate.

It was way past lunch time and I was out to meet a friend. Since I had kept her waiting for long enough, I thought I’d pick a place closer to her workplace to make it up. And hence I chose Frazer Town. Now the fact that Savoury, the Mallu place that serves Arabic food, was located in the neighbourhood had nothing to do with it. I let quite a few autorickshaws pass by until the one with the apparently flawless digital meter came along.

The driver demanded only the directions and not the customary “20 rupeees extraa saar!” Agreeing, I jumped in happily. Surprisingly, he did not complain about the traffic, the roads or my smoking as we drove through all of the aforementioned. He threw a grimace at me through the rear-view mirror for the latter though. I reached my destination in 20 minutes. I paid him Rs. 42. Now that would make it a 6-km-ride considering the exorbitant Rs.7 per kilometer rates in the city. I paid him Rs. 45. A tip for honesty.

I finished a quick lunch, made faster by my veggie friend who clearly did not enjoy my gorging on the mutton liver. The first autorickshaw that greeted me outside the restaurant had a brand new digital meter neatly perched atop the iron bar behind the driver’s seat. Wow, I exclaimed! Without even managing a proper good bye, I hopped into the auto. I took the same road back, eliminating a few possible short cuts I had in mind. 42 was indeed a reasonable amount of money. Ignoring the generally reliable digital meter, I dedicated my full concentration to enjoying the beautiful things on the road – mainly feminine.

There was nothing general or nothing reliable about the digital meter when I reached my office. Rs. 63.50!!! That was a little over 9 kilometers. Now, how do you explain that? If the places and the roads were in a static, solid state, where did these three kilometers come from? I did not see a large chunk of land or a wriggling piece of road fall from the sky (If it had fallen while I was eating, I would have heard the thud). Did it emerge from beneath? There was no one from the media in sight. So, let us eliminate that possibility as well. Nor do I remember him taking a large deviation across the Great Wall of China. Then how? The only possibility is the one I mentioned in the first paragraph. About the city being in a fluid state; where Langford road and Frazer town are located on a fluid and flexible surface that keeps expanding and at times contracting, leading to the fluctuation of distances between two points. Or, by wild stretch of imagination, it could be that the meter in the second autorickshaw was rigged. Now that would be a ridiculous assumption, wouldn’t it be?

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