Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Driving Through a Postcard


Rains. Wetness. Wheels. Have you ever driven through a postcard? It happens in Goa.

On my way to work I can't help savouring the breathtaking scenery I drive through. Having worked elsewhere away from Goa before this, driving in the rains in Goa is a true return to paradise – a return to the roots. Literally.

My sturdy and stylish (if I may say so) i10 seems to enjoy the driving too. On the way we do pick up colleagues and friends going our way. Some, it has to be said, say their prayers enroute, so that nothing untoward will happen before we reach our destination. Recently, after the feast of St Christopher – the patron saint of travelers – on 25th July, dad pressed into my hand a prayer to the saint on a glazed card which I keep on the dash.

The devotion is well-intentioned. On the last occasion we tweaked the ears of some cows - 'brake inspectors' dad calls them - who decided to cross the road with bovine somnolence when we were doing 70. I have often pondered whether a journey on a slow train is preferable to one on a fast train. I learnt that I enjoy the journey better if it is completed swiftly with a flourish, rather than negotiating paths which stretch like a ‘tedious argument’ (T.S. Eliot). Same thing with cars.

But seriously, where does one get unfettered roads to ride on, with lush greenery on either side, and the rain gods in a belligerent mood? Earlier we played with boats now we move in cars, in the rain. Paddy being sown in the rainy months, the hues of green, the bounty of nature . . . Goa has it all.

In the monsoons you see two-wheeler riders gallantly braving the rain with a puny umbrella held precariously by the pillion rider over both of them. Given some respite from the downpour, and no doubt chastened by it, they can be seen pulling over by the side for a well-deserved leak. You can see tow-away mini-trucks pulling along once brand-new vehicles, now hopelessly bashed up. The last one I saw was a jet black Scorpio being strung along like a squirrel. What ignominy! What’s the point of all that bravado if you end up sans your front teeth? Where there has been a fresh accident nincompoops who have nothing else to do will stop their vehicles at the accident site for a ringside view - and hold up traffic behind them!

Goa traffic police issued a special ad cautioning vehicle owners who drive in the rains. Basic things like using the indicator light a short distance away before turning; driving slowly in the rain, and avoiding splashing pedestrians with puddled water are useful tips to follow while driving.

Yes, driving in the rain is a rare gift, to be enjoyed responsibly. For at home someone waits for you. Drive slowly through the slate of grey. May the patter of dew drops be your benediction ushering you to your destination.

Drive (cautiously) through the postcard -- it's better than ending up as a photograph on the wall. Happy driving. Safe driving.
This article was published in Navhind Times, Panjim, Buzz supplement on 24 August 2012.
Pix courtesy:  indianautosblog. 

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