Sunday, November 08, 2009


I want a Humvee. Or an armoured personnel carrier. A small one would do. Say, about 6 tons of hard angry vehicle. With the Mother of all Snow Ploughs welded on in front. And then I would drive it around. In Calcutta. WHOOSSHH around the roundabouts. And KERR-RUNCCCHHH into all the bloody taxis and buses and call-centre cars that dawdle around corners picking up passengers or waiting for them. Oh, the mangled metal. The GORE. The bruised bleeding bits of morons who can’t walk 20 steps to a bus-stop. The crash bang tinkle of Moron Mobiles slowly falling to bits. The surrrr-THWUM-budda-budda-budda as the occasional tyre flies off, bounces twice, rolls a few yards, wobbles and then settles onto its side.

And then I would raise the hatch and peer out, blink in a surprised manner, and say “Oh dear, are you HURT? I’m SO sorry, but I never expected anyone to Be Parked on a CORNER.”

And then I would reverse my 6 tons of armour for a bit and then RUN IT INTO THEM AGAIN. AhahahahahHAHA. The joy. The JOY! Take THAT you STUPID SUCKERS!

The morons will still win, of course. Because now all these bleeding-heart empty-skullcase do-gooders are building bus shelters. ON THE CORNERS. The Motor Vehicles Act states clearly that no vehicle should stop within 30 feet of an intersection. Of course, neither the municipal authorities nor the police are bothered about such minutiae. Some Votary Club or Loins International or Mewa Bal will start to raise money for cancer research, find they’re stuck at Rs. 23,109 (and 37 paise, that will clear up the little accounting error that the Chapter President’s nephew left in the books the year we let him loose on the audit). And they’ll say, you know what, this much money will do zip for cancer research, let’s build a bus shelter instead. Right slap bang on a corner, of course.

Which is why a Humvee wouldn’t do, no sir. It has to be the armoured vehicle. Which I can drive STRAIGHT OVER the Bus Shelter on the Corner, oh, I love the crunch of concrete in the mo-o-orning, and bowl away merrily playing “Kashmir”. Over the loudhailer. Of course there has to be a loudhailer. And a horn that sounds like the crack of doom. Oooohhh yerrsss. The horn is very important. VERY. You know why?

Because at 8 a.m. every morning, outside my daughter’s school, there will be 5248 cars all trying to get Right to the Gate before dropping off their little darlings. And ALL of them will be honking away because of course each one of them thinks HE is the only one in a hurry, why on EARTH would anybody stop in front of MY car, can’t they see How Important I Am?! What? Schools and hospitals are supposed to be SILENCE zones? Who the hell reads all that fine print?
Which is why, from my Armoured Vehicle with a Humongous Horn, I shall pull the Honker Version of Crocodile Dundee. (Remember that scene with the mugger where he looks in pity at the mugger’s knife, then pulls out a young scimitar about 37 feet long and says “You call that a knife? THIS is a knife!”)

So I shall wait till EVERYbody’s honking and then Lean on the Special Horn. At about 240 decibels. And after the glass has fallen out of all the car windows and the tyres have imploded and the morons’ eyeballs have stopped bouncing on their stalks, when there is a Sudden Silence broken only by the soft susurration of mortar running off the buildings, I shall switch on my loudhailer. And murmur into it, in a Voice of Quiet Menace – imagine Alan Rickman trying to be nice in “Die Hard” – “Next time you feel like making stupid noises, gentlemen, I shall be right behind you”.

Which brings me to another very good use for the Baby Tank with the Loudhailer. Calcutta is full of Good Souls who are Very Sociable. And Large Aunties who Need their Own Space. And People in an Awful Hurry who Couldn’t Be Bothered About Traffic. And ALL these Types will jaywalk. Across the road, half-way in from the sidewalk (sidewalks? Just because you build them, I have to WALK on them? What is this, a fascist state?!), down the MIDDLE of the bloody road. And I would steal up behind them Very Quietly and then, oh THEN I would Let Rip on the 240 decibel horn. Or maybe play a recording of screeching brakes over the loudhailer. And watch the Waking of the Jaywalker.

You know how, in Asterix panels, people fly right out of their pants when Obelix swats them? And come back to earth in an accordionated heap, followed by the tinkle of descending teeth? That’s how I imagine it would be. Jaywalker, deboned and filleted by Sudden Crack of Doom, flying through the air like Superjellyfish. Pants, abandoned, standing on their own for a frozen moment before gently falling in a heap. Oh wait … would that apply to the Large Aunties too? Eeewwww. The imagination boggles like billy-o.

Oh well. I shall just have to look the other way to preserve my sanity. A small price to pay for implementing the Grand Design.
Right then. I’m off to eBay to look for an armoured personnel carrier at a bargain price.


eve's lungs said...

Mastery of the zen of driving in Kolkata is what you need.

Partho said...

Re. the knife scene in Croc Dundee, I'm also reminded of (perhaps it was an inspiration for Santosh Sivan) Ashoka where, SRK deadpans: "Shastra usse nahi maharaj; Shastra to isse kahte hain" and then whips it out.
You evoke great visuals. I remember once venting in a post on road rage, but your post has supreme imagery.

SS said...

Laugh out loud funny!
But I understand the feeling, been there. I restricted my imagination to having a supersonic directed wave generator that would shatter the windscreen of the honker's car in a Pavlovian experiment, though.
Wonderful rant!

Idling in Top Gear said...

Much simpler to build a zeppelin (Plus, you can play Led Zeppelin songs over a PA system.) Fly over traffic, moor over the terrace of your daughter's school and drop her off, and evade all sorts of jaywalkers in the process (and I am to believe Kolkata doesn't have too many skyscrapers so easy navigation too.) I am sure you can conjure up an application for an airship permit and process it through the right channels, eh sirjee? :D

Mr. D said...

only 20,000 USD, prufock da.

Chronicus Skepticus said...

Now THIS is more like it!

Only *my* version comes with whips as well. I imagine myself popping out of the Hard Angry Vehicle every now and then to wield 'em on the fools who stop in the middle of the road to just, you know, catch up with friends.

It makes the most satisfying saddAAAK! sound *ever*.

(dreamy sigh)

Ron said...

JAP da, once you procure this wonder vehicle, do lend it to me. Bangalore traffic makes me ache to do all of what you described. Come join me.

Anyesha said...

Hilarious! But would love to know what you would do to those random chaps constructing random flyovers at random corners or the guy patiently sitting in the middle of the roadway and having a field day digging a hole in the pavement with a crowbar? Images courtesy the last visit to the City.

Anonymous said...

oh lovely lovely lovely... just want i needed to read on a lousy weekday morning when its pissing with rain here in chennai and there are CRATERS in the road because they are building flyovers everywhere so it's okay if the roads all around and the pavements fall to bits... This was so cathartic. :) thank you prufrock thank you humbly.

Lazyani said...

Wow!! Please get me one , too. I would love to drive it to the GPO at 11am on a week day and settle a few pending accounts.
Or may be NSC Bose between Garia and Tollygunge at 10 am

Space Bar said...

So *this* is what you call 'quiet desperation'.

brinda said...

Maybe you'll get a better deal on them armoured carriers if you buy them in bulk... Or do you think you would care to drive yours to Delhi, where you can have a merry old time mowing down Important White Cars? And autos, for some light relief.

M'mita said...

Why do I get this sadistic pleasure just reading this. Imagine doing it!

Hope you will have a rent option when you acquire the vehicle. I would rent it in a heartbeat. Talk about the chaos when you are getting out of Salt lake near the Nicco Park area!!!

Bengali Guy said...

Or perhaps you'll summon Optimus Prime by your side JAP :-) May the force be with you.

Bea Walker said...

Pretty please may one sit next to you in such an awesome vehicle after juvenile shouts of "I call shotgun?" I will only ask to gleefully lean on the special horn about the average number of times a kid would say "Are we there yet?"
A very satisfying vicarious rant - respect!

Milo Minderbinder said...

Hehe..JaP kaku is angry...

try Patton-nagar for cheap and best(sasta & Tikauu) all american muscles...

progga said...

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I was laughing out loud as I read this. I empathize! May I borrow your baby armoured vehicle on treads with the bazooka horn when next I'm in Calcutta? I promise to wipe out as much of the non-traffic-rule-following driving population AND jay-walking pedestrian population as I can. 50 points per direct hit, with a bonus for sudden death?

Sue said...

Get in line. Vicky's scheming to drive over these people too. :)

Tania said...

Maybe you can get a cheap one from the one's returned to GM's Cash for Clunkers program. You should also remember that you need to have a mindset to drive such a monstrosity.Do you think you can handle that?

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

E Lungs, this IS my version of Zen

Partho, you are in a minority of 217 (the number of people who actually watched "Ashoka")

SS, we could fit the ray thingy on top? Like a TV van?

Top Gear, a floating Humvee? Godzilla would whimper!

Mr. D, thanks, shall follow up.

Chronicus, a whip? You're out of date - ever heard of tasers?

Ron, I was in Bangalore earlier this week, I totally feel you!

Anyesha, just drive over them, perhaps?



J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Anon from Chennai, are all Indian cities the same now?

LazyA, shall we do a timeshare?

Space Bar, not so quiet either!

Brinda, a national franchise, you think?

Madhumita, because you have some of the Awld Adam in you as well

Bangali Babu, no Optimus! I want ALL those suckers MYself!

Bea, and an all-day sucker too?

Milo, might borrow Bhajji's

Progga, I think there's already a game on those lines

Sue, Vicky has to wait

Tania, who cares as long as it's large and heavy and MOVES?


TalkingHead said...

This shall be the weekend of striking balances...:-)

日月神教-任我行 said...