Features Wednesday, September 03, 2014 - 05:30
Canis Lupus These creatures were once thought to be sub-species of human beings (Homo sapiens) but road users are now unanimous that they are entirely different genuses and species. Their resemblance to humans is only superficial. Consider the following specimens. The Noisy Show-off. Jactiantus sonatis.  Males abundant. Females rare. (Scientists are still trying to figure out how this creature multiplies so prolifically seeing there are so few females). Mostly found in four wheelers. They love to make loud noise while on the move. Multi-tone horns and woofers are their favourite noise making organs. A silencer loosened or removed is also met with occasionally. At night can be heard within a radius of 3 Km. If their woofer makes the window panes of the nearby houses rattle, they believe the day/night has been a success. The High Status Show-off. Jactiantus exaltatione.  These used to be found in white Ambassador cars but alert watchers have recently spotted them in Innovas, Indigos and SUVs. Easily identified by the red/blue light on the car roof, a brass flag pole on the fender and large – nay huge – board on the front bumper proclaiming his exalted status. These boards used to block the air flow to the radiator and the Ambassadors tended to boil on up grades of more than one in sixty. But this never bothered this specimen as the official driver was there to cool it down. These specimens would have been harmless ego-trippers if they didn't use their beacon lights, status boards and flag-poles to jump red lights, act like they own the road and park in No Parking zones. The Zigzagger. Viator dextra-sinistris.  You’ve seen these aplenty on mobikes. But three-wheelers are also not uncommon, and if you are unlucky, you may even meet one in a four-wheeler. The ones on the 2-wheelers and 4-wheelers usually have a fond poppa who indulges the whims of the apple of his eye. Some scholars say the Zigzaggers take inspiration from the Dhoom 1, Dhoom 2, Dhoom 3, Dhoom 87 etc movies. But other researchers think the Dhoom movies are inspired by Zigzaggers. Debate in academic circles is still going on. These creatures love to drive (literally) other road users nuts. Nuts (plus bolts, washers and assorted machinery parts) are also found spread about when their erratic locomotion comes to a sudden halt against another vehicle. The Obnoxious Multi-Tasker.  Grauis multi-tasker. This aimal has only two hands but seems to do all sorts of other things while driving which would need at least five for any other normal creature. Controlling the wheel, changing gears, handling the mobile, holding a ciggy and a mineral water bottle with cap removed with two fingers of the same hand are all done while driving on a busy road. The flipside is that he puts other road users in danger, or drives so slow that vehicles form a long and respectable procession for one Km behind him as they pile up trying to overtake on a straight stretch, but can’t, because the Obnoxious Multi-Tasker is driving right down the middle at 15 km/hour. The Obnoxious Me-First Overtaker. Grauis me-prima.  A get-ahead guy who can’t stand anyone – ANYONE – getting in front of him. And when he sees a beat up Maruti 800 or an old lady driving a Nano up ahead, there’s simply no holding him back. He blows the horn insistently, flashes his headlights and forces the unfortunate leading vehicle’s off side wheels off the tarmac and zig-zags ahead. And if he was going to pull over just 7 metres ahead anyway, the vehicle that got overtaken is likely to come to a sudden halt against his left rear fender. The language that can be heard thereafter is not fit for minors to hear, this language, mind you, largely coming from the Obnoxious Me-First Overtaker, as he honestly considers himself to be the aggrieved party. Interesting crossbreeds of the Obnoxious Me-First Overtaker and the Zigzagger have been reported but they don’t seem to have a very long life span, so any detailed study is rather lacking of these hybrids. The Nose-in-Tailer. Viator naso-in-caudum.  You’ve met them in city traffic, and you’ve also met them on the highway. They love to drive nose to tail with the vehicle in front of them, with hardly a gap between the two bumpers. It is a big loss of face if, god forbid, any vehicle should overtake and fit into the gap between the two. So he’s simply got to make it impossible for any overtaker. When the vehicle ahead has to stop, the meeting between the two is inevitable, almost destined. As is usual with similar creatures of the road, they put up huge show of anger and being the wronged party. Women drivers tend to meet these pests more often than men. They can be recognised by the signs of frequent repair work on the front bumper and fenders. The Sudden Stopper. Viator repentino-claudos.  He knows every second, every moment is precious. So he doesn’t waste any. He knows he has to stop 60 metres ahead but does he lift the foot off the accelerator? Perish the thought. Every moment has value. He will forge ahead at 65 km/hour and brake exactly where he has to stop. When he has the Nose-in-Tailer behind him, the results can get quite interesting. On a busy road this can mean a fair pile up in both directions. This is when the next pest comes into action. The Queue Jumper. Queue ruptor.  He thinks all the vehicles waiting patiently in front have idiots at the wheels. He sees the inviting empty lane on the other side of the road and zooms ahead. Some three or four copycat Queue Jumpers follow suit. Add a few more such creatures on the other side of the pile-up. And just when the traffic cops were thinking they had got the mess sorted out... Well, now you know why traffic cops have such well developed vocabularies. Where are the real killers?  I have only stuck to the pests who make driving on Indian roads so lively, and make guys like me take to parking the car safely at home and taking the bus. The monster who kills on the highway is a different sort of creature, and he will need a different, more sombre study. Did I say “he”? Yes, he. Because most of the spectacular smash ups which keep the entire fire brigade, police force, ambulances and hospital staff busy for the next five hours are a man’s work, mostly. The ladies are only good for the odd bent fender, bashed in door or cracked windshield. I hope the feminists don’t take this insult to heart and pull out the old SUV to rectify things. They (things, I mean) are already bad enough as it is. Canis Lupus is a resident of Himachal Pradesh. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this articles are the personal opinions of the author. The News Minute is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information in this article. The information, facts or opinions appearing in this article do not reflect the views of The News Minute and The News Minute does not assume any liability on the same.

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