Sunday, July 27, 2008

Horn Me

Drivers in Bangalore honk their vehicle horns not because they want to warn but because this is how they communication with other vehicles, pedestrians and animals. So imagine being in traffic during rush hour in a city with approximately 1.95 million cars and each car is communicating.

Some trucks and auto-rickshaws have "Sound OK Horn" written on the bumper.

Now that I got that out of the way, I want to say that I am very disturbed by what I witnessed this morning on the road and I shouldn't be since this happens a million times everyday in Malaysia. My cabbie was stopped by 2 fat traffic officials (maybe a random inspection?). Cabbie showed Fat Officer 1 his driver's license and then was asked to stepped out. I, of course have no idea what they are talking about but watching them from my tinted window, this is what I *think* is happening.

Fat Officer 1: I'm going to write you a big fat ticket.
Cabbie: Please sir, I didn't do anything wrong.
Fat Officer 1: You know what you did! We can fix this. How much do you have?

Cabbie took out his wallet. Looks like Rs100 bill and no change (Rs100 = US$2.30). Fat Officer 1 took the bill. Now if I never found out how much cab drivers make monthly, I won't feel as bad but I do.

Fat Officer 2 and Fat Officer 1 exchange whispers. Fat Officer 1 took the Rs100 note, symphatize and
gave Cabbie a couple of crumbled Rs10 notes under his hat. I found myself grabbing my camera.

No, I didn't do it. I didn't want to be dragged out of my AC cab and stoned to death. Would've been a good picture though.

Cabbie dropped me off at my Guru's. I spent the next 2 hours practicing yoga, and no matter how many ohms and deep breathes I took, all I could think about is how these 2 fat men just bullied my scrawny driver and now Cabbie (who probably has 3 kids and a wife living about 100 km away, who are all probably as scrawny) will have to skip meals today. When Cabbie sent me home later, I gave him Rs100. Is it wrong?

So Saturday night, a new friend N got pulled over for DUI and had a BAC level of .07 (N said .03 is maximum legal level in Bangalore). N had limited Rupees on him, and Officer Ram wasn’t going to let him off easy. Since N had a chick on the passenger seat, he negotiated for a down-payment and Officer Ram gave him his cell phone number.

Sunday, I got a ride from N (who wasn’t driving) and H (who was also drunk driving the night before). H drove us to where Officer Ram was placed for the evening and passed him the previously agreed balance. Apparently, N’s deal with Officer Ram was not to get out of a ticket but for Officer Ram (with a *little* incentive) to go to court and pay for N’s ticket. Before we left, N & H shook hands with Officer Ram and he said “see you next weekend”…


Weng said...

That's a very nice thing you did. How much do they earn anyway? My cab was stopped by a police officer the other day, for picking me up at a non designated pickup area (I guess), I had to get out, and get another cab, and the driver got a ticket.

~PO~ said...

About US$400/month. You see, I don't have the luxury of getting out of a cab and hailing another one.

Zen said...

i think you did a great thing ... if it was just US2.30 that you gave him you it was spare change but I am sure he fed his whole family that night.

good karma be on you !