My shortcut, discovered!

You do know the true essence of a shortcut, right? Or more how that true essence can get eroded, suddenly and depressingly? It happens the moment it is discovered! Now you have previously seen my ability to rant and you also know about my new bike, my humble Activa. Well, now that I’m done with some shameless marketing for my previous two posts, I can move on. But then you will hear a lot of the two in the coming minutes so thought an introduction won’t hurt.

Well it all began on a dreary Monday morning. Got out of the house with Chennai’s humidity sapping the thrill of life and making me sick. As I locked the door and walked out I was greeted by bird shit on my scooter. As I wiped the shit off I knew, the day would only get worse. But the thought that I can get out of my house and reach office with 5 minutes left on the office clock, always left me with a wry smile. Not because the thought of getting into work on a Monday gave me a huge surge of the happies but just because I had a ‘shortcut’. Ah I so love that word. Its short, its cut, its all you need. All it takes is a turn off the main road, a 200 meter dash on smooth tar, a bumpy 60 meters on Chennai’s latest fad, blocked and dug up roads, and bang, I cut off 20 minutes on my travel time. I walked into my little breakfast shop to choose among the gourmet options available. Pooris or Idli, the choice was immense, the decision tough, pooris dipped in oil which will make me sick yet give me the will to live another day or idlis which will keep me healthy but make me forget that warm feeling of good food. I took the wise decision, I took the unheralded pongal, the snack so good the Tamilians decided to name a festival after it or it was the other way around. Ok moving on. I got back on my bike and sped off only to be halted by traffic trying its best to fit itself through a road as wide as a crisp dosa which I just remembered I could have ordered for. Damn. Anyhow I wriggled my way past the mess in my supremely well balanced Activa and guided myself into my little shortcut. Seeing the traffic disappear behind me is by far the most spiritual feeling ever. A quick dash on the smooth tar, a not so quick dash on bumps the kind they found on the moon and speed breakers meant for monster trucks and I took the final turn with that wry ‘I found this shortcut’ smile creeping up..and then it happened!

There was a traffic jam! On my shortcut! A traffic jam! How was this possible? But it did not matter. I had been discovered. Now I know how Columbus would have actually felt when he landed up on the wrong continent, how Ricky Martin felt when the world realized he was gay, how Hitler felt when they teased him in school for his moustache, how Ratan Tata feels whenever he sees a Nano on the road, when Bill Gates uses an iPhone, when Manmohan Singh eats an aloo parantha while Anna Hazare goes hungry.. Wait not sure what the connection was meant to be. Something about feeling stupid and deceived basically. On the whole, there were bikes, bullock carts, cars and a tractor for crying out loud.

I cursed, seethed and called upon the stench from Buckingham (popular sewage canal in Chennai) to engulf this street and drown these people in the rage welling up within me. They honked, they screamed, one of them spat and a cow knocked into me. This was not how it was supposed to be. It was meant to be quiet and calm and quick. I was fifteen minutes late and with no clue of what to do. I had given up to the traffic gods when a man on a cycle next to me had the gall to question the honking cars as to how they found his shortcut. I instantly cut across him with all the power and might of my bike and sped on the side roads treading upon sand, garbage and car tires to get past it all and reach the front. It was over, I had triumphed, battle of the soul over the mind. The kind of exhilaration Neil Armstrong felt, Gandhiji felt, for crying out loud the kind of joy Mr. Bean felt on replacing the painting in that movie. I soared to the front and there right at the front I had one last look at the perpetrators, all of them who had taken away from me my five minutes of morning joy and just before I took the turn to hit the main road, I could bet to all the gods up there and around, they looked back at me with the same disgust and hate.

Mine, was not the only shortcut that had been discovered that day!