Thoughts on Rails

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Archive for April 2007

Free Bird

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Free BirdAnimals have their instinctive rules for survival. I experience a lot of this fury on the highways. Every driver thinks that the only vehicle on the road is his/her own. Only they want to reach home. Only they have the right of way. It’s only about them. All the time.

If you have not driven in India – more so in Maharashtra State, you probably have no idea of what I’m talking about.

People honk horns even if they can see there is another vehicle in front of you and you have nowhere to go. They don’t honk once, its a continuous riot till you get irritated and slam on the brakes to tell the guy behind you to shut up.

Many drivers won’t give you way – in a 4 lane highway, each direction of the traffic gets 2 lanes… among them one is for overtaking and fast vehicles and other is for slower traffic. They will drive their beat-down trashcans on the fast lane at half the usual speed and won’t budge. If you try to inform them with a short horn, they wave their hand at you to tell you to ‘go overtake from the slow lane if you want. I’m not moving’. Insulting others is normal here.

On the 2 lane highway, where oncoming traffic shares the road with you, people overtake larger/slower vehicles even if there is oncoming traffic. You have to get down on to the shoulders even if you were driving in your own lane because some SOB decided that he wanted to go immediately and he didn’t care if he swerved into your lane to do so.

These experiences are not once in a while… not once in a day… every minute that my tires are on the road, people piss me off.

I love driving, I totally enjoy driving. I’d love to drive all my life. I like to travel to different places. The journey means a lot more to me than the destination. The road is one of my best friends! I dream about traveling all the time. I save up money not for fancy clothes, but for fuel.

Yet, every time I drive, there are many people who are having a bad day and who make sure that they pass on their bad mood to every driver they meet.

I like the company of trucks when I’m on my bike – because they don’t try to kill me every time they see me.  The smaller vehicles though have no sense at all. When I drive a car, I give enough space to motorcyclists. I keep dipper/low beam light when there is oncoming traffic. I consider other driver’s situation before I take a quick turn or overtake. I don’t honk unnecessarily. I let faster vehicles pass even before they ask for side. I wait when pedestrians are crossing the road. I don’t get irritated if someone is learning how to drive and makes mistakes. I smile and wave at other drivers when the traffic is slow.

What do I get in return? Constant insult in the way of being snubbed by other drivers with bigger vehicles… I’ve recently started using same tactics on the other drivers. As soon as I see that they are going to overtake even when they can see me – I move my vehicle right in the middle of the road, flash lights and wave my fist at them, works every time. Guess, I should see if the Government allows me to keep rubber-bullet loaded guns too! Those will certainly be handy!

Heh, I can almost see myself becoming a lawless roadie some day. Its a tough job keeping my sanity and not giving in to scaring others shitless. Its not difficult to attack others… it is easy actually. I’ve found this out with experience. Most people will get on their knees if you raise your fist. Many will bow, if you make them.

That is not power. That is not respect. It is sheer intimidation. But it works like a charm on the highways – to keep yourself safe. But I don’t like it. I like to make friends… not enemies! What do I do?

I tried this for a full 100 kilometers – give the overtaking driver some space and move a bit towards the edge of the road. Each of the 30+ times in the nearly two hours of drive, the oncoming vehicle made me get down from the road, into the rubble and stop – because the bike would go out of control in  rubble. While coming back on the same stretch, I tried my flash-the-lights and wave-your-fist technique… none… yes NONE of the vehicles caused me any trouble.

Well, only one jeep-driver had the guts to still drive on, but since I stayed in my place, he had to swerve even more and go past the edge of my lane. I sure hope his passengers gave him some points to ponder. Three more cars had followed him and were already in my lane when this happened, they saw what happened and almost instantly got back in their lane.

I’m having a difficult time being good. It seems that the only way to stay alive on the highway is to scare the living daylight out of others. Can’t we Indians be sensible? Are we freaking animals that we have to attack others for the right of way? I’m not going to stop driving just because others have no sense nor responsibility of driving. I will not be scared into sitting at home or traveling in bus like many other people. Most importantly, I will not die on the highway.

I like to follow the rules. Please don’t make me lawless! Somebody help me!


Written by hiway

April 30, 2007 at 1:02 am

Posted in adventure, rant, travel

Allahabad Photos

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I am almost finished uploading the photos from Allahabad trip…  you can find them here:

Written by hiway

April 21, 2007 at 6:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Picasa 2 works on PCBSD!

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Good news!

There has been a long long wait for Google’s Picasa on FreeBSD / PCBSD. And the wait is now over… if you are running PCBSD, just go get the latest Wine 0.9.32

Step 1: Install Wine – double click on the .pbi file and follow on-screen instructions.

Step 1.1: Install arial.ttf in c:\Windows\Fonts ( /home/username/.wine/drive_c/windows/fonts )

Step 2: Install Picasa – start up konsole, navigate to the directory where your Picasa installer is located ( cd /home/username/Desktop/ ) and run the installer by typing ( wine picasa2-current.exe )

Step 3: Thank the Wine Team and enjoy!

Written by hiway

April 5, 2007 at 5:36 am