Posted in Guide, Life, Travel

Surviving on Indian Roads

It has been almost 3 years since I wrote on driving ( After this while, I feel I have the knowledge to contribute to the serious topic of surviving on Indian roads – albeit in a tongue-in-cheek manner 😛

These are a compilation of my thoughts & practices on the road. New ones keep coming up – will add them whenever possible.

ps : Following them doesn’t make you immune to accidents cause the road is full of idiots. These are mere tips for drivers (new as well as experienced).

Honking doesn’t make the road yours

  • Honking is simply supposed to convey your intention of “coming through”.
  • It doesn’t mean those ahead of you have to get aside.
  • But if someone is honking at you,  pay heed to it. Sometimes people honk to inform you about something too – maybe an active bike stand or an indicator light blinking wrongly.
Source :

Be predictable

  • Spontaneity has a place in life but not on the road.
  • Being predictable is the best thing you can do on the road.
  • Clear cut communication without haste makes you predictable to others.
  • So use indicators in advance before changing direction, don’t make sudden stops in the middle of the road (unless its to save someone) etc.
  • Drive in such a way  that rest of the traffic isn’t badly impacted.
Source :

Beware of trucks, buses behind you

  • It is risky to be in front of large vehicles like trucks & buses.
  • A small mistake on their part can crush you – especially if you are on a bike.
  • If you see one behind you, try to move away from it.
Source :

Beware of rickshaws ahead of you

  • Auto rickshaw drivers are among the least disciplined drivers in India.
  • The design of an autorickshaw is such that it runs on 3 wheels & has the ability to turn 180 degrees.
  • Combine that with a bad driver – it gives you an extremely high amount of uncertainty on the road.
  • The only certainty is that the rickshaw in front of you will probably take a sudden right/left.
Source :


Take the correct lane

  • If you see vehicles constantly going past you, then you need to be in the left most lane. The right/middle lanes are for faster vehicles.
  • This rule is inline with 2 other rules :
    1. Overtaking is allowed only from the right hand side (of slower vehicle)
    2. Heavy vehicles like buses & trucks need to be in the left most lane since they are supposed to drive slow.
  • If you are planning to take a left/right then be on the suitable lane well in advance. Last minute changes affect everyone else.
Source :


Change lanes ONLY after rear view mirror confirmation

  • As mentioned before, the road is not the place for surprises.
  • Respect those around you by using the rear view mirror before changing lanes.
  • Install rear view mirrors if you haven’t done so.
Source :


Life > Avoiding a pothole

  • Too many deaths take place in India due to potholes.
  • A lot of them happen due to a vehicle changing lanes suddenly to avoid a pothole.
  • Its better to drive slower on unknown roads & thus be at a speed at which you can react better to potholes.
Source :


Life > Attending to your mobile while driving

  • Driving involves your life as well as those of others. As such – it deserves your utmost attention.
  • Receiving a call or texting while driving ensures you lose focus & it can lead to accidents.
Source :


Respect traffic lights

  • The first safe, automatic electric traffic lights were installed in the United States in the late 1890s. It has a lot of history behind it. Respect it.
  • Traffic lights is the standard way of ensuring consensus among all the drivers on the road.
  • A single person disobeying it can lead to chaos at the signal junction & even lead to accidents of innocent lives who respect the traffic lights.
Source :

Be cautious at crossroads

  • While we might be respecting the rules of the road, the same might not apply for others.
  • You can never be sure who is around the next corner or crossroads.
  • Driving slower at such points gives you more time to react to idiots of the road.
  • This is a lesson I learnt the hard way – after being clobbered by an auto rickshaw at one such crossroads 😀
Source :


Apologize whenever necessary

  • The road is one place where you meet people from all walks of life.
  • Respect them & don’t shy away from apologizing when you are in the wrong.
  • I recently apologized for sudden lane changing to a person. He was pleasantly surprised that I wish I could have taken a picture of him to preserve it.
  • Getting angry doesn’t solve anything. Don’t get affected by the road.
Source :


Drive Safe !

Posted in Life

An Indian Wedding Story

“By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher” – Socrates

I jumped on the ‘Arranged marriage’ bandwagon at the age of 29. As someone who likes processes, the whole way of how this is set up fascinated me & I swore that I would document it for sure. I have been busy with my other career oriented blogs & I want to return to personal blogging with this. So here it is 🙂


I will be sharing my experience primarily on :

  1. Beginning of the search
  2. The Search
  3. The Interviews (yikes !)
  4. Finding the One
  5. The Marriage

1. Beginning of the search

  • On my request, my parents initiated the search by informing relatives about it. Proposals which come through relatives were given prime importance – similar to the employee referral system in companies 😛
  • After a couple of months, I added my profile to the community matrimonial websites.
  • Proposals from our own community were preferred since people belonging to a single community usually have some common backgrounds & its always easier to get recommendations about them from known people.

2. The Search

  • It was a long search which went on for more than a year.
  • While some girls were too short, others were too tall…some were older while some were too young (some actually enlisted their daughters for arranged marriage at the young age of 20 !)
  • There were a few profiles which seemed to be  pretty materialistic – specifically asking for grooms with a specific salary range or for grooms likely to go to the US.
  • The worst was a girl’s parent who specifically wanted to know how much property was likely to be inherited by me in the future 😡
  • There were even a few who specifically wanted the groom to be an entrepreneur – quite a novel criteria & something which I appreciated (even if I didn’t fit it) especially since the traditional Indian society doesn’t encourage entrepreneurs due to the risk involved.
  • There were even a few rude parents who were quite nasty on the phone – since children tend to learn from their parents, I’d say this was a good enough warning about how their children would be.
  • After the initial filtering, a horoscope check was done by an astrologer to confirm that the stars match. This is a traditional activity in Hinduism & there is no going around it. If the stars agree, the profile goes to the  next stage – the face to face interview.

3.  The Interviews

  • Initially the face to face interview made me a bit nervous but I warmed up to it later.
  • The prospective bride & groom have to decide on their compatibility with these meetings.
  • I had plenty of conversations which focused on day to day life, likes, dislikes, interests, passions, hobbies, goals – all questions which help to form an opinion on the nature of the person.
  • Its quite similar to the HR round in the job interview process 😛
  • At the end of 1 or 2 meetings, I generally got an idea of how compatible the person was to me.
  • The decision of  aye(yes) or nay(no) was usually taken after consulting with my parents/seniors. If either of us were opposed to it, the answer would be nay.

4. Finding the one

  • I got lucky the 7th time. After almost giving up on the concept of arranged marriage, I ran into my would be wife’s profile.
  • I found her on a matrimonial site & her family was well vouched for by a common acquaintance of ours. The surprising thing – the stars seemed to agree too (highly rated by the astrologer) 🙂
  • The 2 meetings we had went well too. We had a lot of common interests & that provided to be main reason for both of us to agree to the alliance.

5. The Marriage

  • A Hindu marriage is a complex process – plenty of rituals to perform & a lot of tears (mainly due to the smoke 😛 )
  • One ritual had the bride’s brother enact a scene in which he stops me from going to the holy city of Kashi. Not sure why it is still relevant since the days of one becoming a sage by giving up the material world are long gone.
  • One more mention-able activity – the photo sessions. So many guests…so many pics…& so much light from the flashing camera 😮
  • It was a tiring ordeal but it was worth it. Felt like winning a long marathon.


I believe in destiny. Things really fell into place for me – albeit to the efforts of my family (parents, brother & especially my sis-in-law who practically was the front desk of my ‘bride search’)

Post marriage – my life has been very organized. Its great to have someone to share everything with.

I am not saying that I didn’t enjoy being a bachelor before…just that marriage life is quite neat too 🙂


Posted in Life

To Blog or not – that is the question

Just kidding…the answer is obviously “To Blog !” else I wouldn’t be here 🙂

Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.

John Archibald Wheeler

It has been 896 days since my last post (thanks to this site for the calculation !).

There have been a lot of changes for me the past year. Additional responsibilities @ work is the primary change around which I lost track of time. I love my line of work (I am a software guy!) so it was natural for me to immerse myself in it.

Unfortunately it made me lose touch with some of the other things I like – blogging, reading, working out etc.

But after a big change in my daily life (more on that in my next post), I have been able to turn things around & organize life to be able to devote time to all the activities I love.

So I am back !

How it should have ended

ps : Go ahead & click on the image – Its hilarious !

I have learnt a lot in this time – my quest for knowledge has just gotten better.
There is an urgent need to jot it down for myself as well as others who might like it.

So more on that starting this week !

Posted in Life

RTO Drivers License Test Experience

Writing this post as a follow up to my earlier post – RTO Learner’s License Test Experience.

One has to give the test for the Driving License between the period of 1 month – 6 months of receiving the Learner’s License.
I guess one can give this test any number of times but at a gap of 1 week between each failed attempt.

I went for the DL test sometime in March without much preparation. I had practiced driving my bike for the past month but I didn’t expect to pass in the 1st attempt for sure since I had read numerous stories about corruption at the RTO.

After filling in some documents & having your pic taken by a webcam @ the RTO office , I was told to give the test @ the driving track between 1pm – 3pm.

Apparently the RTO tests here in India haven’t been standardized. I think its due to the fact that not all RTO centers here have suitable driving tracks.
Depending on the location of your RTO, the test can be :

  1. Drive the bike on a road amongst the traffic along a certain route (circular/8 shaped etc).
  2. Drive the bike around a ground or/& perform a 8 shaped curve.
  3. Drive along the constructed track which will surely have a 8 shape in it somewhere.

Note : (2) & (3) have to be performed while giving proper hand/light signals & without placing your foot down !

I didn’t know what to expect since there were barely any pics of the driving track on the net. A google map ariel view gave me some idea about it.

As luck would have it, my RTO test turned out to be (3). Its actually a good test to determine your driving skills. But since I wasn’t confident of my skills, I was actually quite terrified of it.

Attempt 1 :

I think I was the first person to be called. The Inspector told me to go around the track once then go along the spiral road followed by the 8 & return – all while ensuring the foot isn’t placed on the ground even once.

I screwed up at the spiral road – placed a foot down to balance myself since my ‘1st gear’ jerky driving almost nicked the surrounding bricks. But I continued driving along the rest of the road & the 8 too. Surprisingly the ‘8’ didn’t trouble me a bit. So atleast I had something +ve to take from this !

I was told to take the test again after a week.
I didn’t though. I felt I needed more practice. So I tried tried driving a ‘8’ along empty routes on the 1st gear using a half clutch approach. (I did try 2nd gear too since its smoother but then you have to focus additionally on ensuring the engine doesn’t die down at your speed using the clutch).

Attempt 2 :

I gave the test some 2 months later. I practiced only a week …but avoided the test since the location was quite far & work kept me busy. I had to fill in the papers again (minus the pic clicking).

This time too I had little hopes. I was actually searching for an agent to bribe…since the other aspirants from driving schools had it very easy – they just had to go around the track once. But I wasn’t able to find a single agent….besides that it doesn’t help when you are the 1st person to be called for again…Just my luck 😐

The Inspector asked me for my papers. Being nervous, I didn’t realize I had the insurance papers beneath the seat & told her that I didn’t get it. Thankfully she told me get the papers IF I pass the test. I silently told myself – “Hehe so I won’t need the papers today” 😛

So I began driving. For some reason I became very calm after starting the bike. Things fell into line & I was able to navigate through the whole track without any issues. But I still didn’t expect to be passed since I really believed in what my friend had told me – “No bribe -> failure”. I had read tales of how people were failed for trivial matters like using light signals instead of hand signals…of coming in casual shorts rather than formal attire (I was in jeans….so that should be ok :P).
Surprisingly the Inspector informed me I had passed !

My mind shouted out “Woohoo ! Party time !”. I grinned & thanked the Inspector & left to get the papers.

It took a month for the license to reach me. Ideally it takes 2 weeks but it was stuck @ some bureaucratic point between the department which prints the license & the dept which posts it.
Had to visit the RTO again to get that cleared. But no complaints …I can finally drive around without hiding from the cops 😀

Conclusion : Its actually good to take the hard ‘non bribe’ route. Makes you feel like you deserve the license !

Posted in Life, Travel


Its a 3 day weekend here so am currently on a little trip to the country side. I won’t be writing about my time here since I have already done that on a previous occassion here.

I love travelling on the road…especially when I have a say in the flow of places to stop over…visit…ie move at our own comfortable pace. But when it comes down to travelling on a service provided by others – I hate it !
On such trips, one has to control one’s schedule…one’s intake..maybe even adjust on your standards of hygiene :-/ .
Which is why when long distances are to be covered , you will usually find me on planes rather than the cheaper alternatives of trains & buses.

However there are times when you don’t have much of a choice. To visit my ancestoral place, commutting via bus is the most convenient way as far as time goes (abt 6hrs or so). The thing is – I like travelling on the bus here :). Why ?

Its a Sleeper bus ! I think they came out 10 yrs ago in these parts of the world…& they are defintely a boon for travellors who need to spend around 10 hrs or less on the road.
Comfy space for your whole body….spending the whole journey sleeping in the natural position… that to the rigid seating posture which most passengers opt for :-/

I usually cannot sleep on buses….though a sleeper bus defintely gets me a few hours of rest for which I am thankful for. Besides it gives me the ideal activity for times when I am not able to get some shut eye – star gazing 🙂

Nothing like viewing the night sky far away from the glamour of the city….the same stars & planets that existed long before you did…& will probably remain long after you are gone too (sigh…)

Posted in Life, Software

Empire Avenue

There are times (post the online gaming, wikipedia, gmail, facebook era) when I feel that everything new that could be created/developed on the net has been done already….& then something new hits you !
Actually this is something which happens often in life….but didn’t expect it to happen frequently on the net…

The spotlight in this post is on Empire Avenue – a social stock market game which runs on people rather than the business world…or you can think of it as the social network which combines all the others out there…or in Tolkein’s words – “One ring to bind them all” (ok …I rearranged some words of his famous lore…but you get it!)

Basically, once you register on their site, you become an entity in which people can invest in. The price of your stock fluctuates depending on your social activity which is why its a good idea to link your other social network accounts with this site.
Unlike the others, Empire Avenue encourages you to be active on the other social networks like Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, WordPress, FourSquare, Instagram, youtube etc.
(Note : For those worried about the privacy of lets say your fb messages, you don’t have to worry. Only your public messages show up here. The private ones add to your social activity & are thus responsible for your stock price but they remain private.)

You can invest in other people or companies (like WWE) too. The virtual currency here are Eaves. You earn via completion of missions (if you wish to take them up) or via dividends of your investments. The usual tools used in stock markets also exist here (like stock price alerts).

Once you invest in others, you can follow their social activities (eg: you get an intimation of their recent blog entry) & thus expand your online social network.

The best thing about it is that its so complex (which is why I like the whole system of the original Financial Stock Market) & we can use it in a number of ways :

  • You can use it to connect with people of similar interests
  • You can play it to compete with others by leveling up since its after all an online game.
  • Brand managers (or even us normal bloggers) can use the ‘mission’ functionality (rewarding people with Eaves) to gain more hits on their online campaigns/posts.

The only problem it has is that it lacks help pointers which should be sprayed all through the site….kinda like ‘bubble notes’ which should appear with helpful tips when we click on some uncharted part of the site. So the initial learning curving is quite high. But once you understand it its fun.

The good thing about it is that it kinda gels with my new year resolution – To be more active on the blgoging world 😛

As a parting shot, I will leave you with the following links :

  1. Empire Avenue Tutorial
  2. A registration link : Register here (I think we get some Eaves as reward if you join via this link)
Posted in Life

Forced to Post :P

Its been a month or so since my last post…That either means I have been too lazy or I have too many things keeping me busy in life. Well thankfully, its been the latter case.

The new bike is taking a lot of my time. Getting confident to drive in public + trying to reach a decent milestone (as far as distance covered goes) before handing over the bike for its 1st service has kept me on my toes all month !
Now that its done, I can come back to my usual routine…or new ones !

Some of the things I am contemplating :
-> Finish some of my blog drafts 😀
-> Alter my daily routine to spend some serious time on fitness (After effects of watching ‘Rocky’ [1+2] after such a long time :D)
-> Write up a ‘Newbie Biker’ mini series on my blog….something to laugh back on for the future 😛

Oh..almost forgot ! What forced me back to write a hurried post? Well a fellow blogger has nominated me for 2 Blogging Awards – ‘The Sunshine Award’ & ‘The Inspirational Blogger Award’.
Tradition dictates that I follow the protocols laid down to honour this kind gesture.

Some Background :
As an award winner, there are a few rules to follow:

  1. Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
  2. Answer questions which give an insightful view of you (7 for the Sunshine award & 5 for the Inspiration blogger award) .
  3. Pass on the award to other fabulous bloggers, link their blogs, and let them know you awarded them.

I have been nominated by Ned from the blog –
Ned’s blog is 1 of the first few blogs I followed. Reading a single post from his blog makes you feel like you are reading many other blogs….he jumps from 1 topic to the other…definitely not my style…maybe thats why I follow his blog keenly !
His blog definitely adds a whole lot of meaning to my own quest which is also the name of my own blog – Quest 4 Knowledge 🙂

Insightful Answers

  1. I love visiting new places.
  2. I love reading stories of Good vs Evil…like mythological stories…love rooting for the underdog (the ‘good’ as usual).
  3. I love watching TV shows which belong to the genres of : humour, mystery.
  4. I stay away from romantic songs/movies cause they actually work on me 😐
  5. Since I am a chess player, I always think of possible outcomes to every move….which is why you won’t see me wading deep in the ocean/sea…too many unknown parameters there 😛
  6. Its very difficult to make me lose my temper (maybe due to the above reason?)
  7. I have a great long term memory….I love remembering tiny things about the past …about my childhood etc…which is why I really fear Alzheimer’s disease.

Pass on the SunShine Award
I can’t pass on the award to the few blogs I follow…simply cause its only been a couple of weeks or so since I followed them…while others have stopped updating their blog for the past few months….it won’t be fair to the award nor to them. I can think of only a single blog which had a significant impact on me in such a short time :

Pass on the Inspirational Blog Award
I am beat here…lessons on life…thats something few blogs have…& I haven’t found those blogs yet except 1…Ned’s blog is the only blog I can mention here…if it was allowed to nominate him again 😦