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The dreaded 'Padmini' syndrome


We Indians suffer from what I would like to call the 'Padmini Syndrome'. Before I go on, I absolutely do not mean this as an insult to the venerable Premier Padmini - the first car my dad bought and the car I learned to drive in and the car my family still continues to use. However, I must admit that the car, despite all its charm and beautiful lines, is a fossil in today's day and age.

Now, continuing towards my dissection of the affliction ailing us Indian road users. Basically what this syndrome does is that it makes the human mind fool itself into thinking that it's still the seventies when traffic was sparse and car's were slow and lumbering. Symptoms of the dreaded 'Padmini Syndrome', here on referred to as PS, include shifting into top gear at speeds exceeding 15 kph and only under forced duress, the sort that can equal the threat of a nuclear holocaust, will make us downshift. Crawling traffic and steep accents won't need anything less than the top most cog in our car's gearbox, even if we are to negotiate through these scenarios at 20 kph.

Another symptom that could mean that you suffer from PS, is to drive in the top most lane at 25 kph. The disease makes you feel that 25 kph is a blistering pace and nothing currently using the great Indian road network can over take your hot rod at that speed. Doesn't matter if rickshaws and cyclists are honking (in the case of cycles, tringing) behind you.

Then, PS makes you think that to eventually slow down, you along with whoever is in the car at the time, collectively need to stand on to that brake pedal to shed speed. PS prevents you from realising that cars these days have brake boosters to amplify pedal pressure or the fact that most modern cars have disc brakes. So when you see a goat crossing 3 km ahead of you, you will all jump on to that pedal, screeching to a sudden halt. The face of the motorist behind you will turn white and he will start doing all sorts of things to prevent himself from becoming planted in your car's rear seat. You will notice none of this, however, since PS stops you from using your car's mirrors.

PS infected people will signal while turning right by twiddling their fingers out of the driver's window. Turning left, however, will usually involve no such finger movement, as the driver cannot stretch across to signal out of the co-driver's window.

So if you display any or all of these symptoms, I suggest you get yourself admitted into your closest driving school. Talking to non-infected drivers will also help. Injecting yourself with some common sense and a concentrated dosage of road etiquette will certainly contribute to a timely cure.

Lastly, I wish all of us a happy recovery. Get well soon, all of us!