The Man from Madras Musings was clearly at fault. A fairly lonely country road just on the outskirts of Chennai was where he was driving. Not finding any other vehicle in the vicinity MMM accelerated. But what he was not prepared for was a sharp bend that came out of nowhere and there in the crook of it, just ahead of MMM’s vehicle was a two-wheeler, with a car speeding down on the opposite side.
It was touch and go. MMM swerved to avoid the two-wheeler while the car on the opposite side obligingly moved off track to give MMM maneuvering space. The vehicle then went its way, while MMM realising that he had some explaining to do to the two wheeler driver, slowed down. Sure enough the man rode up and pounded on MMM’s side window, which MMM had already rolled down in anticipation. The man glared at MMM and of course mouthed a few expletives. To this MMM said that he was sorry, and it was his fault and that he was glad there had been no casualty.
The man was clearly taken aback. It was like descending a stairway only to find the last step missing. “What do you mean you are sorry?” he yelled. “Do you realise that I could have been killed?”
To this MMM replied that he was aware of the gravity of the potential consequences and he was glad that nothing of the kind had happened. He said he had already said sorry.
“What do you mean sorry?” asked the man once again. “I want an apology.” You will have of course realised by now that the word sorry had been spoken in English while much of the dialogue was in local lingo. MMM asked the man as to what the difference was between sorry (in English) and an apology.
“I don’t want any lessons in English from you Peter types,” roared he. “I want you to realise that what you did was wrong.”
MMM said he already had expressed regret only after realizing the error of his ways. Having at this point understood that there was no point in extending this conversation, MMM rolled up his window and drove off, leaving the man shaking a few fists. It later occurred to MMM that the man was really building up for a fight and was quite frustrated that MMM had given in so readily. After all, MMM’s behaviour was not in keeping with Chennai’s road dharma.