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Today we, the L & M and I, went on a long drive to Poovar to meet friends. The roads were quite good, and for a change the drive was really smooth and enjoyable. That is, except for some two score speed bumps beyond the city limits, nearer our destination. At least it seemed like two score to us, before and after almost every curve. Knowing how people speed recklessly even on blind curves, we agreed it was indeed an absolutely necessary safety precaution. Yet, it caused us to curse (and laugh) a good deal each time we *bumped* over them.

Beyond the city limits the street lamps were fewer and far between. But at many places there were a million colored lights strung on trees, some blinking and some not. For a long stretch there were tube-lights on poles every metre and a half making the road well lit. It is after all the festival season. There was music blaring on loudspeakers. The decorations and bright lights were for the devotees swarming to the temple I guess. There were quite a few grand churches on the way too, all brightly lit with a dozen bright lamps showing up the structure to advantage. (And no, I didn’t see any mosques, in case anyone comes up with that question)

All this made me think how most religious institutions seem to have a lot of money to afford lights and music and whatever. May be the contract for lighting up the city and suburbs should be given to them and then we will not have a single stretch of dark road anywhere.

Further along the way, the road grew quieter and the streetlights were almost non-existent. There were houses on either side, dim lights from them streaming outside. Looking at them one wondered (or rather I wondered) about the lives of those in them. What was their story? Who lived in that small pink painted concrete house or the white tiled one? Was it a family with children, grandchildren? Were they all happy or was discontent tearing them apart? Were they blessed with love? Did they have enough to eat. enough to live on? Perhaps they had a child working in the Gulf? Did they read, like songs? Were they watching soaps on television right then?

In the meantime the songs from the radio channel we were listening to turned fainter and fainter, and instead the static grew louder. It reminded me of the days of yore, when we listened to songs on the transistor radio. The broadcasts never used to be clear enough and we twiddled the dials, checked the aerial, turned the transistor this way and that for a clearer reception. The static from the radio together with the dark roads and the homes with dimmer lights than you see in the city proper taken together, it almost felt like I had time-traveled back about five decades to my childhood. But of course periodically we hit brightly lit junctions that dispelled the notion altogether.

At our destination, a resort at Poovar, our friends were waiting. Lots of laughter, chatter, and a fine dinner later when we drove back, it was an even quieter road that took us home.