“When you reach a dead end, turn right” was the baffling instruction I got, when I asked for directions to some place in Jayanagar. We had just moved to Bangalore (from Delhi) in mid-2004, and I was trying to get used to the roads and places in Bangalore.
To me a ‘dead end’ meant an end (as of a street) without an exit, a cul-de-sac, or a blind alley, so how could I turn right?
Eventually as I drove to the alleged ‘dead end’, I figured that I was approaching a T-junction (where I could turn right or left). In the next few weeks, it became clear to me that T-junctions are also called ‘dead ends’ in Bangalore.
Over time I realized that ‘dead ends’ in Bangalore lingo mean many more things – like a sharp right or a left turn, or bend in the road or an intesection (Bangalore has many of them with 5, 6, and sometimes 7 roads). So, ‘dead end’ in Bangalore could mean any of them.
I thought I had figured out all possible versions of ‘dead ends’. So, I was stumped when last year (2012), someone gave me directions on New BEL Road – “go straight for 100 meters, at the dead end turn right, and the buiding is the first tall one…”. Well, I knew that the new BEL Road was straight for the next kilometer and I could not remember any ‘dead end’ for a while, at least not the kind of ‘dead ends’ that I was now familiar with.
After I walked the 100 meters, I did come across a new kind of ‘dead end’ – a small road meeting the main New BEL Road. Well, one lives and learns.
Since my initial encounter with Bangalorean ‘dead end’ I have come to know that others too have been baffled with the usage of this term in Bangalore. Here is a post Rickshaw Drivers and Vampires by Anand Ramachandran. I reproduce a relevant excerpt from the post:
“Give up, fool. This is a dead end, there is no way out. I have you know.”, said Gangrel.
The human smiled. “Nope. You forget – this is Bengaluru.” he shot back, before suddenly taking a left turn and vanishing.
– from Rickshaw Drivers and Vampires by Anand Ramachandran
Maybe ‘Dead End, Right’ is a new metaphor for ‘there is always a way out of tight corners’ 🙂
[There is also a horror movie titled a Dead End. I have not yet seen it, but have put it in my long ‘maybe someday’ list. (the DVD is available at Amazon.com). In case you have seen it, please the comments below this post.]