“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. In case you have seen it, please the comments below this post.]