The Man from Madras Musings has in the past lamented about the state of the speed breakers on our city roads. The lack of standardisation in curve, slope, width and texture has been dealt with in detail. So also has the lack of markings to indicate that a speed breaker is lurking on a particularly dark stretch of road. But before you go on to the next article with a muttered comment about how MMM has lost it and is repeating himself, lend him your eyes a little, for MMM now writes of the new kind of speed breaker that has manifested itself.

MMM is fairly sure that you have come across it. It is broad unlike the earlier ones that were sharply curved. But such is its width that it gives you the feeling that you are climbing up a hill. If you are in a car, everyone is thrown back as the vehicle makes the ascent. If you are on a two-wheeler and you hit the up slope with some speed, chances are that you take off like a rocket and land in the next postal district.

Once you have climbed to the top, it is best that you tarry a while. This is to let your heart rest and get its beat rate down to normal. Most vehicles pause here anyway, for at a particular spot on the summit, they attain a kind of equilibrium, with the entire chassis poised evenly as on a fulcrum. You can also get a good view of the scenery of the surrounding countryside. But then all good things have to come to an end. You can’t stay on for too long anyway for those behind will be coming up and wanting their share of the air at the top. And so you begin the descent. Here again it is advised that all regulations that apply to a roller coaster need to be followed. Expectant mothers, elderly people or those with lumbar or cardiac problems are advised to say their prayers, as also those who are susceptible to motion sickness. The only advantage in coming down is that it is invariably quick and you can always see what lies ahead of you, which is not always the case during the ascent. But there is one thrill that awaits you as you come down. The area beside the speed breaker being at a lower level, a considerable amount of water accumulates at the base whenever it rains. You therefore not only descend with a splash, you also liberally douse anyone else who is around. All this for free. To think people were paying through their nose at aqua themed parks for the same kind of experience. Given that ours is a welfare state, it was but to be expected that the powers that be would give us, apart from food, gas, medicine, entertainment and information, some good clean fun also for free.

Once you are on the ground there is no time to relax, for these speed breakers were evidently designed by those who specialised in putting up amusement parks with thrilling rides. More often than not, another of the same kind follows this sort of a speed breaker at a very short distance. Like the animals in Noahs ark, these go about in two and two.

Oh, yes, and before MMM signs off on this story let him warn you. There is still no standardisation on the markings for these speed breakers. Several become evident only when you hit them and your vehicle rises sharply in the air. If you do experience this, it is best to keep your seat belt fastened and pray for freedom from air turbulence.