Wednesday, December 27, 2006

the PITAR syndrome

I was introduced to this syndrome by my good friend Theju. I use the word ‘introduce’ with caution since I later realized that I had shown symptoms of it long before I actually acknowledged its existence in me. It all began one breezy afternoon when we were returning from college. At a traffic light we paused on my modest Kinetic Honda ZX as an auto rickshaw coughed to a halt next to us. Instinctively, Theju and I had fallen once again to the famous PITAR syndrome that seems to have special affection only to people of dear Bengaluru.

Let me first explain to you what PITAR means - ‘Peek Inside The Auto Rickshaw’. A swift and drifting gaze into the occupancy of the auto rickshaw that stands next to you at a traffic light. Why? Well…maybe you will see someone you know sitting there and might want to start a brief conversation. Why else? Well…you might find someone you wish you knew sitting there.

This sort of random behavior only seemed to happen between two wheelers and auto rickshaws. No other automotive combo presented such a reaction by their occupants. The other discovery I made was that most of the time it was the male gender who would be exhibiting PITAR symptoms. I never once saw a female two wheeler rider look into the auto rickshaw I was in. Never. They were PITAR free.

I also realized that some of the PITAR victims were more affected by it than others. They would stare longer at their targets than others in their clan. While some would look at the footwear of the target then others would glare at their watch. It wasn’t for too long but it was long enough to make the other person uncomfortable. All in all, the making of a disturbing trend.

I further noticed that if the auto rickshaw occupant was a male and the PITAR infected person was a male too, then the glare would rarely extend to the face. It usually hovered around the arms, legs, hands or any other materialistic item such as bags, books etc the rickshaw occupant possessed.

But why does PITAR exist? Is it boredom of having to wait till the light turned green? Is it the lack of company on the pillion seat that made these people look at strangers and analyze them? I have not found the answer to this but one thing I am sure of. This is not going away anytime soon. Since PITAR inflicted folk don’t know they have it. It is as natural to them as say, eating. They never realized they learnt it but now they can’t do anything to get rid of it.


2 reflections:

VENU VINOD said...

hey...i am sure i too have been affected by PITAR syndrome. The traffic signal menace is similar in mangalore and i peep in to the nearby vehicle, instinctively. not by choice. anyways, nice write up Shashi

shakri said...

Thanks Venu. :) I found this tradition so fascinating that I just had to write about it. I am glad you found something to identify with. Much appreciated.