Puk Puk, Tuk Tuk Whoa !
The way to get around the locality where I lived in at Huamak in Bangkok the puk puk was the most
convenient since it was easily available. But getting in to a puk puk was an entirely different ball game.
It was an operation of disproportionate dimensions. The puk puk is a high slung vehicle with four
wheels shared by 4 to 6 passengers. To enter the vehicle one has to bend over double and dunk in head
down first. And its wise not to straighten up immediately or do so at one’s risk. In case you try the
former, you are definitely going to encounter the low roof onto your head!! Banging your head has its
own dimensions: It can convert you into a flat head or you maybe risking badly shaking stuff inside it.
(Assuming that you have something inside to start out with!! Pardon the levity).
Having experienced it first hand I was glad to have taken yoga in school, in my youth. And I have braved
the gym on occasion when losing weight becomes imperative. So to keep in shape there's no other
better way than entering a puk puk. Next time you visit Bangkok do try a Puk Puk and let me know if it
works for you. Whether it helped you keep in shape and begin counting yourself as a athletic youngster.
On one occasion a Thai Muslim lady driver wearing a black burqa got talking to me: The staccato
conversation in English went something like this – She: ‘You India?”. “Yes, me Indian, ‘ I agreed. “Okay.
Indian movies good. I watch many many times “ she said. Pleasant . Bollywood thank you, I said.
“You Same Nirupa Roy” she opined!! Holy cow. Holy Mackerel. Holy Smoke I whisked out my compact
box and looked at my image again, carefully, very carefully this time. Probably the lady was right. Why
had'nt I noticed all these years? But, but… had my real calling in Life been missed I mused. Oh dear.
Anyways I continued being a Professor and dealing with what Bangkok had to offer. I graduated to
traveling by Tuk Tuk which is a traditional rickshaw with 3 wheels in areas that it was available. I had
occasion to travel in a larger tuk tuk in Cambodia. But about that, later! It was slated to be a memorable
Me and my better half got used to travelling in a Songthaew as well. Songthaew means two rows. It was
a more familiar vehicle close to the tempo in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Our family term for it was “
Khisko or move over since passengers had to constantly move to make space for new passengers.
We also moved around Bangkok in a taxi which is mostly colourful and convenient. Taxi drivers are polite
but they don't like noisy passengers, so we spoke politely and softly. Bangkok taught us to speak softly
and slowly. To be understood we had to not only speak in Thai but use English with key words dropping
prepositions and other extra verbiage. This taught us patience and understanding of an essentially soft
culture with good manners.