You know what gets my goatee? When someone walks up and thinks that they can have things their way by sheer force of presence or clout or what you will. For those who have met me, please, I don’t quite utilise “anything” in my favour. Come on. Give it to me at least for a minute!
Recently I was driving to office and there is this stretch of road (just a stretch guys, nothing fabulous) which doesn’t have a divider. Coming to think of it… there is only a stretch of road that actually has a divider! Anyway, here I was driving in my little car and happily humming songs which only I could recognise and drumming away on my poor wheel. For those who aren’t familiar with this stretch of road, there are a lot of uphill climbs and enough expanse to roll downhill. On one of the crests I saw this huge burly truck driving on my side of the road. For those who aren’t used to Indian roads, every bit of tarmac belongs to any piece of machine that got there first. So here we have a behemoth of cranking metal rolling up towards me. My car can’t protect a mouse if it had to and I was running a list of all those I should inform after this accident.
For some wild and foolish reason I headed straight towards him and stopped my car. I shut off the engine quickly and this guy stopped short of kissing my panting 800 (now I know how she felt in Beauty and the Beast). I distinctly saw my 800 pull its fenders in. I was less than 3 feet away from sickly yellow metal with an oval plate hanging which pronounced the credo of every populated country: “We two ours two”. Yeah right! Try impressing my 800 with that line!!
The driver put his balding head out and I looked at him through my windshield chewing on gum that I had left back at home. I needed to do something to shut the thumping in my chest. Come on. Try standing up against a few tonnes of crazy steel which might not have stopped its mad rush towards you! He started shouting something at me. I lowered my glass slowly and put my head out and gave him a half closed I-am-inspired-by-Clint-Eastwood look. He gunned his engine and moved it a foot closer. My poor 800 sucked the grills in and away from the frothing mouth of this ugly thing. I stepped outside and tipped my head to either side and cracked my neck a bit (you have to do it in style!). I got my mobile out and peered towards his number plate and called mom!! :-)) I cut the call, of course. Mom should be the last person on earth to know that I pulled this stunt.
I spoke reverently and then loudly against the metallic monotony of an annoying tone.
“Haanji. Sartaj saab hain gharpar?” (“Yes, Is Mr. Sartaj at home?”)
“Bula dijiyega” (“Please call him”)
“Namaste Uncle. Kaise hain? Sab khairiyat to hai?” Pause “Ji ammi bilkul teekh hain” (“Hello Uncle. How are you? Everything fine? Yes, mom is doing good.”)
“Nahin nahin. Everything is fine” (“No, no” come on, the rest of that was in English!)
Pause and a smile and then sternly looking at the driver.
“Uncle aap office pahunch gaye?” (“Uncle, have you reached office?”)
“Uncle, This truck driver” then I realised that he might not know English “nahin nahin. Ye truck driver galat raste pe chalaake humari gaadi ko thokne wala tha. Abhi gaali de raha hai hume” (“This truck driver was driving on the wrong side of the road and was about to collide with my car. Now he is swearing at me.”
“Haan, haan. Office ke paas.” (“Yes, yes, near the office”)
Pause and I smile a “I gotcha egg-head” smile
“Nahin uncle aapke aane ki koi zaroorat nahin. Madhapur Police Station se Nageshwar Rao ko…” (“No uncle, you needn’t come down for this. If you could get Nageshwar Rao from the Madhapur Police Station to…”)
I looked up to see a scared driver. I ended the call with the usual niceties and put my phone back and walked over to my car. The driver got down and started asking me why I was making a big issue out of this (which I now realise I did! 😦 but actually I didn’t!! 😉 and that he would back off and go his way. I told him that he could go anywhere but I have his license plate number. Then I cocked my head to the right asking him to leave and he frog jumped into his cockpit and slowly backed his truck. I watched my 800 relax and get back her sneer!! He went back on his road (after getting shouted at by other people who were already driving on it and whose way he was cutting into)….