Today, I left home, running late again, thanks to my mother’s penchant for cooking me well-balanced insipid meals. I mean, she is a nice cook otherwise, but mornings get to her and she can never finish cooking insipid rice + insipid sambar + insipid vegetable + insipid breakfast. And telling her to leave one insipid component out doesn’t help. That my father’s favourite morning exercise is galloping from one end of the house to another whistling and making other funny sounds doesn’t help either. But then, he seems to find great solace in the act of running around the house. It makes him look busy. Hence – despite the presence of a washing machine, clothes must be subjected to third degree torture – no palpable difference in the whiteness of our whites; the bathroom, however, is a mess. To add insult to injury, after third degree torture, they are transported in ones and twos by father dearest, who cradles them like babies on his trip to the washing machine (babies who drip pee/water all over the house giving my mother good reason to go slip in them and then claim that the act of almost-slipping has permanently damaged her coccyx). But my SAB TV sitcom-material family is not the main focus of this post.
Going back to line one, as I stepped out, dreading the running behind buses that are not kind enough to stop and autos who don’t seem to want to go anywhere at all, including jahannum. I know about the last because I always ask autowallahs if they want to go there and they usually say no if they haven’t driven off yet. I don’t know; people were kinder when I was younger; buses generally stopped if you found your centre (and the centre of the bus) and ran towards the bus waving your arms. They were nice uncles. And I have always had long arms. How I digress. Today, the first auto I found agreed to take me where I wanted to go, an entirely undesirable place. I was overwhelmed with warm feelings of affection and had to resist the urge to hug him and give him a big puppy.
But that doesn’t take away from the angry young woman I usually am. All the peace karma I earned doing yoga in Bihar evaporates when I need to take an auto. My beautiful green umbrella broke a rib when I banged it on an auto windscreen on a particularly rainy day when I needed to get something really urgent done which required me to be anything other than soaking wet which I was. Sadly, nothing happened to the auto windscreen. On another taxing morning, an errant auto driver whose vehicle was commandeered by force when he refused polite means grumpily muttered something about how he would push me out of the auto if I were a man. I almost challenged him to a midnight duel in black clothing and masks but decided it was safer to unleash another round of kutte-kameeney verse instead.
Because that rascala might have the gall to ask for midnight fare to come duel with me.