November 25, 2012

What I learn from my scooter

A month on the scooter has taught me so much about the notion of patience.

Initially, I praised road etiquette to my mother, telling her how other vehicles stopped to let me pass and put up with me riding at 10 kmph. But that was probably because I was out on the roads at 6 am and everyone else on the road was too sleepy to bother.

Owning a scooter also teaches me about nature and the advantages of not parking under a tree. Yes, coconuts can fall and take your wing mirror down. But there are only so many coconuts on a tree. Birds are far more relentless. My scooter is a bird-poop magnet. From the stupendous quantities of crap I shake off every morning, it really seems like the birds spend all day doing that. Has anyone looked into converting bird poop into an energy source? There's definitely a lot of it and it smells. I'm sure it can be put to some use.

Patience is a delusional virtue that appears in your 6 am hallucination. Sometimes, if a vehicle behind me keeps sounding its horn for no good reason (and they usually don't have a good reason) - like when the traffic lights are just about to turn green and there's no movement, or worse still, when the traffic lights are still very red, I force them to follow me at 10 kmph for a stretch out of sheer spite. It takes them time to escape, because a hundred vehicles rushing across the road like people rushing towards the food at a Kerala wedding can really slow everyone down.

K, who taught me how to ride and who convincingly elicited delight when I recounted my exploits (today I went at 7 am; there were two cars on the road!/ I did 25 km; I'm so cool. / I went past Juhu circle!) told me that I would be in the throes of road rage for a while. I was very calm the first few times and felt that it must be all the vipassana I did some months ago. But that calm eludes me sometimes - for instance, when vehicles cut into my lane even when I could scrape their sides nastily if I felt so inclined (and injure myself, yeah). Or when I encounter persistent horn-lovers who could just sit on their horns and be done with it. 

Since I am rarely a finger-shaking, pistol-showing type (which is hard anyway, given that you are riding at 40 kmph), I must be content with the witty rejoinders I mumble to myself, and occasionally, the joy of seeing their faces after I give them the finger. 

Oh, and nothing can surpass the joy of giving someone the finger when I'm in a dance practice sari. First they laugh at my sari because they don't know what it is - hahahaha, she forgot the bottom half of her sari. Hahaha she is wearing a salwar under her sari. Hahaha what is she wearing?! Then they try to overtake and when they fail because I am sneakier, they get behind me and toot their horn madly. Sometimes they actually time the tooting to make it sound like - ge-t-ou-t-of-the-wa-ay! And then I show them my lithe dancer's finger.

They say that dance is the mother of all arts. Truly, sabki amma. Touché.

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