My first thought when I realized that I had run out of chili powder was one of horror.
I had to get out of home and navigate the obstacle course that the outside world calls a road, not to mention the rest of the trials that go with it. As I consider alternatives, sadly nothing comes to mind and I reluctantly gear up for the inevitable. Anyway, the curry is awaiting a dash of chili and I have to be on my not so merry way.
With great trepidation, I take the turn from the Indian sweets store that abuts my gate onto the main road going towards the third gate. As I turn the steering wheel towards the right, I use my X-ray vision (it’s a mandatory super power while driving on Indian roads) to look through all the four-wheelers parked five feet from the kerb in front of the store. X-ray vision non –withstanding, I could barely discern the outline of the mighty trucks that blare their way through this stretch. I inch my way forward by holding my right hand out in a stop sign. Before you ask, yes, that works most times, but you have to wear an idiotic grin on your face and keep nodding in the general direction of the traffic begging for forgiveness.
Finally, I’m able to cross the road and the grin drops. I can’t imagine smiling through the next hurdle- the crater ravaged ….sorry, words fail me at this time. Those that have escaped its deep belly know exactly what I’m talking about. As I strain my neck to look over the hood of my car, I see the usual chaotic scene unfold in front of me.
Every car is doing the “now you see me, now you don’t” move as they dip and rise in the potholes. The 2 wheelers are doing the disco dance, showing off their evasive moves. I feel every bump and jarr and the only saving grace is the bundle I saved on my monthly massage.
I see it, I see it! The mythical third gate flyover. Steeped in mystery regarding the completion date, it looks like a relic from a bygone era that everyone now pays homage to. So near yet so far and with a final blaring honk I make it past the third gate. My relief is short-lived, as here come the motorists who fervently believe that it is their constitutional right to drive into oncoming traffic. As I deftly manoeuver my little car past them, I am now a certified sign language expert as I gesture wildly at them. Their stoic calm in the face of such overwhelming hand movements makes me want to up the ante on my Bharatanatyam gestures. Arre! Traffic is no deterrent to these death-defying Bollywood motorists who put Singham to shame.
Here comes the second gate and I play the fastest tyre first with the mini tempo next to me ferrying iron rods that are protruding 3 feet out of the back. My victory is short-lived as he makes a dash for it (the iron rods are holding me ransom) and crosses the railway tracks. The final insult is a big splash of stagnant rainwater cascading all over my car as he misjudges the depth of the pothole he just sped over.
I’m breathing deeply by now, revving up to give him a taste of his own medicine when a cyclist comes towards me ( in the wrong direction, obviously) starts doing the shimmy on his cycle as he hurriedly wobbles out of my way after looking at my indignant expression. Sigh! My quarry has escaped by now.
Resignedly, I turn onto the main road and my destination is the big supermarket which is now the place to be seen (since we have nowhere else to go!). Having edged my car into a tight-fitting spot, I dream of dashing in and dashing out, but alas the dream lays shattered, as I see a mass convention taking place inside. Did everyone need to shop today? I brave the throngs, politely ask people to step away from me when they get too cozy, ignore all the barbs and missiles heading my way. As I exit and head towards my car, I find two more blocking my race to freedom. Do these drivers assume that behind every parked car is free petrol? How am I supposed to back out? Don’t be smart and ask me to use my superpowers, they are nearing depletion point by now. As I start to turn around to stomp my way back to the entrance, two gentlemen hurry towards those cars and speedily drive away. Whaaaat!!!! I don’t even get an apology!!!!
I sit in the car and visualize my long arduous two-km journey back home. I know, I know, you’ve reached exhaustion point too and I shall be magnanimous enough and leave the trials of my return journey for another day. Sorry, just can’t help it, I have to give you a peek preview. I had a wee bit of trouble with our “Smart” City works and the pedestrians who have taken jaywalking to another level.
Back home, I’m just happy to add the chili powder to the curry, and as my hand reaches for the Haldi powder……
Time to don the cape again!