Seems every time I go out, there is something odd or unpleasant waiting for me out there. Perhaps it’s a sign – to get out of home and enjoy the wild world outside. I get the wildness but I miss the enjoyment part.
Today Amma (Mother) and I went out to do a few to-dos. And yes, I finally got that picture taken. My attempts to cover my cheekbones with hair went in vain. They stood projecting all over my cheeks and I got christened to Ms Fat Face. The studio did a good job covering all my pimples and old age marks (old age starts in twenties when your skin sags like somebody just bombed all the bones out of your face) with some Photoshop help – maybe a lot of Photoshop help.
Now the mishap. We were in the heart of the city at 7 p.m. and we couldn’t find a single auto rickshaw. I suggested walking – am not good with kilometers, lets say it would have been a 40-minute walk to my home. My Mom vetoed it. So we walked first leftwards towards a busier junction. This happened to be in the opposite direction of my house. We found humans all around us jumping into auto rickshaws and riding happily. Somehow when it came to us, the rickshaw was either packed, or free but not willing to go (they show the unwillingness by turning their head away sharply registering a don’t-look-at-me-I-don’t-like-it expression). Some just never saw us, a few decide to stop running for the day when they see us (we probably looked like epitomes of early retirement), some decide to press buttons on their mobile phones that looked like an attempt to avoid prospective passengers’ eyes. Maybe I should empathize with these people. I guess they hate their job after all. And I always thought riding all around the city, watching the world and its events happily, and getting paid for it was like a dream job. Too bad my driving skills are on a vacation – for 50 years. Come seventies, and I will be at my best!
I seem to have written an epic on auto rickshaws. Well I personally like these vehicles. They are so open and friendly looking, you’d almost feel they have a face that stretched backwards and a bald head that grew hair on rainy days, when the shutters fall down from top.
After a long wait at this new busy junction, my brain bulbs were beginning to illuminate. “We will find the bus stop”. With the help of another auto rickshaw driver who couldn’t take us (he was apparently waiting for other passengers), we discovered the bus stop (already discovered by many no-auto-finders). It meant going all the way back to where we started from and beyond that. Telling Amma that we already walked the distance to our home with all this auto-hunt didn’t seem to lift her spirits up. Somewhere in between, a guy put his head out from an auto rickshaw and asked “Didn’t you go yet?” I don’t know who he is, but if I recognize him again, I will throw him 16000 kilometers up in the space.
And finally we got our bus. It was a nice friendly bus. I always had a thing for buses – especially bus rides after 6. They bring into the bus the smell and taste of all the beauty of the evening. Unless of course it’s so packed with your nose blocked by someone’s humongous set of bags that you have lost all sense of smell or taste!
Well that’s all. We reached home and I was my happy self again. Watching the photos of Ms Fat Face gave me a momentary lapse of happy emotions but the memory of all that walking and the bus ride brought back my cheery self. Another add-on was meeting my old drill teacher from school on the way. She looked older and tired and told me about her legs having trouble. I felt sad and happy and remembered a few scenes back in school, a few lines we used to associate with her as her typical lines. I felt a guilty conscience coming out of my mind and doing a stupid dance in front of me. I kicked it off and said I was a stupid kid back then what did I know. Meeting her and talking to her for a couple of minutes and hearing that old voice which rang clearly in my memory was, well, was not to be drowned in midst of all the auto and bus tales. That’s it then. I oughta sleep now.