Thursday, July 17, 2008

Carless in Mumbai

I don’t own a car. Somehow I have not managed to possess one of those glittering beauties on the roads and public places, same as I haven’t been able to conquer (with my charms) the woman of my dreams, many of who still pass me by and call me “uncle”. Ah, well, somethings don’t happen, do they? No regrets, and all that junk….

Well, what if I don’t own a glittering beauty such as the Skoda Octavia? A trainee we have in the office owns one (dad, gave it to a trainee, believe this, you dumb moron! What did dad give me? I guess he gave me enough property to own several Skodas, but still that doesn’t give me the guts to buy a Skoda, environmental pollution, you see.). So I ask and am granted a ride to Andheri railway station. Oh, my goodness gracious, what a ride it was, smooth as silk, as if we were floating celestial entities, and how marvellous it seemed to a body used to the jarring jerks of a rickshaw!

If I have the money I will buy a Skoda, I am sure the ride convinced me of that. The trainee’s driver boasts that his speedometer has touched 180 kmph mark on the Mumbai-Pune expressway (the fastest expressway in the world, according to Wired magazine, quoted by Pragya in an response to an article I wrote right here and posted on Shakespeare & Company). Writes Pragya:

“Ironically, picked up a magazine yesterday - Wired (latest issue) - that had listed the fastest highways in the world -the Mumbai-Pune highway (A6 - I guess) was listed as one of the fastest in the world where the nouveau riche Ferrari drivers tested 170 mph speeds! Makes for an interesting juxtaposition to your words.”

Ride finished, I board a train and right there in front of me is the most ugly looking ass of a man, who comes and positions his posterior inches away from my nose. Yuck! All this when there are acres of virgin commuting space lying vacant to one side. Oh! What irony of cruellest fate that I should enjoy the luxury of a Skoda and then have to sit facing a sweaty asshole’s skinny arse.

I ask him to move to one side, which he does as if he has been asked to give up his post-dinner rasogulla or something. A dirty stare follows this. I don’t pay him much heed and continue reading my book: Salman Rushdie’s “The Enchantress of Florence” which oeuvre, truth be told by his greatest admirer in this world, has by that time detoured into the obscurest part of Florence, and the doings of Il Machio, Antonio, and Argalia, in the said dream city. Will I ever see that city so vividly described, or, even pass through it to Europe? Rushdie seems at his recherch√© best in the novel, not what I had expected of him when I bought the book.

Oh, what a ride, I think as I run the home stretch….

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