18-Jun-2006

One morning


This morning I got into an auto rickshaw. I cannot call it just an auto. Nay, Sir. It was a mammoth version of its species, meant to carry at least 6 people and about 3 feet above the ground. Most unlike normal autos that can carry only 3 people and is usually 1 foot about the ground. Since there was no other auto and I was already running late, I got into the vehicle and we were on our way. I was perched like a washer man on his donkey, but I tried to look elegant and comfortable. Just when I was actually beginning to enjoy the view from up there, I realised an annoying sound in the background like that of a buffalo grunting continuously. After a few seconds, I realised it was the background score of my majestic auto. Clearly, today I would be the center of attraction. That would not have been such a bad thing, had it not been for the fact the auto driver decided to take the Boat Club route.

The easiest route to my friend’s house involves going through the most posh area in the city. The Boat Club area houses the rich and famous in their modest Rs 5 cr homes. This is not to say they are flashy loud people. Infact, being old money, it is an unusually quiet neighbourhood with plenty of trees lining both sides of the road and blocking the views of most houses from the road. I have noticed that except for cars, no one else uses this short cut. Mere two wheelers and three wheelers are usually discouraged by all the quiet and solemnity. And of course none of the residents drive anything less than a four-wheeler.

So there we were, ready to enter boat club. What seemed like a buffalo grunting in peak traffic now sounded like a herd of buffalos stampeding in the quiet Boat Club area.

Have you ever tried to nonchalantly sip tea in an elegant hotel that you have entered by mistake? You are obviously not dressed for the occasion and can feel the polite indifference of various elegant people in their expensive clothes. The five minute ride felt like that. In the balmy sun, there I was. People on the road craned their necks ever so gently to see this wannabe rich woman who had commanded her auto driver to parade here around the neighbourhood. The people were of course largely servants who were basking in the richness of their employers and hence were prone to be even more judgmental.

Does this matter anyway, you may ask. The answer is no. But there are some moments in life when you find yourself in a vaguely hilarious position and this sure counted as one for me.

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