08-Oct-2006

Car story

Several weeks ago, one evening I was returning from a client meeting. I was quite ravenous and requested the office car driver to stop at a nearby bakery so I could pick up some snacks. I went in and made some selections and feeling quite pleased with myself for buying the last patty before another customer could, came out, got into the car and closed the door.
At this point, things went wrong. Instead of our sweet and meek car driver, a perfect stranger turned around and boomed in an irritated and inquisitive voice 'Excuse me'. That was when I realized I had gotten into the wrong car. Both cars were golden coloured Ford Ikons and the cars were parked in a haphazard way that precluded any checking of number (Not that otherwise it would have occurred to me to check the number).The stranger was on his mobile phone and presumably that explained his less-than-articulate dialogue. Not to mention, one is usually not geared up to handle situations where strangers begin popping into your car, complete with fresh food, and make themselves at home. I could not have gotten out of the car faster if I had discovered my co-passenger was a hungry Anaconda. The office driver was meanwhile was running to me to inform me that was not our car, a fact which I had gathered with first hand evidence by then.
Well, I was mortified to say the least and kept hoping the car driver would not tell anybody this story. The most striking thing about the whole situation when I thought about it later was that it was not too good on my ego. I have been watching Indian movies since the age of 1 and Indian movies are usually of the sugary syrupy kind where when the pretty heroine enters a stranger’s car by mistake, the stranger usually mutters a ‘wow’ in a this-is-my-lucky-day tone. The heroines usually (a) react by simpering equally if the driver is the Hero (b) proudly getting out if the driver is the Hero and it is one of those hate-turns-to-love movies or (c) beating a hasty retreat if the driver is a Goonda thus providing ample chances for the Hero to come to the rescue. While I would not have liked the story to continue on the lines of a, b or c, in my heart of hearts I was always hoping that when a situation like this happened to me, the driver would turn and say ‘wow’ in a this-is-my-lucky-day tone.
Sigh. Another reality check.

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