16.4.14

"Just Another Stupid Thing Trisha Did."

I know I've been supposed to talk about Nandi Hills, but I went through this horrible time where I had to fight this huge metaphorical war and I couldn't write, I couldn't write at all, and now I don't feel like writing about Nandi Hills. But I will sort of sum it up: We got there, it was painfully beautiful, watching the sun rise over that thick mist-wall, but it was spoiled by all the people around, it's the sort of place that needs solitude, not cameras. We sat on this slab of rock, and smoked a joint, and then lay down in the sun, and I took a little nap. And then we biked back to the city, and this was even more fantastic than the ride to Nandi Hills, because the sun was out, but the wind was cold, and everything was glittering.

And then we had dosa breakfast and went home and slept. And it wasn't even noon.

Anyway, to get back to that stupid thing I did. Last week, I had to visit this clinic. Just as I was entering, I tripped (naturally) and my sandal broke. Plus I was loaded with two huge bags because I've been a vagabond lately, flitting among various people's houses. So I was very flustered, and I paid for my appointment by card, and later that day, I got a call from them saying that I'd left my card behind. And my headphones which are actually my friend Harshita's headphones (very big, very expensive and very awesome).

"Alright," I said to the disapproving man at the other end of the line, "thanks for telling me. I'll swing by in a bit and pick it up."

Now this clinic is pretty close to office. Both places are just off 100 Ft Road in Indiranagar. About twenty minutes apart on foot. Since coming to Bangalore, I've been walking around everywhere quite a lot (which is why I can eat cake and not get fat - ha!), but it's very hot right now, and the sun was shining particularly brightly that day, so I didn't feel like it. But I didn't want to take an auto either because autos are bitches and I didn't want to shell out 80 bucks for a 5 minute rickshaw ride.

I was telling my colleague PK this, and he said, "Why don't you take my car?"

Not a bad suggestion. I've driven his car before. If a slow afternoon is happening at work, we usually pick up a couple of beers and then drink in  the car. I've often driven it to the next lane. I'm not a very good driver - mainly due to lack of practice - but I reckoned going straight down 100 Ft Road wouldn't be a problem.

So I cheerfully took his keys and started the engine. I accidentally reversed instead of moving to first gear which should have been my first warning, but I ignored it and took off, carefree and lighthearted. Disaster, however, was close (it always is, it follows me around, like birds do) - only a couple of minutes away.

I turned out of my office lane and got onto the main road. I was going really slowly - I'm incapable of driving fast - and was still on second gear when a car zoomed past me on the right. I had to swerve to avoid it, and I did, and went bang into an auto.

Oh god, the hell that followed.

I was surrounded by four or five autowallahs in an instant (the bitch car had taken off) and they were shouting at me, so I shouted back trying to explain that it wasn't my fault, but they kept shouting and I heard the dreaded 'police station' and once again, I shouted some more, and they shouted back, and this went on for a few minutes, and more people came and I decided to follow Bitch Car's example, and I just took off.

My heart was pounding, my hands were shaking, I took a left to the lane where the clinic stands, but didn't stop, because I had a feeling I was being followed. And I was. The autowallah caught up to me and I pulled over.

"FIVE THOUSAND RUPEES!" He was shouting.

"FOR WHAT?" I yelled back.

"AUTO, LOOK MADAM, LOOK WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY AUTO!"

I looked. Couldn't see anything.

"WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?"

"Dent on back, gone in."

"It wasn't my fault, I slammed on the brakes in time, didn't you see that car, I probably saved your life. If I hadn't hit the brake, you'd probably be dead." This part wasn't true of course, but I hoped it would soften him.

It did not.

"Police Station or five thousand rupees."

"I DON'T HAVE FIVE THOUSAND RUPEES." (And seriously, I don't. The autowallah's monthly income is probably a lot higher than mine). "And," I added, "There's no way that dent will cost 5000 rupees to fix."

And then I offered to give him my number and address and told him to bring me an invoice for damages and he insisted that repair shops don't do invoices. By this time I'd called PK and another colleague, Saikat, who will be known as The Lunatic on this blog, and they were on their way.

"YOU WERE SPEEDING, MADAM." Said he.

"SPEEDING? HOW CAN I SPEED? I WAS TRYING TO RUN AWAY FROM YOU AND YOU STILL CAUGHT ME AND I'M DRIVING A CAR? DO YOU THINK I KNOW HOW TO SPEED?"

This threw him for a bit, and while he was digesting it, I moved in for the kill.

"I'VE OFFERED TO PAY FOR YOUR DAMAGES BUT I INSIST ON SEEING AN INVOICE. YOU ARE TRYING TO EXPLOIT ME BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN."

"MADAM. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH."

"STOP SHOUTING AT ME! WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING AT ME?"

"No, no, madam. Not shouting." Instant change in tone.

"THEN WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?"

"No problem, Madam, no problem. Five thousand rupees, no problem."

"EXPLOITATION!"

"Madam..."

By this time, I was feeling a lot more confident and I stepped out of the car. The poor autowallah on the other hand, had put a fair amount of distance between us. PK and The Lunatic drove up on a bike just then, and the look of relief on his face was hilarious.

Many words were exchanged, with the autowallah apparently assuring them that he wasn't exploiting Madam. "I am an honest man. Always, I go by the meter."

The honest man was finally content with taking a grand and drove off without a backward glance.

But I'd broken the bumper on PK's car. He drove me back to office (with The Lunatic following behind) and I apologized profusely. Over and over again. PK was very nice about it, he must have been raging inside, he must have been like, damn this fffing girl. But to me, he said, "These things happen."

I needed to pay him for the damages which came to eight thousand, and for this, I had no choice - I had to call my mother.

I don't even want to begin to describe the conversation that occurred. Let me just say it was far from pleasant. Very, very, very, very far. But to cut a long story short, she sent PK the money, and she's deducting it from my rent. Also, the next day, she sent me a two page long e-mail that I also don't want to think about.

I know I should draw some sort of life lesson from this, but I can't think of one. Except - never borrow another person's car.

Unless you know how to drive really really fast.





2 comments:

Deniz said...

Hi,

Very nice blog. I saw your story "The Arranged Marriage" on Siye. Have you abandoned it? If not, hope you're still there and you can update it soon. Really nice story and I'd love to read more. It would be really a pity not completed. Thanks in advance.

Deniz.

Anonymous said...

SAme here, i hope you come back to Siye and finish your stories:)
Marina