Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Right Royal Ride..

All through the past few months, I have watched the world around me fret and worry about the recession. And tighten their purse strings which, in my rather uninformed opinion, can only aggravate the situation. The recession is taking its toll on the morale and good humour of the vast majority. So it is with no great enthusiasm that I trudge out to work each morning.
My bad humour is mostly rooted in the fact that I am not a morning person. I tend to amble around in senseless circles till about 11 a.m by when the steaming mugs of near-black coffee would begin to disperse the fog in my mind.
This morning was no different. I stood groggily on the pavement outside my flat - caffeine deprived & clueless about the next logical course of action. I was weighed down on the one side by a giant laptop bag stuffed with paraphernalia, most of which I wasn't sure I needed but retained all the same. On the other side, dangled my plump snack bag which threatened to burst at its seams any moment. I was mentally redundant but continued to struggle valiantly to find my bearings in the sunny, noisy world around me.
The need of the hour was a ride to work, I decided. And no sooner had I identified the need, I spotted the solution in the distance, noisily chugging my way .
Sporting my best smile, I raised my hand to flag down the rickshaw. But my hand was arrested mid air by the sight of strange rays of light which seemed to emanate from within the rickshaw. As I squinted and blinked moronically, the glinting tuk-tuk glided to a stop right in front of me..Much like an alien carriage.
A beaming waif, sporting a faint growth of fuzz on his chin, beckoned invitingly at me as I continued to gape rudely at his vehicle.
A good whole moment of unabashed staring brought home the realisation that the glint which almost seared my eyeballs was no part of an alien space ship. Nor was it metal cargo being transported to an unknown destination.
It was, believe it or not, a giant Taj Mahal crafted in steel. And even worse, it had a picture of Aishwarya Rai-Bachan in mujra finery, plastered across its facade.
As I stared mutely at the apparition in front of me, the waif once again waved me in cheerfully.
You will only make a spectacle of yourself
warned the voices in my head
Imagine, riding into work seated on a red velvet mughal throne with the Taj Mahal almost on your lap? How much more ridiculous can you look?
For once, the voices made sense.
I could almost visualise the expressions of barely concealed glee on the faces of my colleagues if I was spotted in this contraption. But lady luck was obviously out for an extended coffee break, for there was no other transport in sight. Clearly it was my day for strange experiences of the historical kind and so gritting my teeth, I gingerly clambered in.
Up close and personal, the Taj Mahal was horrendous!!!
If it sported a star on its facade, the inside of the monument was no less stellar. Through the little windows, I could see a cheerful yellow sun with golden rays and white clouds!!! And the icing on the cake was its spired dome which bore the reflection of an illuminated Spiderman who hung off the ceiling of the rickshaw.
As I absorbed the scenario in front of me, I noticed that I had company!.
Flanking me on either side was a Hindu king who seemed more engrossed in wrestling with a giant toothless tiger than make conversation with me. But to make up for the sporting royal, there was the Bollywood hunk Sanjay Dutt looking a little hung-over from his dopey days.
As we regally made our way through the crowded roads, the waif -Rafeeq -flicked his wrist swiftly and suddenly, the entire rickshaw was flooded with high decibel but still inaudible strains of music encased in much static.I suspect it was Shehnai and suffered the cacophony with the vain hope that Rafeeq's periodic thumping on the sound box would prove effective. But eventually, my poor ear drums pleaded for reprieve and I had no choice but to insist that he turn off the music.
I reached work a good hour late....Not surprising when one considers the speed at which the rickshaw ambled forward. As I alighted at my destination, I could not resist asking Rafeeq if I could take pictures of his rather unique vehicle.
" Madam, you like? I fixed it only last week...I get Taj Mahal cheaper..Good time now to modify auto...Customer also enjoy...I have even sent picture to Udaya TV...Maybe they show on TV" Intoned the visibly puffed up Rafeeq as I clicked away on my handheld. But the best was yet to come "...Madam, you see my auto at night, with its inside lights on...It looks very nice.." And then, with a sudden note of hope in his voice "I pick you this evening from office? No extra charge? Then you take more photos? "
As I politely declined the gracious offer, suppressing the shudder that it evoked in me, I could not help but applaud the spirit of this humble auto driver who looked at the problem and saw only the opportunity it held out to him.
Perhaps there is a lesson in there for all of us who are still moaning and griping about the times we live in!!!


Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed this one. I would have loved a ride in this auto too...just to pep me up!!

Miaow!!! said...

hehehe, it was actually fun, once I got past the awkwardness of being the spectacle....
And I saw an entire kaleidascope of expressions between home and work
:) :)

Roopa said...

That is one "monumnetal" experience! You should have asked him to come and pick you up. Come on, he deserved it. Perhaps your eyes and ears don't though :D

Miaow!!! said...

LOL, to be very honest, I was rather unnerved at the prospect of riding home in a Chandini-bar-like rickshaw...