And in a situation like this, you form this warm, cosy community of sorts with all those people in the cars in your immediate vicinity, some of whom you'll remember for a few days afterward. Like this guy on my tail, inching up right behind me. Cute. Specs. Probably driving his mum back from or to someplace, for I was happy to notice the advanced years of Auntyji in the front seat. Nice boy. Good rear-view mirror potential. Till some Aggro Uncles in an ugly WagonR booted him from view. Sigh!
Then there was this exec-type in a Maruti SX4, that manly car for men, who was rather self-importantly peering into his laptop. Curious Benjamin Button that I am, I kept sneaking a peek on the right to see what he was so self-importantly doing. Nothing. Just switching windows from Gmail to some document. No new mails. No one to ping him. Boring looking document too, with self-important type highlights in pink. Pink! Yikes. I might have understood some YouTube surfing, say for the ND Tiwari-living-it-up video, or even aimless Gtalking. Or yellow highlights that mean business. But he seemed to be achieving nothing with that thing in his lap. Coolness factor of laptop-in-car-with-driver excluded, of course. From his self-important point of view, I might add.
Vying for space on my right was also this big SUV-type something. Big, black windows. Mean attitude. Kept trying to push ahead of me and the Laptop. As impatient as a car in a non-moving, standstill jam can possibly be. So very Delhi. But then so am I. After losing the cute tailgater, I wasn't about to give up on my only other pastime on that horribly cold evening, with me trying to make it home in time for Grey's Anatomy. (I was kinda looking forward to seeing what Sloan and Little Grey are up to.) So I kept laptop and myself in the game. All by myself; thwarting all attempts by the SUV to get on my right side. Strange, you think. Weird. But try getting stuck in a jam on Ashoka Road, right in front of the BJP's headquaters with a huge ugly poster of Vajpayee and other nonagenarians for company, and you'll know why I did what I did.
It was cold and Grey's Anatomy was starting to look like a distant dream...
And just when I was ready to scream, I smiled. It was this topi-wala little boy in the Maruti Zen ahead of me. He kept leaping out of the car to check out the traffic situation, confer with some auto-wallahs about the sorry state of this, our Capital city (or something along those lines) and, when chided for doing so, continued to valiantly push himself out of the window. Like a wiggle-wormy thing trying to escape. And then he must have got cold, so he dutifully put on his topi and found himself something else to do. So, suddenly, there was this rainbow-coloured duster that appeared out of nowhere, brandished by a scrawny arm, which started to wipe the top of the car. You know, the kind of feathery duster that people sell on cycles in your colony for cleaning your jaalaas? That one. And it cleaned and cleaned. Every few minutes. Surreptitiously.
And he made me smile. So, I changed the track on my iPod from a sappy ballad of no hope to some kick-ass Linkin Park mixed with Jay-Z and braved the one-and-a-half-friggin-hour drive back home, which usually takes me about 20 minutes and a bit. Such is CP these days. Don't come here. It sucks.
That said, please don't come here. Really. It'll make driving there for real people doing real work easier. And if you must, do bring your jaalaa cleaners along. Among other things like Tambola sets, karaoke consoles, Monopoly boards, Uno cards, maybe a badminton racquet or two, taash ka pattas. Preferably team games. Oh, and if you look to your left you might spot this curious-type staring into your car to check out what you're up to. Do roll down the window and say hi...