Now the title is not a bid to get the attention of all those mommy-bloggers! It is just an incident (or social experiment as the Joker would say) that occurred in my life otherwise filled with ennui (that is actually not true – just wanted to sound like martyr today…).
This occurred a couple of rainy Fridays back…when I was driving to meet Dee for dinner. (oh that’s funny…hyuk hyuk! Get it? …C for Cat and Dee for…nevermind…)
Anyway…as happens often when the Gods cry their tears to wash away our sins of summer…most of Mumbai appears to stand still. As if taking a moment off from their busyness to look up in silent wonder. (If anyone didn’t realize that was my euphemism for the monsoon traffic jams…please leave right now.) In reality Mumbai transforms into a massive sound-stage for the “Irritated Driver Philharmonic Orchestra” without a conductor. The resulting harmony is a cacophony of bleats and honks and minute “triiing-triiings” from the poor cyclists getting drenched to their skin and probably hiding their tears in the rain. (Try telling them that the meek shall inherit the earth!) The music is often accompanied with an amazing Choral section with carnal dedications to every class of female relative; and impassioned promises of impaling rear-ends with sticks, antennas, exhaust pipes and so on. Charming.
Such was the scene in which I existed for three lifetimes – trying to block out the wall of sound with … well another wall of sound inside my car. Then miraculously the scene before me cleared. I didn’t believe it until I saw the red lights in front of me getting smaller. I moved forward and my smile shone through the intermittent interruption of the wipers. I was so happy with my new found freedom and so engrossed in the sounds of James Blunt’s Bedlam that I almost didn’t notice a Hyundai Santro without headlights, honking desperately while trying to overtake on a single lane road. Now I am the sort of person who is a patient driver and let’s others in a tearing hurry overtake. No ego when someone wants to go – is my mantra. But I am little picky about who overtakes me. Driving a Porsche and desperately want to prove to your girlfriend that it was worth the money? Go ahead…be my guest. But a Santro without headlights on a single lane road? I don’t think so… So i resisted. He kept honking and kept coming closer to me… and there was a real risk of the Ben Hur finale being recreated in Powai… but I was determined. No way, No how, No Overtakin.
Soon both of us realized a trip to the repair shop was futile…and screeched to a halt…right next to each other…followed by a mexican wave of screeches of behind us. I looked at the maniac…he was listening to loud Himesh Reshammiya…and was glaring at me, waving wildly and mouthing what seemed like a love poem to my non-existent sister. I had two choices…either ignore him and carry on…or give him somethin back. Gandhi and Mangal Pandey collided in my head and found Dennis the Menace instead. I lowered my window…and through the rain…said loudly – “Agar Maa ka doodh piya hain to baahar nikal.” (If you have had your Mother’s milk – come out (and fight)”
Non Indians (and even South Indians for that matter) will not understand the primal nature of this statement. But in the India we love, Maa Ka Doodh equates to masculinity. Or something I really haven’t figured out. But it is enough to rouse anger in the meekest of men. And this guy didn’t exactly look meek. He roared and stepped out of the car into the rain and ankle deep slush. Impervious to pain, rain, stain and the resurgent orchestra honking in vain, he slish-sloshed his way around to my car. I let him get real close…and just when he was about to reach my door – stepped on the gas and unleashed 75 horses of pure acceleration – spraying him with muddy water and floating rats and leaving him with wet clothes, middle-finger sticking out of the window and triumphant tail lights.
As I looked in the rear view mirror…the bully appeared stunned, dumbfounded for a few moments – before starting to run behind me!! He soon realized that running in slush would even slow down Usain Bolt…and gave up… waving his hands in the air and shouting like a madman…
That was the last I saw of him. Though he left me with no doubt that his mother gave him plenty of milk – I don’t think she gave him any manners.