Skip to main content


It was 11 a.m. In a tearing hurry to reach work, I quickly reversed my car out of the gate, quite a tight spot, and hit the ring road at a fairly good speed. Just as I was about to take the compulsory left turn, I saw a woman [in her mid-40s] under an umbrella frantically waving. Of course, she was no long lost friend. Almost screeching to a halt, I scrolled down the car window and looked at her, questioningly. She requested, “Madam, if you are going towards India Gate, could you drop me off to a point close by?” Having inculcated the habit of viewing every stranger with suspicion, the plea put me in a fix. Seconds later, I thought, for God's sake, she’s only a woman desperate for a lift in this hot weather and can’t harm me in broad daylight.

So, I opened the back door, not in all wiseness. As soon as she got in, she asked me which way I was taking. I said ITO. She said bingo. “I also work around that area. Khuda ne bheja aap ko mere liye” [You are God sent]. Well, not really flattering on a weekday. Also, I realised my car stereo was better left turned off as her masculine voice was almost shattering the insides of my small car. The feeling was a little eerie as she continued, “I have seen you many times… you also have a sister who is fair." [What did she mean that I was as black as charcoal?]

Slowly, the conversation picked up momentum. I was curious about this woman. But I did the mistake of asking her where she worked, because from then on, there was no stopping her. In that 20-minute drive, I learnt all about her life – how she started as a singer in five-star hotels, how she graduated to singing ghazals and heavier stuff, how she got separated from her husband, how her daughter moved to Canada to live with her mom, how she landed up with a job in a lawyer’s office and how she lives alone and loves it. Interesting. The word ghazal perked me up. Followed a bit of exchange of old shayaris. Not bad! It was like going back to my summer-house days at the university. We had struck a friendship of sorts.

Destination reached. I swerved to the corner for her to alight. “Oh, by the way, what’s your name?” “Sunaina," she said. I told her, "Beautiful name." “Yours too”, and with that she disappeared into the busy ITO junction.

That was a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday as I was getting out of my gate, I was caught in a minor traffic jam. An idiotic truck driver had parked bang in the middle of this narrow road outside my house. I almost got into road rage (so common these days in Delhi, they killed a guy on Monday because he refused to give way to two motorists. So the motorists followed the guy in the car only to kill him at a point when the traffic was moving at a snail’s pace.) that I, too, wanted to kill the truck-driver at that point of time.

Just then, Sunaina tapped onto my car window. [The truck driver just got saved :)]. “Oh, hello” I said and opened the door. This time, I coaxed her into singing. And boy, there was so much depth in her voice that as she sang Begum Akhtar's"Ishq main gairat-e-jazbaat", for once, I wished the traffic came to a halt. “Isn’t this funny?” I told Vishaka, later in office. “I just offered a woman a lift and we are singing partners already.”


Hey, that's a great post. Amazing how we can escape life's mundanities with a little help from strangers, isn't it?
Jayant said…
I loved this post! It was just so different from what you usually write about. So much hapens in your life. Mine's so boring. :-/
Indira said…
the marauder's map... figured out. shrabonti bagchi. how you doing babe? and how's the little one? loved going through your posts as well... update it.

Popular posts from this blog

A Mad Man Or A Boor

What does one do when one encounters a mad dog? Or what does one do when one encounters a man with pre-fixed notions about everything in life, most specifically of women who live alone and give him some importance? The two are equivalent to me and basic intelligence says avoid the paths they tread like plague. But I chose to tackle them head on. I almost got rabbies. The mad man said [sic] " You sound like a very desperate person. A single and frustrated woman who is looking for anyone to leave a comment on your blog so much so that you wouldn't even spare a spammer ." Spammer being, the first comment on the previous post is apparently a spam, an advert for T-shirts. Bummer! I thought it was a handsome Spaniard or Latino, so I had replied "Hi Rodrigo", hoping to take the conversation forward offline. Anyway! All this the mad man found out. I didnt. Sure, I dig comments because I love the spontaneity and intelligence of my friends. And I didn't invite the ma


Two million people at the National Mall in Washington alone. The world watched too as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. So did I. I rudely cut roomie's soap operas and switched to CNN to witness history being created. Some day I may live to tell the tale of how Barack, the much touted Afro-American President of the United States, stumbled with his swearing-in oath. I was a bit disappointed as I watched the man who had run the most successful of election campaigns, the man who Americans were pinning their hopes on, take his oath. Clearly, he was under too much of a pressure to be the best. So before Chief Justice John Roberts could complete the first sentence, there was Obama abruptly breaking out into his first names... " I Barack Hussein Obama.." and then waited for the judge to complete the sentence.. The next line was even taxing. He stopped short after two words... " That I will excute ..." and then Justice Roberts cont

Good Girls Don't Drink?

I have been disturbed by the news coming out of my region – the northeast of India - where a teenage girl coming out of a bar at 9:30 pm was molested and beaten by a group of 20 men. The news has even found its way down under for the shocking nature of it. Tabloids and even TV have carried the news. I have always prided myself in belonging to a region that is known for its high tolerance and where women are generally safe and independent. But I have always felt a bit squidgy about Guwahati unlike the rest of the seven sisters. The place is so like the rest of India in many ways, dirty and claustrophobic. That explains why bars are looked upon as sleazy places and women going there beaten up as with the recent case. Just 150 km away is Shillong, the place where I grew up. Night clubs thrive there and till date there has been no case of attacks against women. Reading the news, I am appalled by some of the reactions. “But the girl was drinking,” or “only prostitutes visit that