Wednesday, June 13, 2007

how i get to work

I love going to work. Before you start thinking that I’m one of those over-enthu first bencher types, let me clarify. I like ‘going to’ work. By that, I mean the process of getting from home to office. Because I never know what that process is going to be like.

On some days when my husband is feeling particularly vengeful, he throws his well-used diesel car at me, challenging me to maneuver the beast through the well-used roads of Bangalore that has too many users. And… reach my office without bruising the beast. This of course shakes up my delicate mental balance, and I’m pretty much useless at work that day.

On days when my husband is willing to go through the torture himself, and I intend to be productive, I do my usual thing in the morning and beg the security guy to please find me an auto that will go to the worst place in the world, Inner ring road. And I won’t pay extra or double or whatever. Tall order in bengalooru, ain’t it? And so, my order is never taken seriously. So I start the journey by foot, not knowing if some kind stranger (and not psycho) might take pity on me and give me a lift, or some kind auto driver might be willing to take my hard earned money to drop me to work. Or some half empty bus might stop right next to me and take me in the general direction of where I am going.

Most often, I get lucky with the auto guys, with a little bit of walking and a lot of persevering. Sometimes I get lucky with some neighbour who needs company for the dreadful journey (theirs). And sometimes, with complete strangers (all women) who have already gotten lucky with the auto guys and are willing to share their loot. Of course, this is the interesting part. The people who share their autos with me. While some are less than willing to share their seats, others are a little more sympathetic.

There was Uma, who by the way spoke English the way she spoke Bengali, who made sure that both of us lost the auto ‘cause he wanted money from both of us. Good point. Why should we have to pay double to Shylock, when he gives us both the same ride eh? So she got another auto, and I tempted her and the other auto driver into a deal that made both of them happy. (No, I’m not going into the deal now)

And then there was Shreya, who was willing to drop me till BEML gate, while the auto driver was unwilling. And then I found out she was going to almost where I was going. So we ganged up and gave him a raw deal by sharing the meter fare!!!! Can you believe we did that? AND, she gave me her number and asked me if she could give me a ride EVERYDAY!!! Nice girl I thoughtJ If she was a guy, I might’ve married her. Or if I was lesbian. (And was in Canada) And, of course, if I wasn’t married. But this post is not about my marital life.

And then, there was this one day when I got into a bus which looked like it might take me a kilometer ahead. But, the bus conductor was less than willing to answer my questions on where the hell he was going. Maybe he thought it was none of my business where he was going. Maybe he didn’t like my unmade-up face. Maybe he didn’t like my hand-me-down clothes. Maybe he didn’t like the fact that I spoke in, of all the Indian languages, English! Anyway, I got down at a point when he was losing his cool and I thought was slightly closer to work, and continued my journey on foot… And you know what I found out? It is possible to walk over a flyover!!! It had never occurred to me that people could actually walk on flyovers. Can you imagine my happiness? I was grinning all the way to work, and caused a somewhat minor accident because of that. But I continued grinning…J

Ah…the joy of going to work!


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