I was sitting in one of the thousands of autos that pollute Mumbai on a daily basis. How we don’t have a hole in the Ozone layer here beats me…:D. Oh well, better the Aussies than us!
The auto wala, after 5 minutes of staring at the signal (note – do not call a signal a ‘red-light’ in Mumbai unless you want an incredulous glance and maybe a few lectures).
“Traffic JAAM hai yahaan pe.” He grumbled and looked around at me expectantly.
“Hmmm”, i muttered as i did not have anything to say. Its MUMBAI. What else can you expect??
All of a sudden i heard a couple of giggles and out of no where these two little boys on a bicycle jumped over the divider smack bang in front of the auto. And they were stuck between a car in front of them that refused to budge and a gigantic bus.
After a few more giggles, i saw they had a punctured tyre. One of the boys saw me smiling and ran to me…”Hey hey lift dedo didi , dekho tyre puncture ho gaya hai.”
“Abeee bhaaag yaaaha se.” The auto wala shook a fist, which evidently the little pipsqueak thought was funny.
I was like “Chalo aajao, kidhar jaana hai?”
“Yaheennn……saamme jaana hai didi!” Two big eyes stared at me and i felt my self metling.
They climbed into the auto and we even managed to fit the bicycle in!
A few more giggles ensued while the auto -wala muttered under his breath. The signal still did not change.
When i asked them for their names, i found out that the taller one was Zaheer and he was all of 7 years old. The younger one was Salmaan and he was 5. Salmaan and Zaheer offered me a toffee which i politely declined. The toffee then became a topic of dispute with Salmaan wanting to eat it on his own and Zaheer telling him that his teeth would fall off.
“Nahin Girenge”. Salmaan look sulky.
“Gir jayenge phir papa maarenge. Hahahahahaha.”
“NAHINNNN.” Salmaan shouted joyfully.
“Abe chup karo na!” The auto-wala snapped at both of them, who in turn looked at me. I pretended to be invisible.
The chatter of little kids never ceases to amaze me. I was like this as well…i could talk nineteen to the dozen and i had my imaginary friends as well. Lol. Now i am 25 and i feel so old. And people say my life is almost starting. Oh the irony!
The signal changed and almost instantanously a million horns started blaring. I don’t think that these horns serve any purpose other than increasing the BP of everyone around. Our auto wala did not intend to be out-done either.
Peeeaa-pe-pepe-peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…the sound almost made me feel like smacking the back of his bald head.
Anyhow Zaheer and Salmaan were dropped off a kilometer down the road, and i was rewarded with a big smile from the both of them.
The auto driver muttered something more as we drove off. I think it sounded more like “saab pagal hain”. But i thought it was better if i did not clarify.
What cute children, i thought. Perhaps i’d want two now. One would be like Agnes from Despicable Me. The other, well…i don’t want my children to drive in the middle of peak hour traffic but…:)