A year back this day, I set foot in Gurgaon for the first ever time in life. The sight that greeted me was impressive and intimidating all at once – a world class toll booth, a huge highway, architectural monstrosities (or beauties, for beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder), and absolutely no kirana stores.
To top it all, I could not set eyes on any kind of public transport other than cycle rickshaws.
That is when I decided – if there is anyone in this cursed town I should look up to with great compassion and kindness, that would be its cycle rickshaw drivers. In fact, I would promise myself every time I battled through the pothole ridden roads of Gurgaon that when I drove my own car, I would never ever honk or disturb the rickshaw wallahs ahead of me, unlike those “uncouth” other drivers. For, after all, the poor guys were literally heaving and hauling heavy weights around the place to earn their living!
However, memory is such a short-lived b**ch after all. And, don’t all of us suffer from selective amnesia?
The car came. Were I glad or what that my not-so-honeymoonish period with the rickshaws was finally over? I did religiously stick to my vows of never over taking anything on the road, including the infamous Gurgaon pigs. Oh, no, don’t jump to conclusions about my road discipline. I was just mortally scared of the roads and the driving and all the related paraphernalia.
Well, as is with all things practised and perfected, I slowly got used to the driving and the associated madness. And, without even my knowledge (or perhaps, in full cognizance and thoroughly enjoying the experience), those bad words started popping out. One here, one there. One more here, one more there. No one was spared of the profanity, though I mostly ended up swearing under my breath lest the more uncouth ones than I beat me up or worse still, run over me.
Today, my blood pressure goes thumping upwards when I see someone driving slowly on the road. I forget myself, I forget my “well-educated” status, I forget my unspoken assurances to those rickshaw drivers from my past. I honk and swear, I give them a belligerent look while I overtake them, and I accuse them of slowing down vehicular movement on the road.
Cars come at a price, monetary in most cases. Alas! Mine seems to have come at the price of my sophistication, well breeding and sensitivity.