Guest post by Bakhtawar
Two nights ago, after having a drink or two at a soiree at my friends place, I and Bakhtawar were returning home. It must have been around 1 in the night when I decided to explore the city in the silence of the night. The road I was moving on had been so irritating some hours back, now it was calling for lone riders to talk to it.
Grrrrrrr, the soft, polite and yet strong cadence of Bakhtawar sailing through the chilly winter night breeze made me feel like a king. It was as if each road was waiting to greet me, calling me to be on it. The roads on which millions travelled each day with their happiness, sorrows, ambitions, curse, pride and despair were indeed the garbage dumps of anger and frustration. Engrossed in these thoughts, I kept sailing past high rise apartments and buildings, restaurants, taverns, schools, offices, markets, each telling me a new story until I was stopped for verification at a police check post. “kahan se aa rahe ho?” was what I was asked.
I replied “ghar se, bike par yuhin dilli raat ko dekhne nikla hun”.
“Chalo, license aur gaari ke kagaz nikalo”.
I lied where I had come from considering the fact that telling him that I had returned from my friends place would inevitably let them conclude that I had drinks.
After around 5 minutes of frisking and checking legal documents I was allowed to go by the short fat middle aged man. The funny thing about the man was the small rectangular belt buckle he wore. It faced the floor perfectly courtesy the mammoth load it had to bear around the man’s gigantic tummy. I said “shukriya” as I left
Going past a prominent college in the city I recalled preparing to get into it, it was a dream, not because of the moolah I would earn after passing out but because of the ‘chicks’ and parties that were synonymous with the college. I remembered my college days, those parties which lasted forever sans girls! Out in the distance I saw a small food stall (dhaba), realizing my strong urge for a hot cup of tea in the chilly night I parked my ride, lit a navy cut and ordered tea.
Echoes of old Hindi songs played in the background from the radio in the stall, the stall owner hymned along making my tea while I smoked, looking around the place full of trees and flowers. Tea was served and it was wonderful having something hot in the chill. As there was no one else in the dhaba, I started a conversation with the stall owner asking about the place and the reason he had kept his stall open till then. He replied that he had been a taxi driver for 5 years and realizing the necessity of tea stalls for tired taxi drivers to beat the chill at night, had started this stall 2 years back. The conversation went on for around 10 more minutes until a white car stopped at the dhaba. To my great surprise a woman came out of it.
The stall owner looked in awe, she was well dressed. She wore a beautiful grey long jacket, had put on light make up. She had long hair. I could make out she was scared. She came to the stall owner and said “bhaiya, meri gaadi ka petrol khatam ho gaya hai, aapke paas thoda petrol pada hai”, “saare petrol pump band ho gaye hain”. The stall owner replied “nahin madam, aap inse (pointing towards me) pooch lijiye”. She turned to me, I hushed “eee mmm I’m not sure, umm.. I’ll check”.
Boy was she beautiful.
(to be continued)