Ask any Mumbaikar about roads and traffic and his brain releases toxic hormones. But my story on the roads is more tragic than any other. Here’s why….
I am convinced that my husband has a split personality. One that is a caring, responsible, intelligent, perfectly chivalrous and gentlemanly human being. And then there is one behind the wheel…. It is a two legged creature that is monstrous, terribly impractical, risky and mean. In his previous births he was born in Australia or New Zealand or some place like that. He abides by those rules. Keeps safe distance from the car in front. Will never cut lanes without indicator. Stops the car before the zebra crossing line. Stops for women, children and elderly people. But our country has its own set of unique rules where safe distance means space to cut in. Where car owners think they are flying a plane and thus have to drive right in the middle of the road, truck drivers cannot see any lane apart from the rightmost lane. If there are no dividers, we feel it is permissible to drive in the opposite direction. And don’t even get me started on the Bikers. And the minute my husband sees any of these defaulters, the alternate personality gets activated. He takes the ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’ to a new level. He will then chase the car, bike, truck, bus with an ‘aata majhi satakli’ mission to teach a lesson to the offenders. However somehow the only person harassed in all of this seems to be me.
We are driving on a 2 lane road which is jammed badly because one Bolero is parked on one of the lanes. My husband is pissed. The stretch of road that should take us 30 seconds, took us 10 minutes. Finally we reach the part where the Bolero is parked. My husband stops the car next to the Bolero. I see his ears turning red and his nostrils dilating. He lowers my side of the window and so does the Bolero driver. The driver is obviously not the owner but the chauffeur of the car with an ‘I care a damn’ attitude. I tell my partner let’s just go. But no. He stares back at the driver. And I think oh god for the first time I will have to hear some dirty Hindi abuses from my ‘firang’ husband. And then my husband does the unthinkable. He raises his finger at the driver and says ‘Chaar juthe maroonga’. The driver of the Bolero is stumped. He has no argument to that statement. The next second I am laughing out loud between the two of them and so is the bolero driver.
So there is a bike parked outside our building gate. We could have still squeezed our car out of the gate. But no. My husband decides it’s time to wear his superman mask. He gets out of the car extremely angry. Decides to pull the bike and put it in the middle of the road. He is expecting the bike owner to come running and take his Bike and apologize for parking it incorrectly. And so he tries to pull the Bike. But General Zod there had done a good job by locking his bike’s handle and so my husband violently wrestles with the bike to pull it out. Somehow he dragged it and kept it right in the middle of the road. Now he is waiting and waiting. The biker is not in sight. Cars are honking and drivers are abusing my mate for blocking the road. The alter ego of my husband doesn’t care. Justice will be meted out this time. But no one shows up. The cars’ honking was making me dizzy. I tell my husband very selfishly, let’s go. But No. Suddenly the evil Hyde has left my husband and the Good Samaritan that he is, he goes and pulls (read struggles) the bike out of the middle of the road and parks it where it was. All superman have to go through injury. So what’s a small ligament tear that he had to bear for a long time.
This time our car is waiting at a turning and a rickshaw dashes into it from the right. That is enough to trigger the ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ in me. I get off the car and am screaming abusing the rickshaw driver in full drama. My husband equally angry gets off the car and kinda pushes the driver. The next second he is telling the driver ‘Zor se laga kya?’ Yet again my husband has done it. He has rendered the offender speechless. I tap on my husband’s shoulder and tell him it’s time to go.
He feels like Jim Carrey of Truman Show and hopes to one day find the door to a perfect world. Me. I am different. As a child, I always traveled with my dad on his bike. And my dad believed that any place that is more than 12 inches was enough for him, my mom, my bro and me, all on his bike to pass. So my conditioning is different. I lose my cool only when someone hits my car. Everything else is okay. Since I failed miserably at convincing my man to ‘Take it easy’ while driving, I have learnt a new technique to cope with it. So now, as soon as my husband loses his cool, I switch from the angrezi songs radio channel to songs that are typical Bollywood….either choreographed by Prabhu Deva or sung by YoYo Honey Singh. These songs have an innate ability to piss off my husband and I feel avenged.