Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Have a Car. Do you Care?

Sree Narayana Guru
Image Courtesy: Google

Meeting a childhood friend is always a refreshing experience. Somehow, what felt like old, past, ghost-like, dead and gone appear ‘refreshing’, new and approachable with the appearance of a childhood friend.  

It was the day when Narendra Modi came to Sivagiri Madam, pilgrim centre, the tomb of Sri Narayana Guru, one of the foremost social reformers Kerala has seen, and made the place known in the northern parts of India. I did not have anything else to do, so I went to the city, thinking I could buy some fried chicken from KFC.
Image Courtesy: Google

It was a hot day. I bought a burger, a Combo of Friend Chicken, French Fries and a Vanilla Blue. After eating the chicken, I thought why shouldn’t I go out and take in some sea breeze. So I went to the beach. I had the burger with me still and some Vanilla Blue. I sat on a concrete bench, took the breeze on the face, and watched the waves crashing on the wet sandy shore. Right then, I felt I might meet someone I knew.

I did not see anyone I knew, around, never expected anyone there, either. But I just felt so, all of a sudden.

After looking around and not finding anyone I knew, nearby, I turned my attention to nothing again. I took the breeze on the face, watched the waves crashing on the wet sandy shore. A hand touched my shoulder. I turned to look and found him, my old classmate, Racer (name imaginary).

I recognized him immediately. There was no usual clichés of introductory bull shooting. He said; “You are a good liar.”
I replied; “Is that what you came here to tell me?”
For that he retorted; “I read your blog and all. You do a good job. I read that story about a blind boy and all. What else are stories other than lies? I didn’t know before, that you can lie so effectively!” He smiled so I gave in.

“Thanks.” I said. “I heard you own a car now.” I pushed on. I had made an email contact with one of our mutual friends the previous week about fixing some advertising proposals on my up coming book. And in our email chat we had talked about some of our old classmates. That was partly the reason why I wasn’t much surprised to see Racer.
“Oh, yea. It’s at home.” Racer said shyly and we sat there, on the bench.
“Why, you should have taken it out here. It’s too hot and people know no way to stop childbirth in this part of the world. And by virtue of that reality, taking public bus is very difficult.” I said.  
 
Image Courtesy: Google
“It’s a Maru_800 man! I can’t drive it out too often, especially for outings like these. It’s embarrassing to drive it in front of all these people.” Racer said looking at the women and young men strolling in front of us. The young men had fancy hairdo and muscles and the young women had sleeveless dresses and flat bottom sexy sandals that kissed the ground with each step they took. Most of the girls had their hairs tied in ponytails.

“Then why exactly did you buy the Maru_800 Little Boy?” I used to call him Little Boy when we were in fifth standard. But I don’t think he knew why, still. I am six, two and taller than him; he is five, five. So perhaps, he was thinking I look bigger than him and so he was being called a little boy. Those days, when we were classmates in the Malayalam medium school, he used to drop hot airs in the class. So I called him Little Boy with reference to the bomb dropped by the Americans; only, if Racer knew.
 
Image Courtesy: Google
“I want to drive it to my office, every day. As you said, buses are very crowded and traffic busy, each morning.” Racer said.

After sharing my burger we said good bye. I did not have much to do. So I sat there taking the sea wind on my face and watching the waves crashing on the wet sandy beach. There was a time when a Maru_800 was a symbol of luxury among the middle class residents of suburban India. This was in the nineties. But as the time passed, things changed. The same Maru_800 and its alter ego and nano-version in the twenty-first century, the car in just INR 100000+ is ‘suffering’ a similar fate. People want to drive it. But not for the evening beach-outings or shopping.
Katrina Kaif
Image Courtesy: Google

Standing near a Volkswagen or Mercedes S class, our Maru_800 might look like a scarecrow near Katrina Kaif.

Roll it Little Boy, roll it; I thought.
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