H. Kishie Singh
EVERY couple of years the biggest auto show in Asia, Auto Expo, takes place in Delhi. At the last Auto Expo the entire team of Auto India was in Delhi. We all stayed at the same hotel where the contributing and executive editors would assign us our duties for the day. One journalist could only cover three, may be four halls in a day.
We met at 8 in the morning over breakfast. Each journalist was told which halls to cover, which conferences to attend. After the meeting we would all take taxis to the Pragati Maidan since parking was a nightmare. The penultimate day had been rather exhausting. By about 4 pm dark clouds rolled in, a slight drizzle started. A time to call it quits.
I walked to the exit gate. There were dozens of scooter rickshaws and a few taxis. The problem was they all wanted to go home, not where I wanted to go. The drizzle got stronger, and I was out in the open. A rather elegant-looking Sardarji on the other side of Bhairon Marg waved to me. He was in a white kurta-pajama, a black sleeveless jacket, having a flowing white beard, a neat white turban. Very elegant looking for a Delhi taxi driver.
“Come here!” he gesticulated.
Risking life and limb, I crossed over to the other side. Bhairon Marg is a very wide divided road and traffic moves at break-neck speed. By the time I got to the taxi, the driver was holding the rear door open. I clambered in, grateful to be out of the drizzle.
“Where to Sahib?” enquired the driver, a wizened old man, in a soft voice. “Defence Colony”, I said.
At the Old Fort we did a left turn onto Mathura Road. The traffic was bumper to bumper. We crawled along. The rain kept up a steady drumming on the roof, the heater kept me warm. I was glad I was not in a three-wheeler. Barely a hundred meters on Mathura Road and the car following us started to blow the horn. The driver kept at it and failing to get a pass, he started to flash the head lights. An overtake was impossible, the traffic was that tight. The driver behind kept the horn blowing and lights flashing.
Rather irritated at this foolish behaviour, I looked over my shoulder. The famous Mercedes star adorned the bonnet! I was even more surprised. A Merc driver should have some sense! As the road widened for the Sunder Nagar exit, the Merc overtook us from the left and squeezed ahead of us, cutting us off sharply. The driver was cool, braked hard, down shifted the gears and started to tail the Merc.
“My goodness!”, I exclaimed, all that fuss just to overtake one car!
“A garbage truck, Sahib! All garbage trucks drive like that!”
“A garbage truck driver! That is an S-Class Mercedes. It must be worth around Rs 80 lakh!”
“Ok Sahib! The car is a Mercedes but what is inside is ‘bilkul’ garbage”.
Irrefutable! The wisdom of the ancients!
Source Link: http://www.tribuneindia.com