Friday, June 22, 2007

Five Minutes

There was a slight drizzle. The roads were bustling with late evening traffic. Its amazing how a slight drizzle drives people crazy. Half of them want to stop their two-wheelers below the first tree on their way... and the other half believe that it is not raining at the other end of the road and so want to get there in the next second if possible. Lanes, lights, indicators, cows, dogs - just simply does not matter. Such was the condition yesterday night. Hold the picture in your mind.

I am a fitness fanatic. So, I cycle to office some days. I enjoy it while it rains. It washes away the perspiration... or so I think. Rain comes with its downside too... the chances of the chain slipping is more. It has become usual for me to get my hands soiled a couple times a day. It only a matter of where it happens, and how tired I am at that point. When it happens, I have get off the road and spend about 5 minutes working my magic on the gears. Hold this picture in your mind.

Spare a thought for people who work on the streets for their lively hood. Rain disrupts their business. They may have to go home empty handed; perhaps some loss on their capital too. Damn the government for not providing social security for the unorganized labor pool. One such labor pool flourishes at the corner of Cubbon Road and Dickenson Road. Their work time starts around 9 in the night (I guess) and goes on till wee hours of the next morning (again, I guess). Well, its a 9-to-6 job nevertheless. The ignorant get shocked at their industry. The gentlemen (the hypocrite lot) avoid them all together here. The shy and still curious adolescent gang steal glances at them pretending to be innocently ignorant. The pragmatic lot (like me) will use the road simply because traffic is always free flowing here. Now you know the who, the where and the when. Hold this picture also in your mind.

Now put all the three together. A slight drizzle, crazy traffic, a cycle needing my attention, and me surrounded by a dozen 'commercial sex workers' and their aides. When I realized that the chain had slipped, I began thinking... 'Oh God!! Why here?'. You know its too hard to concentrate on the teeth of the gears when you are conscious of the kind of people watching you. Those were 5 long minutes. All sorts of hypothetical scenarios crossed my mind. What if pretending to repair the cycle was one of their cue to approach? What if a customer approached me with request to broker a deal? What if one of the retailers took objection on me blocking her enterprise? What if my numb fingers (from the cold rain) not able to put the chain back on to the gears quickly? What if there was a police raid at that very moment... my argument that the cycle broke down at that exact place, at that time would look really flimsy. Oh!! there were many more 'What if ?' permutations.

Well, fortunately all the scenarios remained only hypothetical. I got out of there in just as much time.


Shubha said...

you sure the ending is the truthful correct version ;)

aishu_here said...

Oh ! I seriously had no idea about the area/time of this business happening in the city!Am probably the category you mentioned before the 'gentlemen' and the 'shy and curious'.

Five minutes,well put.Although it would have been interesting with some different ending !