Archive for December, 2009
Peak hour traffic on Nizammudin Bridge. Vehicles backed up. We inched closer. Cursing, honking, braking, guarding our priceless cars from the car, bike, cycle, tractor, auto-rickshaw next to us. I saw my watch: a one minute drive had taken twenty. I was in no mood to reconcile. Get to Ashram lights and speed out on the Ring Road. Gosh! I came to Delhi to escape Bangalore traffic. This is worse.
As I neared the point of the snarl I saw a battered, huge, old Delhi Water Board tanker in the middle of the road. The rest of the traffic was going around it. Behind the tanker were at least fifteen school kids, huffing and pushing. I saw it for a few good minutes. The cars around it were making a beeline to squeeze between the road divider and the tanker.
Suddenly, the tanker spurted to life, groaned. It moved a bit on its own engine. The delicate hands started leaving the tanker’s back. Its wheels started acquiring a life. Out, from the driver’s side, jumped a Sardarji. He had a maroon turban, was in a cream shirt and brown trousers. He was wearing sun glasses and had tied up his beard with a strip of cloth, to set its hair. I could hardly see his face, but his cheeks were shining, turning red in the sun. His lips were turned into a broad smile. His arms were raised above his head, his hands were folded in a Namaste. That is all he did, stand on the road, give thanks, while the tanker engine warmed up.
The children cheered and moved away; the tanker started and the Sardarji vanished into it. They moved away. The warmth of the gesture purged my frustration at being held up on the road.