Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Indian Long Drives

Also, at times like this one, I need long drives. Indian long drives. Indian? On Indian roads, in Indian cars, with Indian traffic rules (no rules). Just pick the last lane and keep cruising at a slow 40 MPH without a care. Stop by a tea-stall, buy a cutting for a couple bucks, feel its warmth and savour its gingery taste. Put it in the cup-holder, gear up and resume driving. On the long long stretches of GauravPath--the Piplod-Magdalla Road (Surat). Driving past the food-stalls, families picnicking, lovers cuddling, gangs of boys at cigarette stalls. Cigarette stalls. Especially around the SVNIT. What joints they were, weren't they? Boys seem to be very happy at those. With all their gangsta bikes and all. Show-offs. Trying hard to impress everyone in sight. Sometimes just not giving a shit though, and enjoying with one another. Laughing, cussing, cracking jokes-dirty and clean, occasional Eve-teasing, shutting up and all well-behaving suddenly on seeing some pretty girl pass by and just having basic fun overall. I never thought I noticed boys at the cigarette stalls so much.

Oh well , moving on, going further and further and getting lured to turn on to the (ONGC) bridge on reaching that circle. How many reasons have we had for driving upto that bridge? To get some fresh air; to see Tapti in its glory eagerly meeting up the Arabian Sea at the horizon; to steal some kisses; to eat roasted corn-cobs and chaats...And we paid a toll for all this. Literally. I'd have felt a zillion times better if I were there at this instance, gulping a lot of salty air that also distributed the wind in my hair. Pretty much a cleansing process it is, to stand on the ONGC bridge and just stand and go blank. Thoughts come and go but never register. Such a detox!

Solitude couldn't have been more enjoyable than on Indian long drives. On the other hand, what a different yet memorable story could be told if Dingi accompanied me on that drive! Then both of us would go on the shores of the Tapti behind the Gymkhana and just stand. And either talk or not. But we would communicate so much, either way. It makes me think though, why did I never dip my feet into the waters where they were conveniently banked behind the Gymkhana? I wonder if I will get a chance to do that again, given the rate at which new buildings are constructed there.

Wow, for a few minutes, I just slipped in a visual journey, if not a real one. Almost therapeutic. These Indian long drives, I sorely miss. No lanes, no limits, no belts; just a short long trip, a short long trip.

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