The word "auto" never ceases to amaze me. Autorickshaw. Auto, the self, inspires a sense of freedom that one can't explain while taking any other mode of paid transport. A taxi seems very upmarket - like you would walk out of a mall holding a gazillion paperbags and wave for one. Calling it a cab is even more deprave. To be honest, when I first started calling it a cab, I just couldn't stop - "Cab" "Flag a cab" "Call a cab" etc.
An Auto on the other hand free, open, odd-wheeled and stands for that: the self, the independence.
One has broken the terms of the house arrest and ventured out in an auto. Fwee. But that was in the evening. Before that -
One little boy, in the house behind ours, refuses to get out of the shower. Squeals of protest.
One little boy, in the other house behind ours, annoys the hell out of his mother, and gets it from her. Squeals of fear.
One little boy in the house facing ours, a year and a half old, figures the doorbell out. Ting Tong Ting Tong tingtongtingtongtingtong.. Squeals of joy.
They all squeal in tandem.
One speaks to a friend, tells him about the unbearable heatwave which has claimed lives and ones brain in the process. One even manages an apology for whininess in the midst of profuse sweating.
"What's the weather like?"
"40 degrees, and it's only 10:30 am."
"That is nothing, 45 degrees here"
Okay, yours is bigger than mine. One is sorry, for having told you that one has air-conditioning at home.
Ma calls one for the nth odd meal of the day. One brilliantly stuffs themselves.
Dad calls, asks "Tell me, what's happening?"
"Breaking news: The milk got spoilt."
He changes the topic, "Is it raining?"
"Yes", one says, "Two drops fell."
"It's a sparrow crying."
One then gets back to hobnob the loverchild, the mac, which crashes for the 10th time. It perhaps rebels. One had decided to call it Macartney, but now thinks Macavity suits it better. Evil evil. Too much thought. Brain collapses under the pressure.
One then takes a break, guzzles water.
Ma uses the opportunity, the gap in one's mind, to ask if one is hungry. Considering how much she hates being even in the vicinity of the kitchen, even the question is a valiant effort.
One calls a zillion people. Or chats. Or emails. Or uses telepathy.
One speaks to another friend. He calls one a girl and a tube-light, in no necessary order of preference. That's a bad exit strategy in a conversation. One has never pretended to know all, then why is one being drowned in conversations involving undecipherable jargon, and then being judged for it? If you were that smart you would be able to explain it, instead of calling one a tube-light.
Meanwhile, one forces Ma to watch the Blue Umbrella. Halfway through, she promises never to watch another movie with Pankaj Kapur in it, if he is the one who has indeed stolen the umbrella. Fine, let's wait. She lusts after the umbrella too, "When you go to Japan.."
We are a dramatic family.
Dad calls again, with a more oddball question than ever "If a ball is thrown up in the air, when it reaches the ground what will be it's velocity?" One answers, to the best of their abilities. "And the force?" "Mass times g, no?"
It is the evening - one finds their way to a small DTP store to print five sheets of paper out. Five, no more. He prints. "This is the best I can do." Two people walk in requesting for help with download. One little gigs, two little gigs.
One flags an auto. Negotiates. Refuses. Walks off. One plays games in which noone loses. He chases, agrees. So does one.
One then rides with the wind, two little sparrows cry, dusk settles like dust.
That auto-ride smells of humus in the soil, of hope of rainfall in the air, of the little rebellion in the sky and more importantly, of all pervasive freedom.
PS: Bits of fiction.