Stepping out of the confined walls of the house after a period of 48 whole hours, I realized how much I’d missed life. Not only had I missed the smiling faces of kids, playing, spitting at each other, but I had also missed the cows being milked smack in the middle of a busy junction.
I do so love my India.
As I hopped onto a cycle rickshaw and made my way to my destination, I couldn't help but keep an eye out for hooligans. What can I say – force of habit.
And that's when I saw him.
Looking ridiculously gorgeous, there he went on his mean machine...my knight in shining armour. I knew now that he had come to rescue me from this third-rate, old school rickshaw and take me away with him on his shiny devil of a bike. Oh, if only I could see myself right now, I’d see my pupils replaced with tiny hearts!
He was merely a few feet in front from my rickshaw, waiting for the light to turn green. Ah, noble citizen, I thought. He stops at a traffic signal! I could hear my heart thump so loud I thought he’d hear it. And just when I thought I was calm enough to learn to breathe, he turned ever so slightly in my direction. He was going to be the death of me! My Tom-Cruise-from-Top-Gun looking dream-boy grabbed the chin of his helmet and proceeded to slowly take it off in that utterly seductive, bad boy way, while he balanced the bike with his other hand.
I could hear the background music then: a medley of Eye of the Tiger, Hells Bells and Jo haal dil ka (from Ghulaam). I all but saw him shake his head to ruffle out his helmet-hair. As my heart fluttered in fast-forward, I saw him bend his head slightly. I knew he was going to slowly angle his head and raise his eyes to meet mine. I just knew it Knew It KNEW IT!
With a silly grin plastered on my face, and eyes the size of golf balls, I waited to bat my eyes at him.
And just then he angled his head, pulled it back just a tiny little notch, grunted…and BAM – he spat out a giant blob of three-day old phlegm on the side of the road, missing me and my rickshaw wale bhaiya by mere inches.
Tom Cruise had just taken on his desi avatar: Taam babu.
“Chalo yaar, bhaiya. Kahin phirse thook diya toh bus, is baar ya aap gaye ya phir main”, I complained to rickshaw wale bhaiya. The background score had now changed to the sound of my heart breaking into a million pieces.
Taam babu, you bad boy, you!