The watch showed 5 minutes to 7 and I breathed contently. It was one of the very rare occasions I wasn't going to be too early or a last minute passenger to check-in for my flight. Having my mother drop me to the airport has its own benifits and drawbacks. Benifit of 'punctuality', drawback of 'rickshaw-phobia'. My mother fears a rickshaw will turn turtle while going to the airport on the highway. So I've learnt to give in and hire the good old black and yellow PAL Padmini cabs plying on Bombay roads bellowing petrol smoke and announcing their journey's start by screeching like smooth metal saws rubbing against each other or sometimes a prominent horse 'neigh' giving the passengers a good amount of vibrations that can put most of the modern day massage chair companies a run for their money in the first 5 seconds. The older the vehicle the longer the competition could sustain.
I don't remember which category the one that I hired fell in. The cab entered the highway and I still had an hour to go before check -in would begin. It was'nt the Bombay Monsoons and there were no road blocks. I would make it in 20 minutes and so I started chito-chat with my mother telling her not to worry if I dint call for some reason in a duration of 24 hours.
All of a sudden there was a jerk, the cab moved to the right a bit and a sudden brake. A motorcyclist without his helmet on and his pillion rider looked at the cabbie and yelled "Buddhaa Saala" (Bloody Old Man).
There was no accident. The cabbie started to drive again and after 300 meters saw the same motorcyclist caught by the traffic police.
He began speaking to me and my mom in the backseat. "Jaisey iska baap buddha nahi hua, ya fir ye kabhi khud kabhi buddha nahi hoga."
(As if his father isnt old, or he will never age).