The cheek of it all!

The cheek of it all!

As I sat marvelling at the florist's dexterity, a passerby tapped on the car window.

It was just another tiring day when I longed to get home and relax with a cup of steaming hot tea. In fact, the aroma of the Taj Mahal tea seemed to be drifting past my nostrils.

As I got into the car, I was a little annoyed by the fatigue that was weighing down upon me. Was age catching up with me? But, of course, you can’t expect to be sweet sixteen even after five decades, can you? Thanking my stars for the energy yet to keep going, I sat back and leaned against the head rest as my husband manoeuvred through the thick traffic.

As the car crawled on the road crammed with all kinds of vehicles battling for space, my mind went back to the past era – an era when the Pensioners’ Paradise was a visual delight with its virgin beauty and unpolluted air. The lyrics of John Denver’s song flitted through my mind – “Oh, give me a home where the buffaloes roam, where the deer and the antelope play, where seldom is heard, a discouraging word...”

The sound of screeching brakes, as a van swerved to avoid a two wheeler, jolted me out of the pastoral world. A flood of abuses followed, drawing curious stares from passing motorists. The next minute, the rider of the two wheeler had disappeared around the next bend. Alas, this is the world we belonged to presently, I thought.

Fully awake now, I looked out at the world passing by. Soon, oranges upon a cart, all neatly piled up like a pyramid, caught my fancy. I simply had to satisfy my taste buds. No sooner said than done. Pulling up against the pavement a few hundred metres ahead of the vendor, my husband alighted from the car.

As I sat waiting to dig my teeth into the juicy oranges, my eyes were drawn to a florist preparing a bouquet. Just as I was marvelling at the dexterity with which his nimble fingers arranged the flowers, sorting out the ferns and flowers so swiftly, a passerby tapped on my window and pointed to something down.

Wondering why, I opened and got out, only to see a few ten rupee notes by the side of the pavement. As I looked at it puzzled, I heard the clicking sound of the car door and looked up to see a stranger opening the door behind the driver’s seat and picking up my husband’s briefcase from below.

I looked at him in shock and disbelief. And wonder of wonders! The next minute, he put the bag back on the seat, closed the door and walked away briskly as if nothing had happened, while I continued to stare after him, tongue tied!

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