i don't drive, i can't ride a bike. heck, i don't even roller-skate! this probably also explains my terrible sense of direction. it's this serious deformity i'm born with; zero hand-eye coordination, faulty center of gravity. you should see me trying video games... actually, NO ONE should ever watch me play video games. we don't want a world full of traumatized souls now do we?
so, needless to say i've been completely and totally dependant on patient, kind-hearted souls all my life to get from 'a' to 'b'. my dad deserves a nobel prize for all the driving he's had to do at odd hours (it's always got to be nap-time right?). plus there's always confusion after a long day of shopping.
"where are you?"
"waiting at the entrance."
"i'm at the entrance, can't see you."
"the one in front."
never gets any better.
of course i realize what a pain my dependence can be to all my reluctant too-nice-to-say-no chauffeurs, which is why i teach myself to take a bus or a cab. i end up with an empty pocket, but at least i know for a fact that there's no one gritting their teeth mumbling obscenities when i jump out their carriage. except maybe if i don't tip a taxi-driver, or insist on getting two rupees change from a mean rickshaw-wala. sigh! every coin counts when you're so heavily dependant.
but there is something about taking rides with people. something i know for sure would be different had i been self-sufficient in this area. i owe some of my closest friends to these favour-rides.
when i was in school, my dad would endlessly be picking me up from a friend's house or dropping me off at a cousin's party or music class or the salon (ahem). many times these were long rides, and boy, did i love them! we'd listen to the radio together. old songs, classical music. he'd tell me all these interesting little facts about the music, the singer, the time it was released, the composer, the meaning of the song, the first time he'd heard it... how his little teenage head would dream of owning a cassette player someday. how he would learn up hindi songs having no clue whatsoever what they meant. then i'd make him listen to nickelback and pink and coldplay and watch him do his best to hide a grimace and and act like he got it when he clearly thought his daughter was tone-deaf. but there was common ground. we'd listen to new hindi movie songs and this time i'd give him the trivia, and he'd actually listen. we'd sing along, loud and off-key sometimes. here's when we'd plan our movie-dates, my dad and i. :)
it wasn't just the music. he also got a healthy dose of senior school gossip. who's dating, who's hating, who has a crush on my cousin, who called who a what and when, who i thought was good-looking, who pierced her belly-button...HERSELF!! we'd laugh, we'd argue...we'd talk heart to heart. one on one. we were friends.
then there was college. and there was nidhi. my partner-in-crime, my whole life in college in one compact package. the three of us were inseparable... she, me and her kinetic nova! the three of us have seen each other through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. we would rush together on exam mornings and scoot away late at night to satiate chinese food cravings, occasionally seating my sister between nidhi and myself. nova's bailed out on us a few times... but i owe her big time. i find it hard to believe that nidhi and i would be this thick if it weren't for all those rides. i remember cramming on the way to an exam; she riding, me reading out loud from our notes, whilst dodging potholes, stray dogs and greedy cops. sometimes we'd laugh so hard on the bike that we'd lose balance and we'd have to pull over for a bit to get over it. those rides meant so much to me.
if i'd actually name all the people i've rode with who went on to become my best friends, i'd have decent material for a successful tv show and i'd eventually make lots of money ... :) but i still feel terrible when i've sometimes got to take a smelly cab with a rude driver who tries to get away without giving me change, or when i get old waiting for a bus. i still wish i could drive myself around. i still hope that i wake up one morning magically good with automobiles.
these days i'm riding with someone who'd seem in regular light unlikely to make an appearance on my hypothetical tv show. what could i possibly say to someone with whom i have nothing in common? not age, not interests, not anything. he likes to be quiet; i don't think i know how. business is his passion; i barely know to spell "recession"! he wears armani; i... well i walk by the store sometimes. he's a saint and by the looks of it i'm on my way to prison someday, and for good reason! but the power of my history with rides is not to be underestimated. the ice did break. the former lone ranger and i have reached something of a common ground. i can barely resist the temptation to quote casablanca, so as rick would say, "i think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship".
maybe it's true that i just make things seem worse than they are. sure i don't have wheels, but i have friends...the best ones!