After a late lunch, Satish casually asks: “Would you like to go to Pune?” “Actually” I said: “don’t you mean – you are the only driver available – would you mind taking me to Pune?” We both had a laugh.. and sure its ok so at 4pm we leave and drive the crazy highway passing on the road a massive accident. A huge truck on its side – cab destroyed and on the other side of the road an ancient rusted out smaller one totally crumpled. No way a driver could have survived that one.
I drive on with even more alertness. Its needed on these roads.
Reaching Pune at 5 its a cacophony of sounds and traffic. We stop to change some money and meet Yogita and the other driver there at the chai stall.
I am stared at as usual.. but have long since stopped being fazed by that – the tall elderly foreigner female and incredibly, the driver of that car! Chai is good today.. lucky it wakes me up for the rest of the challenges ahead as the traffic on the last leg of the journey to the ‘hotel’ is a chaos of horns, motor bikes, scary squeezes through no space and needing to move lanes when there are no gaps to move into. But we made it.
So here I am – the window ledge on the second floor is the coolest spot by the peeled garlic, smeling the chappatis cooking through the open door, while the staff assemble tiffins (food containers) ready to be delivered to the regular paying customers.
Its 7 pm and I have no idea when we might take the journey home.
Surrender – let go – allow the intensity of the noise to simply wash over me. It is no time to be disturbed, but to gaze down at the crowds of motorcycles below and wonder at the lives of these people who manage to negotiate this world each and every day.
I consider myself fortunate in our rural valley – with my biggest complaint being the barking of the dogs and sometimes the racket of the kids.
The noise of Pune is something else. No earplugs would ever hope to reduce this avalanche of sound.
We reached home at 10 pm .. a long day – I fell into bed – tomorrow another event of unknown proportions!