3 Pashas

I don't drive to work. I have a car and I have 3 valid excuses for not driving. No, don't get me started. And, I hate the claustrophobic buses. I also hate most of the commercial sedans and the few smelly hatchbacks that offer attractive deals. I hate ACs in vehicles. I totally love the unsafe autos. Ok, don't get me started on why UNSAFE, then WHY unsafe.

Ola-ed an auto on Rakshabandhan to meet a friend over coffee. That Saturday all our North Indian brethren on Sarjapur Road decided to lunch out and have some fun midtown. Well,imagine the traffic bottleneck on this stretch. Idreez Pasha, the Ola man of the hour asked me if there was an another route other than Sarjapur Road. Conversation was bound to happen. He was very brief and direct. He is from Kolar, earns honestly and goes home to his wife and kids every alternate week. No lodgings in Bangalore - his auto is his home. I thought I'd hire him to ferry me to work everyday. He also offered to show me Kolar whenever we intended to do a trip there. I didn't have the heart to keep him away from his wife and kids every alternate week that he went home.I decided against hiring him.

The same afternoon post coffee and some shopping, I was looking for an auto. This time it was Chand Pasha. He is a fancy creature with a big joint family. He wanted to earn an extra 20 bucks. I reprimanded him not to beg and haggle like this. I told him that customers would give you 'dua' and more than 20 bucks if your 'neeyat' is clean. He kept insisting he is a good guy and I kept telling him he must be!I told him I'd rather lose some 50 bucks but never see a dishonest person's face ever. Incidentally, I found him at the auto-stand the next day and he dropped me to work and he owed me 20 bucks which he assured me can be sorted in my return trip if he was around and that he was going to ferry me to work everyday. I gave him a courtesy call in the evening to check if he was around, he was not. The next day, his phone was switched off. His 'neeyat' was to earn 20 bucks more!

Honesty does not have a religion. Truly. The other day, my colleague and I flagged an auto home. He dropped off my colleague mid-way and we were homeward bound. The display credentials intrigued me. He was also a Pasha and he had an honest meter. I didn't strike any conversation with him, I was just a passing listener to his one random phone conversation. He spoke his Hindi with a highland accent.I was convinced he is from Kashmir. So out of curiosity, as I was paying the meter fare, I asked him where he was from. He said he was not from Bangalore. Further probing, and he said, he came to Bangalore 25 years ago from Kashmir.

Some auto experiences in Bangalore.

Nose-picking day

I usually don't rush to the office lift like I did today. Since both my boys were down with the seasonal flu at home I wanted to beat the evening traffic. Hit the G button and as the lift clicked to open, it was an uh-oh moment for me and the gentleman waiting for the lift on the ground floor. He was dressed prim and proper, I could even rattle off the brands and buttons he was wearing. But I'm convinced he'd do everything to avoid me like the plague now. I just caught him in the gross act of picking his nose gloriously and I couldn't help but hide my reaction. But it left me wondering, is it so shame worthy? But imagine shaking hands with him. Hygiene,my friend.

Now, now don't come blazing all your guns at me. Yes, we all pick our noses at some point, that is - out of necessity, for fun, joblessness and you can add your reasons. Look at our social conditioning. My boys do it more out of exasperation when they have snot and nasal debris stuck up there and I help them clear in the most non-disgusting way I can think of. And, off they run to the bathroom to wash their hands and face. And subconsciously, I am telling them it's best reserved for the bathroom and that too, under adult supervision.

Yes, a good part of my childhood was spent with folks and elders telling me not to fart in public, not to pick your nose in public,not to scratch your head in public and a lot of not-to-dos in public. They are habits best avoided and in case it's an unavoidable emergency, I was asked to look for a toilet or bathroom. I also remember getting flak for calling out some old folks in the family who farted quite loudly without rhyme or reason especially during social gatherings. Well, they are old I was told and they could do anything they like. Like really. 

Coming back to picking noses.Our music teacher at school famously did so during assembly and prayer in full glory. I don't think she cared much for the suppressed giggles and the dirty stares. The result was we didn't want to learn the piano under her.Lost one hobby.

And, my day just can't end without drama. The auto guy was also picking his nose during the journey. He was also scraping it off at traffic signal jams. I had my tolerance levels really stretched yesterday.

You think what is in your nose should stay in your nose?