Everything was normal until……
I always have my mobile headset on as I find it difficult to travel without listening to songs or talking with someone. I have been advised many a times not to do so, but what to do, habits like heeding to advise is out of my dictionary. Its also a habit for me to sing along with the songs, that too in the same pitch and I believe I am being hunted by Chennai police for public nuisance. Btw, is there an IPC penal code for singing while riding? I hope there isn’t! All along the ride, the bag with the DVD player kept moving itself to the left and I kept pushing it back to the center; just like how you do it in a typewriter!
It was 4 in the evening and my head was fuming inside the helmet because of the heat. I took off my helmet at a signal, placed it conveniently on the rear mirror and put on my goggles. The traffic, the heat, the pollution, the heavy bag on my shoulders, and the pretty girls enjoying the AC inside a zen to my right, everything made me feel so bloody restless. I changed the song from Dev D’s Paayaliya to the title track of Delhi 6 and kept humming all along. The signal turned green, it was like a stampede and everyone panicked as if the world was going to end. I rode a little further and stopped once again as the signal turned red again just when I was about to cross the lakshman rekha drawn by Chennai traffic on the roads.
Scrrreeeeech! A red Toyota qualis suddenly stopped on my left with brakes fully applied a` la Tamil cinema style. After a minute or two, a window of the qualis was pulled down from inside and a hand appeared out of it asking me to come near. I went a little ahead thinking he would need help for directions (and also hoping that it shouldn’t be any political gundas!). The window was pulled down completely and a filthy rich middle aged ‘dude’ sitting inside beamed at me. He had so many magazines spread across his seat and was also wearing a couple of those huge stone rings (that’s all I could notice in those few seconds). I returned his smile, took off my headset (gulping) and :
Stranger : Sir, neenga Jaya TV Raagamaalika vile paadneengala? ( Sir, have you sung in Jaya TVs Raagamalika?)
Me (blushing) : Amaa. (Yes) (shouting whooooopie! Inside)
Stranger : Vazhthukkal sir, romba nalla paadneenga ( congrats sir, you sang really well)
Me : Thanks a lot sir ! (literally jumping on my seat)
The signal turned green, both of us took different directions from the roundabout and the song in my mobile changed itself to Jai Ho !! ( Im not making this up, it really happened!)
I was in the middle of the road and didn’t know whom to break the news. I was literally on one of those numbered clouds, that was for sure. It made me forget about the heat, pollution, and everything else that made me feel cranky. I thanked that stranger in the red Qualis from the bottom of my heart for further boosting my confidence. According to me, it is these kind of out-of-the-blue public recognitions that matters anyone a lot.
This wasn’t the first time for me. I was recognized soon after my first episode in Oct. last year by a security guard at Satyam multiplex (theatres) and the second time in Dec (ironically, just after my final episode) by a Marrybrown home delivery guy! But what happened last saturday made a lot of difference, not because the stranger this time was an influential person, but because of the fact that my episodes stopped airing like three months back and someone still recognized me, that too in the traffic, inspite of my beard and the weight that I have put on since then!! LOL !!