• Vedashree Khambete Sharma

Rider of the Scooty

Over the years I’ve heard a lot of guys crib about women drivers. I’ve heard every level of complaint, ranging from the mildly annoyed (“Trust a chick to drive like that!”) to downright sexist (“Why can’t you’ll just do what you’ll are good at – staying at home!”). Sure, I’ve come across a lot of disastrous women drivers. But the point is, I’ve come across a lot of absolutely crappy men drivers as well. And since, on an average, more men drive than women, the percentage of crappy men drivers is rather greater than that of crappy women drivers.

Me, I’ve been riding for about four years now. Archer taught me and I must admit, he was extremely patient and supportive. And devious, yes, but that helped. Anyway, the first time I rode out on the street, the Scooty got a flat tyre and nearly threw me and Archer off. I’ve had two accidents on that bike – one of them a slightly serious one, which left me looking like a victim of domestic abuse. So I think I can say that I’ve had my share of on-and-off road experiences.

But I just didn’t see this one coming.

The main road outside Bombay Central station was hopelessly blocked in a snarling traffic situation. State Transport buses were clogging up whatever little space remained, till the whole place looked like a heart patient in dire need of a bypass. It got so bad that even two-wheelers were left with no space to move.

I was on my trusty Scooty, waiting patiently for the traffic to clear. Suddenly, I heard a honk behind me. A guy on a Splendour three bikes behind me, was gesticulating wildly to me. I turned to look in the direction he was pointing at. As it turned out, there was a tiny little gap between two ST buses, from which a bike, if carefully manouevered, could just about pass.

I obviously didn’t need to be told twice. Away I sped (ok, I inched, given the space constraint) and within about two minutes flat, I was out of there. I was enjoying the freedom, the bliss and the general absence of fumes, when the Splendour guy pulled up by my side. As I turned to acknowledge him, he shook his head in disbelief, gave me an impressed smile and a thumbs-up sign, and zoomed past.

It felt good. Oh yes. It felt bloody good.

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