The lemon in question is the car I keep zipping (or trying to) across the city in!….
It’s a Fiat Uno, diesel and no power steering. Yes, it handles just like it sounds.. Like a damned mini truck.
“I don’t want to take that car anymore.” I whined to my mother. “Can I have the Palio, please?”
“Take that car and feel grateful that your cousin is letting you drive his car around Trivandrum for 3 years….”
“Well I would feel more grateful if it didn’t wrench my hands off its sockets everytime I want to turn the car around college. I’d worship it if it had power steering. I would have given it the red carpet treatment inside and out if it’s ac and stereo were working…”
“It takes you to college everyday.”
I was continuing unabashed “…. of course, it sometimes feels like a bus too…. especially when all the girls pile in!”
“Then you deserve the Uno.”
“WHAT?? I have been driving for soooo long! You still treat me like a kid…”
Minor tantrum follows!
“Mom! You never sleep when I am driving. You keep looking at the speedometer and I hear coughs when it hovers around 70-80! You want me to drive like a granny at 55 on the NH!”
I looked around and my mother has vanished into thin air. I picked up the car keys all the while grumbling about my perceived problems.
Before I stepped into the elevator, mom popped out with a final warning “And remember, never switch off the car for a small interval of time. It doesn’t start once the engine has overheated..”
The car reached college without thankfully going into its characteristic outbursts(!) of sputters and false starts.
Eighth semester has been a blessing of sorts. After contemplating chocolates handed out by the wayfarers of S8,AE, the girls spent some time playing games and then, realising we need to “shift ho” in the immortal words of Mr.Wooster, did just that.
(If the previous sentence made your head ache, I recommend aspirin!)
Things went swimmingly till the Driving Miss. Crazy crowd reached Overbridge. Seeing 70 seconds on the clock, I switched off the car (to do my bit for the environment!) and began talking to my friends…
At the 50th second mark, I realised that the jig was up and the car wouldn’t start! I suddenly realised how a bank robber might feel when his getaway car didn’t get away as quickly as he’d hoped he would!
“Err, girls, the car will not start.”
My poor friends, they had so much trust in me!
“Nah, Shrutz, we have so much trust in you. The car will start.”
I was praying for a miracle of St. Lourdes now. “Please god, you and I have a deal, remember?”
I shifted the car into neutral and hope the natural gradient of the road was steep enough for it to glide past the bridge and onto some space where I could park.
“Yay! It’s working.” was on my lips as the car rolled to a standstill on that treacherous piece of land over railways line known to all and sundry as Overbridge.
“Dratted car!!!!”, said I.
“PAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRPP PARP PARP” went the KSRTC bus behind me.
All four of us were the shade of red that most tomatoes aspire to be.
“Please, let there be a policeman.”
And, voila! One materialised and demanded if I didn’t know how to drive a car.
I was hoping he wouldn’t ask if I was old enough to drive and make a fuss “Err, the car’s not starting.”
“Not starting? Did you try to start it??”
“No, I tried my new Vedic hypnotism method on it…”
I swallowed of my sarcastic retort and mumbled, “Well, I did.” To accentuate my point, I turned the ignition again and stared at the temperature gauge that was steady at 110 celsius.
“Okay, we need to push it!”, the policeman took charge.
The girls looked at each other, sighed and climbed out of the car, while I shifted gears into neutral again and disengaged the clutch.
The car rolled gentled along the bridge as the city bus accelerated past with a disdainful puff of smoke that made pedestrians cough and gathered momentum down the incline.
The guys were watching the spectacle of girls pushing a car and I was wishing I was somewhere else, like maybe with them, laughing at spectacle of the girls pushing the car.
People came up with innovative ideas. “Call a mechanic!”
“Well, the car will start properly once it has cooled down.”
“Is this a car or a steam engine?”
“Uhm, I’ll ask the Fiat guys?”
All I can say is, parking a steam engine must have been a b*tch!