I bought a scooty almost a year ago. Why? Let’s just say it was an itch that I had to scratch. It’s of a pretty blue colour and is pretty old and pretty reliable. I like it so much that I named it. But that’s not important now.
Now, I don’t have to travel by buses. I don’t have to start early or late in hopes to catch that bus on those particular times in a day when there is relatively more room in it. I don’t have to be patient enough to for an eternity at bus stops. I don’t have to stand at the edge of the crowd, wherein people are trying to get on the bus before the person in front of them. I don’t have be shoved from every direction and poked in ribs. I don’t have to stealthily move to that spot right near the engine, whose tingling vibrations I can feel in my feet long after I get down. A spot where one can find the perfect balance and lots of metal to hold onto. I don’t have to pray an extra two rakat of namaz as a thank you to God for bestowing that rare blessing upon me – a seat. I don’t have to be mentally ranting about reserved seats for women being understood as the only seats for women in the entire bus. I don’t have to worry about stuff I rather not mention here [read: perverts or potential rapists]. All thanks to that scooty.
But also, I can’t watch the world go about life around me. Now, I have to go with the world, being careful and unabsorbed. I can’t observe the tiny details, those that might answer a question in my heart, those that let my stream of thoughts go to someplace deep, those that might help me perceive realities of myself or others or of life which I hadn’t before. I can’t eavesdrop on conversations or observe people that will become my stories eventually. I can’t do all this.
At least I thought I couldn’t. Today, as I pushed in the two foot rests with my feet while I drove on a busy road and didn’t lose my balance, I realised I had stopped being apprehensive about driving a scooty long back. So I slowed down to a comfortable speed where I could take in the trees, the sky, the wind, the cold sunlight and still survive. I drove past two men, one dropping off the other, the passenger said bye but before the driver took off the passenger asked, “Did you get your scooty fixed?” He nodded slightly, wore a wide grin and raised eyebrows as he asked. The driver broke into a big grin immediately but took a second to answer as if taken aback. He bobbed his head sideways slowly, and said with a chuckle and just as high eyebrows, “Yes, you know I did.”
The bike picked up speed and he rode away. The passenger turned around and walked home, the remnant of that grin in his eyes and a tiny smile on his lips. I loved watching him tease his friend. His friend or whatever liked being teased. What was he really teasing him about though? What were the things they didn’t say? A story might be coming up. So, it’s all good. I enjoyed a bit and Shagufta liked not being rushed for a change. But you still probably should not sit behind me. I would be scared for my life if I were you, especially now, after knowing what really is going on in my head.