Monday, 27 September 2010

Lucky escape

OK - So I dropped my hubby off to work today and was on my way to ..um..work; and of course, as dreaded, I got caught in the worst traffic jam EVER. Maybe my friends in Dubai will have a good laugh- 'coz I was stuck in this jam for only 45 minutes....but for me it was quite nerve wracking...While in this jam, I played Scrabble on my iPhone, honked like a true Indian, spoke to my brother n sister in Canada, and later to my husband, texted the head of my department 3 times explaining how my car hadn't budged for the past 15 minutes, swore in French, English and Urdu at the cars responsible for the jam and decided what to cook for lunch.

Once we started to move, I got out of that jam only to get stuck in another one within 5 minutes. There was a round about ahead, and a police car with it's annoying blue and red lights on. The policeman sat in it, day dreaming, while we just waited for something to happen. I basically had to take a U- turn, but the cars around the round about were motionless. It looked like one of those scenes from a Sci-fi film where everyone abandons their cars on the roads and runs for shelter 'coz a giant hybrid is walking around having fun stomping anything that gets in its way.

I had to make a decision: Either I prepare myself to be late to work by a good half an hour, OR I pretend I'm an impatient Kuwaiti (which I can pull off, coz I'm a lighter skinned Indian with Iranian genes - add to that my hijab, - et Voilà!!), and do the obvious, try to drive over the curb to get on the other side of the road and avoid the round about all together.......... So I did it, I steered to the left and accelerated onto the curb, which according to my approximate and faulty calculations was 'a little' higher than I expected....The front wheels of my medium sized four wheeler climbed up on the curb. I continued accelerating thinking they would land on the other side allowing the rear wheels to get on the curb and then I'd be free to speed my way to work....BUT NO!!! Oh No sirreeee!!.... The belly of my car settled comfortably on the curb with my wheels rolling away in mid air. Now, at least the people in the cars around me had some entertainment!! As much as I like to keep a low profile, I usually land in situations where the spotlight is on me and this is usually when I wish for a hole to appear so I can disappear into it. All I could say aloud was " Amber, Amber, AAAAMMMBEEERRR!!!!!!!! Why Do You keep doing this to yourself!!!!!Merde!!Woman!!!! U have to STOP!!!!!" .. and other things on the same lines accompanied by profanities and hand movements that usually follow an extremely embarrassing situation.

I started imagining sitting in my car and being towed away.... or running after my car, one arm outstretched,  (Bollywood style), screaming 'NOOOO!!!' while it was being towed away. Praying hard and desperately trying to figure out a solution, I looked in my rear view mirror, and saw a white van with an Indian behind the wheel. His expression told me how 'not funny' my situation was... and all I could do was shrug and look sheepish. The next thing I see - two Indian men trying to manually lift my car from behind, asking me (in Arabic, coz they thought I was Kuwaiti) to step on the accelerator.... I was, at first, stunned but also so, so touched. I rolled down my window to let them know that I was Indian and spoke to them in Hindi...It was adorable how their smiles went from 50 watts to 200 watts!!! They pushed harder and Hallelujah!! or should I say AlHamdulillah!!! I was on the other side (of the road, of course).. My embarrassment turned to ecstasy!! I would not be late to work after all!! I had the goofy, moron expression on my face with my " I'm such an idiot" smile plastered on it for a good 10 minutes.

I wanted to repay my fellow Indians. All I had was my smile and 5 dinars... and I wanted to give it all to them. But before I could turn around and thank them, they were already in their car, smiling at me from ear to ear. I was really moved. It's not everyday that one comes across kindness and help offered so unconditionally. And I have noticed that it is mostly us Indians who willingly offer it. No offense to other nationalities, who were having a good laugh at my predicament...or maybe their reflexes to help a lady in distress are slow.

But seriously, anyone planning to drive like a Kuwaiti, make sure you own a car like one!!!.

P.S: This post is not meant to hurt the feelings of my Kuwaiti friends. I love you guys. I've lived in this country all my life - But y'all know deep down, you drive like Kuwait is a Formula 1 race track!! :P

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This work by Ambereena Razvi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.