Practice makes us perfect
From my Dibrugarh diary:
I received the final confirmation of my ticket at 5:30 pm via an SMS; I had been wait-listed in the AC coach. A wait-listed ticket booked online gets cancelled automatically. Hence I had to buy a new ticket standing in the line. That meant that I had to reach the train station at least two hours before the departure time, 11:45 pm, of my train.
I called my auto driver and asked him to pick me up at 9:30pm from the hotel. thinking that the 7 km ride to the train station should not take more than 20 minutes. The auto driver was punctual and arrived with company, his brother. I loaded my heavy backpack and boarded the auto with a feeling of uneasiness. En route to the train station, a police constable flagged us near a junction. But our auto driver brazenly ignored him and continued.
“Wow! I would never do that to a police constable!” I said with all the surprise I could muster.
“Oh, he tries to flag vehicles every night,” said the driver’s brother.
“Yes, that’s what they do in Bangalore too. They check whether the drivers are drunk,”
“Yes, we are drunk. But not much, you know. We split a 375 ml whiskey bottle between us. We exercise moderation,” replied the brother in a voice filled with honesty.
“Whoa! You guys would have been in trouble had that policeman caught you!” I said with amazement.
“Yeah. But that police guy himself was drunk. He was trying to stop us to get a free ride home. He does it every night and begs people to drop him home. Didn’t you see him wobbling?” the driver asked me.
“No. It was too dark. And it is still too dark,” I cleared my throat. “Please drive carefully. The road is full of potholes!”
“Don’t worry sir. We drink every night and drive. We have practice,” replied the brother confidently.
Terrified by the situation I was in, I shifted to a less terrifying subject to distract myself. “What do you guys think about Modi and BJP coming to power?” I asked, staring at the darkness ahead of me.