Sunday evenings are not ideal for trips to the beach if one wants to contemplate the sea in blissful solitude. Yesterday wasn’t. I should have known it, but I did want to feel the sea breeze blow through my hair, watch the waves roll softly over to the shore. As usual, the swish of the sea was drowned by loud music (more like noise) on the roads. People chattered away incessantly. The air smelled more of fish than ever, and there was no breeze rising from the sea, which meant all the odour hung right overhead. Added to that were the clouds of cigarette smoke. Isn’t smoking in public places banned? Or did I just dream that such a ban was actually in place in India? Oh well, we never do follow the rules, so I’d rather not talk about it.
However, it wasn’t exactly an unpleasant, uneventful evening. I know it’s not fair to laugh at other people’s misfortunes. There are some instances, though, that do not permit you to keep a straight face for long, especially if you aren’t blessed with moral standards and integrity as high as Ricky Ponting’s. Okay, I’ll plunge straightaway into the story now.
A motorbike was parked a few inches outside the parking line. A tow truck arrived, fastened the bike by its handle to a huge hook, and carried it away. Given our propensity to enjoy other people’s misfortunes, as I’ve just mentioned, it was a spectacle, and quite a few walkers stopped to watch the whole process and go home and report it to willing listeners.
A little while later, two young men walked up to the spot; they searched frantically for the bike, walking up and down the row of vehicles. Finally, on being told the truth, they were bemused. One of them probably thought it was a ‘Candid Camera’ kind of trick, for he wasn’t quite inclined to believe the story, and insisted that he must have parked his bike elsewhere. Finally, through gentle persuasion, he was made to realise his mistake, and walked off with his companion in pursuit of his beloved black bike.
It probably doesn’t sound funny when related like this. But on the spot, as the drama unfolded (yes, it is ‘drama’ by the standards of a place where absolutely nothing exciting happens), the expressions were amusing to watch. And what I find most embarrassing to admit is that I was unwilling to leave till I had actually seen the reaction of the bike’s owner when he realised it had been towed away. Why am I talking of morals?
Maybe the beach is not the best place for some peace and quiet; it is certainly a good spot for observing human nature and people’s discomfiture when they don’t park their vehicles properly and have them towed away. Oh, that was according to the laws, wasn’t it? There is some hope yet for this country.
PS: I have no idea why I wrote this. I was in two minds about it, but using the lessons I've learnt from Veronika Decides to Die, I have decided to put it up after all.