My Car, Adieu
My car drowned in the floods of 2015.
Water, a foot above the dashboard.
Service station piled up an enormous estimate.
I didn’t repair, afraid of recurring problems.
Steeled my heart and sold her— it was goodbye.
She wasn’t a new car by any means.
Had driven her for seven years or more.
My first solo intercity trips
Had been under her aegis,
Trepidatious, and full of misadventure…
Guided by GPS on my phone, I’d sallied forth…
Did I have a power back up for my phone — No
Did I get lost — Yes, more’n once
Did I drive into a pedestrian choked oneway — Yes
Did I drive over someone’s foot — Not sure…
Heart in mouth, I’d checked my tyre, dreading blood…
Groaning he’d suddenly squatted next to my front fender
Head hanging, spilling belongings on the street—
Two halves of his phone, the battery sliding inches away
Money and perhaps important paper, folded flat…
“Madam leave,” advised a gent, “the fellow’s drunk!”
And there was no blood!
I made my escape, grateful, terrified;
Driving down a few steps, through a narrow tunnel,
Under the Tambaram West flyover; there was no other way.
Yes, I drove solo again, inter-city, inter-state;
They were all a piece of cake
Put her through her paces—
Found the dashboard vibrated at hundred’n ten;
At One Forty she flew smoothly above the road, my Maruti Zen.
Confident now, drove thirteen hundred odd miles in the US.
Took a solo trip down California One, over glorious Big Sur.
Slept next to the Pacific Ocean at Carmel,
Until a cop woke me up at 3am, to park six miles inland,
So car and I wouldn’t freeze to death…
Thirteen hundred miles divided between two coasts
And three almost new cars— a short stretch touching hundred mph…
Adventures galore, even a New York State police car chase to Niagara…
Alas, once back home, I hated my poor old car;
Wished so passionately for a better car, Chennai drowned…
Service personnel said the electrical circuit was shot,
My little red Zen wasn’t responding at all.
After standing morosely under the blooming laburnum for a month
She was gilded with lemon yellow flowers like a bride;
Sold, I watched her towed away; she blinked her brake lights,
Bidding adieu before she passed my stunned eyes.