Thelma had an eye for perfection. She did the most imperfect thing perfectly. Like
dangling out her clean shaven athletic legs out of the window at the certain angle as they
would not hurt her and her torso perched on a pillow for maximum comfort. The canvas
shoes were gleaming in the freshly incubated sun-rays.
I asked her to relieve me while I relax and munch on a cucumber sandwich.
I got down from the driver's seat and clicked a photo of her carefree legs dangling
outside the window, on my Nikon.
She reluctantly plonked herself in the driver's seat while I shifted in the passenger seat
Next summer we both would graduate. Excitement as well as trepidation weighed equally
on a see-saw plank. Trepidation , as we would have to work for different firms in
different cities. One never knew where our paths would take us. So she voted on a road
trip to Goa.
We left behind the bustling Mumbai City. The narrow belt of the Konkan strip with
verdant farms as far as the eye could reach, slowed down our journey. We feasted our
eyes on the picturesque splendors of Nature. The bucolic beauty wowed us to take a road
trip again after we were settled in life.
"Could I get a Paracetamol? " I inquired at the tiny Medical-Cum-General store.
"It is closing time for tea and I will do no business", a stern looking man with Gandhi
specs manned the counter.
" I won't be able to drive with this headache. Pleaseee", I pleaded with an urgency in my
voice. The sound of temple bells reverberated at a distance.
He agreed to dispense the medicine.
Thelma picked up the crate of aerated drinks, dropped the currency notes on the counter
and ran towards our vehicle.
"Thissss is cheating", the old man hollered. I had no option but to press my legs into
I started the ignition and the old bones defying his age started to run behind the clouds
of dust , swearing at us. We picked up speed and never saw his face again.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The temple bells struck a sonorous note. The small shop was replaced by a swanky
Day-and-Night Chemist shop. My body was slightly sore with wear and tear. My temples
were throbbing. A young lad manned the counter. I asked for a Paracetamol.
My bespectacled eyes hunted for a crate of aerated drinks.
I started the ignition. My eyes turned moist. I looked at the skies. "I have kept my
promise, Thelma. You ......" . My eyes turned moist.
I still have the picture of her legs dangling, in my brief-case.
The solo road trip after two decades is incomplete.