Was My Face Red?

It was one of my new year resolutions last year to teach myself to drive a scooty–and as it turned out, it was the only one I was able to keep. Not wholly or in full measure but very substantially, to use Jawaharlal Nehru’s elegant words :-P. I mean, I know enough to go around our campus and to the market place about half a km away, but I am still scared of venturing out on thoroughfares and of negotiating the traffic at roundabouts–this, when Chandigarh traffic is very, very well-regulated by Indian standards.

Okay, so yesterday evening I took out our Activa and went to the market to shop for fruits and provisions. The husband is away for a couple of months and I am still getting used to managing two boisterous kids and a household completely on my own. With two shopping bags in hand, I returned to the haphazard parking area, fixed the bags on the hook under the seat and put in the key–and found that the lock wouldn’t budge. Now that was nothing new as I often have trouble with the scooty lock but I panicked when the lock wouldn’t open even after several tries. What’s wrong? I ran back to the provisions store and asked the shopkeeper sheepishly to please help me unlock my scooty–I am a bit new and all that.

So he came and managed to unlock it after a little jiggling. I thanked him and he went away. But my travails were far from over–in fact they were only just beginning. When I now tried to start the engine, it hissed, hiccuped and died. Again. And again. What the hell! But you know how there always are good Samaritans around. A guy sitting in his car came out and offered to help, and managed to start the engine, albeit with some difficulty.

I was now finally on my way home but the scooty was continuing to act queer. The headlights wouldn’t turn on. I was alarmed–had someone been tinkering with my scooty in my absence?Β  A number of ominous thoughts struck my mind. . The engine died out again mid way and I was able to restart it with a lot of difficulty, after having tried for no less than five minutes. I heaved a sigh of relief when I at last reached home. I vowed not to touch the scooty again before having it thoroughly examined by the servicing centre.

It was then that I noticed the wrong number plate.Yes, I had driven off the wrong scooty. Can you believe it? I frantically tried to restart the poor thing–with no success, of course.

I broke into cold sweat. I had visions of police cars with wailing sirens arriving any moment in hot pursuit. I made a mad dash to my neighbour’s flat. Mr. neighbour answered the doorbell, and his serious, no-nonsense demeanor dissolved into frank mirth as I narrated my sorry tale. “OMG, you drove away someone else’ scooty? How on earth? Hehehe!!!” He giggled, making my ears burn all the more with sheer mortification.

He then tried to make me feel better by telling me how ‘someone from his office had once done something like this too’. To me it only sounded like’ never mind, you’re not the only idiot in the world.’!

I handed over my scooty keys to him. The engine came to life again after about ten minutes of trying, after which we went to the market parking area again where I found my own scooty– to my great relief. I had been worried sick that the owner of the scooty I had driven away will have driven away mine!

Since the scooty would not be locked with my keys, we couldn’t go back until the owner of the scooty came along. After a little while, Mr. Neighbour asked me to get going, assuring me that he would wait around for the owner of the scooty to come along. I thanked him profusely and went home where my daughters were waiting to pounce at me. Where had I been? What took me so long?

I mumbled something about there being some problem with the scooter. They mercifully didn’t press for details.

I came to know later in the evening that the the owner of the other scooty had arrived some five minutes after I left and was able to start it with ease using the right keys. He didn’t find anything amiss, so all’s well that ends well. And I have to say that I have the sweetest neighbours in the world.

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14 Responses to Was My Face Red?

  1. Jas says:

    Oh my god on so many accounts… first you live in chd which was practically my second home for soooo many years….. secondly you are calling Activa a scooty… no wonder that’s why it acted all crazy πŸ˜› and thirdly you drove someone else’s scooter !!!! my eyes are popping out… I mean how on earth your keys were able to unlock it… and I can’t stop laughing… πŸ˜€

    • Oh I have been in chandigarh for three and a half years now. Second home…do you mean your grandparents stayed here? Do let me know anytime you happen to be in the city–kabhi saddi gali bhull ke vi aaya karo πŸ˜›
      Arre, Activa maybe decent-looking and heavy but it is gearless, so it is still a scooty, no?
      On my own I wouldn’t have been able to unlock it at all–I sometimes actually have trouble unlocking my own scooty, which is why I asked the shopkeeper to unlock it and he did it !*smacks head*

  2. Deeps says:

    Hahahahahahaha! Sorry, S but I couldnt stop myself!! Come here, let me give you a tight consolatory hug….

    and then go back to laughing πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    Phew! Now that I have composed myself….ok, here I go again πŸ˜† πŸ˜† … sorry again! You can stop growling at me, I wont laugh again. *struggles hard to keep a straight face* πŸ˜›

    On a serious note, I’m glad to know that there still are good Samaritans around ever willing to help. And you are safe. But I’m surprised that a scooter could be started with a wrong key. Well actually, I should not be surprised..it happens only in India! Hai na! πŸ˜‰

    But yes, all’s well that ends well πŸ™‚

    • What!! Laugh all you want, and I don’t want your consolatory hug, Grrr πŸ˜‰

      Actually Deeps, I was very surprised myself as even I was under the impression that a vehicle cannot/should not start with any key not its own. After this incident, I think probably the keys of different units of the same brand might be basically similar (the same size, for instance) with only minor variations that make each set of keys unique–I don’t know. It is quite possible that it happens only in India πŸ˜€

  3. You deserve a courage certificate for writing about this one! Seriously, if you sent it to ‘Tarak Mehta Ka oolta Chashma’ they would pay you royalty and make an episode out of it!! πŸ˜€

  4. Ashwathy says:

    OMG!!! You got lucky that you managed to replace it in the nick of time!!

    I have almost gotten into someone else’s car by mistake. But this story of yours takes the cake! πŸ˜†

  5. Amit says:

    This is one story that can be passed through generations in your family! πŸ˜›

    • No way!! I am not breathing a word about this to anyone in my family πŸ˜› My brother is the only one in the family who reads this blog, and he is very good with secrets πŸ™‚

  6. metherebel says:

    What a tale that was? πŸ˜€ Had you been a little late you would have been accused of scooty/activa theft πŸ™‚

    • Good to see you here, metherebel. Welcome to this blog πŸ™‚
      Oh yes, I was mighty lucky to get back there in the nick of time! I shudder to think of what would have happened otherwise!

  7. Sanjana says:

    LOL!

    Mannnn, I can’t believe that this happened! How could your keys work on another scooty?!
    Crazy!
    I’ve had something similar (but muuuuuch worse) happen to someone I know, but at least her was drunk at the time! πŸ˜›

    • It was crazy for sure–I suspect the shopkeeper who helped me unlock ‘my’ scooty picks locks in his spare time to entertain himself πŸ˜€
      Hmm..so I managed to do in a perfectly sober state what some people do when drunk!! Some feat, that!! :mrgreen:

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