2 minutes on traffic signal

Sometimes, traffic signals can give you much food for thought (at least to me)…….today was one such day. My early morning trip to St. Marks Road was coming to an end. I was at Bhashyam Circle. Traffic from all directions had been stopped as some VIP convoy was passing by…..as I waited (getting slightly annoyed because Mess closing time was nearing and I was hungry), I looked to my left. There she was, probably annoyed like me, her hands confidently perched on the handle of a slightly rickety looking Yamaha RX 100. I won’t deny feeling an instant sense of kinship with her! At that very instant, she looked at me, I smiled. I could sense a bond forming. I moved slightly to my left and said a Hi to her. She smiled back and returned my Hi.

It’s not everyday that I come across a woman riding a bike wearing a saree and sporting a knee length plait. She had a bag slung on her shoulder and the white saree lent her an elf life look…….there were no words spoken for a few seconds as she took in my appearance (black t-shirt, cargos with all pockets stuffed with knick knacks, a bag on my shoulder, goggles and a bandana) and I took in hers (white saree, plain cotton bag and no jewellery whatsoever). She exuded a quiet strength, the kinds that makes you feel protected. I think she could see the question forming in my mind, so she volunteered, “You’ve to only get used to it, it’s not very difficult. Saree can be a little troublesome in the beginning, but you’ll be ok after some time”.

I smiled weakly (I’ve no intentions of getting used to wearing saree and riding a bike). I spotted a grease smear near her right foot and said (I regretted it almost immediately), “Why wear white? See that grease smear. Trousers or maybe, three quarter pants are a more real option for bike-riding”. A pained look crossed her face. And through a smile, she almost whispered, “I’m a widow. Family doesn’t allow me to wear anything else but a white saree. I don’t have a house, so I’ve to stay with them you see. And no one wants to do things for me. So, I’ve to go out myself and do things.”

I was speechless! There was no complaint in her voice, just an acceptance of reality. And then, she regained her composure and said, “This is my husband’s bike, you know. After he died, I learnt driving by myself. Fell a few times, got hurt but now, I can ride it easily. How come you ride a bike too?”

“Just like that. I liked the feeling of being able to ride a bike, it’s such a men’s thing you know! So, simply! And I was taught riding the bike. My salute to your enthusiasm. I don’t think I could’ve learnt on my own”, I said.

“Ya, that’s there……………”

What she said next was drowned by the sounds of sirens as the convoy passed by. The light went green and all of us moved. She did too and so did I! She and I merely waved and the conversation ended there! She went off. I went my way! And that was that!

She may not probably even remember me, but I will remember her. For a long long time to come! Human strength amazes me…….always has. What all we can adapt to! My salute to her, once again. For braving all odds and living life, confidently……….



  1. Ananth said,

    July 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Thats a noce story to remember for life! You find yourself priviledged at times!

  2. SHAMIT said,

    July 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    What a story! Can’t believe that’s from a real life incident. Some people are bestowed with so much mental strength. And I would have surely been amazed to see two such contrasting bikers…! 🙂

  3. Tata said,

    July 9, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    My salute to the brave lady. She uses the traditional Indian Dress and uses the modern conveyance. I wish all ladies are like her. I would claim all of them to be my mother.

  4. Ramkumar said,

    July 10, 2008 at 9:23 am

    albeit driving on bangalore roads may be deemed extreme sport, i hate to agree with bravado that is confered on the lady. The kinship you describe is akin to a bunch of command prompt unix users wanting to smear bill gates’ face with a cake and proclaim themselves techies.
    gearless is soooo much more comfortable and can you beat the “wind in the air” (sic) at 30kmph? and so is MS Windows
    I hope someday she will be able ask her “family” to FO and live the way she wants to

  5. laasya said,

    July 10, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Dear God.. My salute, too. Really. ‘Family doesn’t allow’?? In this day and age in an urban setting? How protected ARE we..Agree with Ram, learning the bike doesn’t strike me as the big issue (ya I’m sure nor you :>)..but the white saree DOES make an impact- visual and mental. Uff.

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