Morning rides

A pink hat with white dots.

A black cap shading the eyes.

A bare head under the sun.

Another head with a fancy flower.

 

Mums riding fast

to reach the schools on time.

Sometimes it’s the dads,

or occassionally a grandpa with a frown.

 

Scooters, scooters, scooters.

Zipping, zapping, zooming.

With their precious packages

standing tall in front of the seat.

 

Dreaming of their day in school

or dreading the lunch they’ll have to eat

or simply hoping and praying

their teachers would keep their cool.

 

Speeding lorries, faster bikes,

angry drivers tooting horns.

Slow down, pipe down.

Have a thought.

 

For these little flowers,

Smiling, laughing, waving,

blooming on your way.

Every morning, everyday.

 

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I drive

I’m a woman. I drive.

Why is this so hard for some men drivers to take?

While driving, my eyes are focused on the road, but I also notice a mother on a scooter with her kid.

I notice an old man trying to cross the road.

I notice a vendor trying to hard-sell his feather dusters, running erratically between cars at a signal.

I also notice the hooligans on bikes who zoom 100 km/hr hooting & screaming, trying to race each other playfully.

And the morons driving cars like they’re on race tracks and above all traffic rules.

After years of driving with a baby on board, I drive very carefully. I never speed, always go easy on speed breakers & pot holes and wait at signals when it’s red, even when other cars don’t care what color it is, as long as they can squeeze through. (Much to the disgust of the baby, which has grown up quite a bit)

I’ve been driving on the roads of Chennai for the past 14 years. And every day, there’s at least one angry male driver who is either intent on overtaking me or somehow bully me off the road.

The other day, a maniac honked away behind me and was so upset that I did not let him pass. After about 5-8 minutes of blaring his horn at my car &  baring his fangs at me, he got his chance. I had to stop at a signal. He changed lanes & zoomed away triumphantly, way above any speed limit.

Instead of feeling defeated, I could only laugh.

What’s your hurry? I wanted to ask him.

Why is it so important to overtake a woman driving? Is it an insult to your masculinity if you don’t? Unlike you, my dear stone age man, I drive to serve a purpose, instead of feeling powerful.

I drive my kid to school, to various after-school classes, for medical checks, my parents to the temple, aunts to shopping, my driving-challenged friends to the movies, drive myself to do some grocery shopping, so on and so forth.

And while I’m doing that, my focus is to get there in one piece. More than me, I feel responsible towards those traveling with me and want to make sure I get them safely home.

So I’m not interested in power-struggles on the road with men like you.

I don’t care if I win or lose these imaginary races you have with me.

If you’re so inclined to prove your masculinity with your wild & dangerous driving, remember this.

You only come across as a boorish bully, who’s a threat to those on the road.

I’m a woman. I drive.

Get used to it.

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