huff, puff, cuff

As I was running through the reader glancing through posts of interest, I came across one where the blogger had written about he helped folks on the road with their car trouble as a random act of kindness. It felt good that despite us living in frenzied rushed selfish times, there are still folks out there who stop and donate what’s most precious – not money, but time. Nice? Yes, very nice.

This triggered a particular memory, something that happened a real long time ago.
I am a city girl. Raised in the city, parts of braving the various whims of the citylife is but ingrained. My student life pretty much hovered around taking the public transport [read PTC buses] from 3rd grade to starting to bike up to school from home from 6th grad, to graduating to the TVS 50 in 8th grade and then during the final year wangled the Kinetic Honda all the way into college and internship. Of course I had to share it with my mother, which literally meant huge beggings and being on best behavior to get it from her, but those were some really fun crazy times.

If I drive like I own the road, it’s purely from all the experience I’ve garnered manoeuvering through icky traffic and dangerously positioned autos and trucks. Those were such fun days, zooming between the mobike guys, playing race, winning some, losing some, doing stuff completely out of character, knowing fully well that you could throttle out fast if things went outa control, showing off to the rest o the bus-stop riders and so much more… *sigh. Sadly, all my bindaas panga maro-ing had to come to screeching halt when I married my very cautious town-boy of a husband and then of course I coffined it all out after just a month of driving in the US. The roads here are actually quite the bore, except when covered with ice, of course.

Anyhow, so I am pretty sure it was during the final internship year, that one really hot mid-day [redundant talking about Madras, but it was April or so.. ] I was in the Mylapore area. Now that I think back, I have no idea what I was doing in those parts and at that hour, must have been something to do with Sukra Jewelers or I’d have been sent errand-ing off to Ambika Appalam or some such. I was returning home alone on my Kinetic Honda.

The sun was burning down hot. Very hot, and I was scorching, turning a nice shade of black from an already roasted brown color that I was reminded of constantly at home. I was in some salwar and the thin dupatta wasn’t exactly helping by way of a shade in any way. These days I’ve noticed girls back in Madras wear some funky arm covers and cover their faces – Taliban style – and all visible parts of body in a neatly packaged manner. Quite like how we’d see HAZMAT warriors during alerts in downtown DC. So, with having no such gear, girls braved the sun turning the uncovered arms/hands four times darker than where the sleeve covered.

I was coming from Mylapore tank and had to take that left towards Vitan/Nilgiris or that Rangachari – Luz Church Rd is what I hope it’s still called.

Update: Got this nifty little Yahoo! mapsΒ for IndiaΒ comme GoogleMaps here, and I HAD to use it. You see that star, yeah, that’s the infamous spot.


I know I missed the signal barely, and so was the very first rider and traffic piled fairly quickly behind. The green wasn’t going to come for a while and I was getting quite annoyed having to sit there with my arms stretched out at the handle bars. Frustrated, with my motor running idly and feet on the road, I put my hands behind my back. It was a bit cooler and I sat there feeling all smug on beating the sun. Of course since there’s really not much else to do, I looked all around me.

Right at my 5 o clock, was this really nice looking dude on a shiny black Yamaha. At 1sh that was a rare sight. He wasn’t a college student, as far as I could tell, and didn’t look the rugged creepy working fellas. So, after doing a double take without looking too desperate, I sat back watching the mirror. I normally have a good memory for faces and usually can transpose them years down the road, but I am getting this uncannily clear image of this dude in my head now. Ugh, so much useless stored information the brain carries, I tell ya! Okay, maybe it isn’t that useless after all…

Anyways, I am not much of a jewelry person, and on Mom’s insistence, I had on 2 thin gold bangles on my left hand, something I still have on now, and as a then new fashion accessory, a simple gold-plated kada on the right hand, a design I fell in love with and had to have – similar to the one below, except that it was 1.5 circle. [As an aside, there are way too many gold jewelry sites on the web, and then to top it, none offered the style I was looking for. People should really quit buying gold. Such a waste of money, really!]


Between eyeing the mirror image and the traffic light, more on the former than the latter, I lost track of time and sat there oblivious to the heat, until of course I was jostled by the loud honks. The light had changed. I start, and lurch forward, only to find that my hands refused to move. No prizes for guessing what transpired behind my back. Yes, in a freak twisted fate, the bangles plotted against me and the left hand bangles slipped between the open ends of the kada and there I was seemingly handcuffed behind my back.

No rush, guffaw away, I shall wait.

Needless to say, the realization was let’s say a mix of panic and embarrassment. Throw some blazing heat of the temperature kind, a very good looking dude witnessing the whole spectacle you’ve made yourself, and the angry honks behind you, I was not really having a good moment. I struggle to un-cuff myself, and was doing an extremely clumsy job of it. The bangles were snug and as with most panic situations, nothing works in your favor. I could’ve dug a hole and buried myself, and I’d still be squirming so much that the worms would plot to silence me once and for all.

So, by now, there’s enough commotion and a couple of riders were already yelling at me for not moving. This is when I turned around and the look on my face must have been precious, coz the dude in a very stylish move pushed his stand down, swung his long legs across, and with an amused smile on his face, walked up to me. I sit there flushed, as he struggles to find my wrists under the layers of dupatta and un-cuffs me. Very un-characteristically for a guy to show concern rather than a tease, he adds “You okay?” I nod, and I think I manage to whisper a thank you, when he laughs and says “I go straight, so don’t go cuffing yourself again, I won’t be there to rescue you”, and with a good-hearted laugh swings back on his bike.

I swoon, almost; wake up, and throttle as fast as I can.

Act of random kindness I’d like to believe, and no one dare say a word on the contrary!



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  1. says: Archana

    You had me totally hooked when you mentioned Mylapore, Luz Church Road and Vitan – oh man, soooo many memories there. Where did you use to live?

    Man, trust you to cuff yourself – maybe it was your subconscious trying to do what it thought your antics deserved :-P!

    So sweet of that guy – am surprised you did not swoon completely and go off riding into the sunset (or afternoon sun) with him ;-)!

  2. says: Archana

    And you remember the face of that guy still? Really??? And I thought I was the one with the biggest memory for the most useless things :-)! But ya – remembering a cute face is useless or not is debatable…:-P!

  3. says: Pratap

    oi! was that you???? dont you remember me? I was that dude who helped you out! I am pretty bad with faces so did not recognize you earlier, but I still remember the incident. πŸ˜€

    The world is small after all!

  4. says: rads

    Pratap: If the guy was you, that would make you at least 40, but then again, I hardly look like back then, so it’s a possibility we can’t brush aside. :-p

    Baph: :–)

    Usha: haha, yea, it was sweet of him :–) ..and art imitates life and vice versa right?

    Archana: I so do! It’s very clear, if I see him again, am quite sure I’d recognize him, even after 15 years! Just like I spot all the ex-classmates I bump into around the area while they stammer for my name!
    ..and you did mean “remembering a cute face as useless or not is NOT debatable” right? ;–)

    Baliga: See, that’s the whole point, I don’t live in that area, Nungambakkam, Loyola College was my adda-types. Very good-looking place I might add, if you get my drift. ;–)
    Totally – gold handcuffs and all that! I do deserve nothing short no? :–)

    I wish I did, but am even surprised he looked at me. Long braid and all, I am pretty sure I was every cute guy’s Big Ethel!

    GDS: I couldn’t make that up even if I tried! You ask and we can imagine and deliver ;–)

  5. says: terri

    rads, as a public service to you, I shall keep an eye out for every nice-looking, 40+ dude in the area in the next two days. I’m hoping the dude has moved up in life and graduated to a shiny car by now. Of course, I’m doing this out of the goodness of my heart solely for your benefit πŸ˜‰

  6. says: rads

    Joy: Totally! :–D

    terri: I had you in mind while I wrote this. Why do you think I went into details on the location? If you do come across such a fine gentleman, make sure you get cuffed too ;–)

    mayG: So you think I can graduate to writing bollywood movies now πŸ˜‰

  7. Enjoyed! Had to happen to you!

    I had one such random act of kindness backfire once.

    I was standing at a BEST bus stop – rainy season – and a pretty girl is standing next to me (I wasn’t married then, of course. Today I wouldn’t have noticed her).

    Her bus comes, she gets in, bus drives away, and I realize there’s a raincoat left behind. I pick it up, sprint to the bus (which has stopped at the lights) and dump the raincoat in her lap. She looks up in puzzlement (“Such chivalry in this day and age” is my guess). I get off the bus as the lights have turned green and trudge back to the bus stop. Find a “pandu” (traffic cop) scowling ferociously.

    Turns out the raincoat is his. Costs me about 20 liters of sweat and Rupees 50 to get out of that one. But the thought of what must have passed through the babe’s mind is priceless.

    Apologies for longish pointless reminiscence.

  8. says: rads

    Naren: I couldn’t stop laughing for a good few minutes. :–)

    I have major questions –
    1. Was it a neutral colored raincoat?
    2. Was the girl that big, or burly for her to be wearing a guy’s raincoat?
    3. If the above answer was ‘no’ was the cop small or one who’d like some pleasant colors?

    There are more, but let’s hear this. U know, you should blog about this. You’d do a fine job! Please don’t apologize, this kinda stories is what I truly was hoping for.

    Sirop: If something crazy hapens, you can bet your fine shoes that it would happen to rads. Really. :–)

  9. says: wickedtaurus

    drifts in VA freeways, former bike stunts in madras…WOW!
    fast and furious – tunneling drift in the making? πŸ™‚

  10. says: SK

    eheehee :–)
    Now tell me if you really that innocent as you claim to be :–D
    Its as if the worlds conspired for this to happen :–P

  11. says: Amrita


    Second: Awww!

    Third: If this was a movie then he’d turn out to be the guy next door or have asked you for a cup of coffee or shown up when it was time to get married. Oh well, it all seems to have worked out. πŸ™‚

  12. says: rads

    Lakshmi: *gasp* You too! ;–)

    First off – Nice seeing you here.
    Thank you for laughing and then empathizing :–D
    The closest my life came to a movie is sketched above. No such luck, and I tried too! *sigh

    SK: Of course I am a poster child for naivety. Seriously, folks have given up cracking jokes or teasing me coz I take ’em seriously.
    No, not proud of it at all :–|

    Dufus: hehe

    WT: Interestingly, I don’t plan at all. Random stuff happens to me. It’s like am the bulls eye on the random dartboard.

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