Thursday, July 13, 2006

Divine Love in the Time of Cholera

I guess the overcast skies, minor drizzles and noticeably cooler temperatures of the last couple of days should have given Donkey a hint that something was coming, but this morning the monsoon officially arrived in Delhi, and it chose to make its entrance in a pretty spectacular fashion!

For most of the early morning, visibility was at about one foot, and the deluge made pretty short work of the road drainage system. All the food scraps, rubbish, plastic bags and sewerage (treated and otherwise) that have been piling-up on the street corners and in the drains during the long, hot summer months were brought to the surface in about two seconds flat, and it was not long before the rising puddles which were now swallowing up the roads, mutated into an unsightly, fragrant mix of mud, rubbish and excrement (both human and animal).

Being the tight-arse that I am, I’d been in denial about the impending monsoon so that I wouldn’t have to spend money on an umbrella, and so it was with neither gumboots nor lid that Donkey waded into this public health disaster early this morning, in order to attempt transportation to work.

Not a chance! In this Kevin Costner-esque apocalypse which had once been known as the New Delhi Ring Road, the massive, beaten-up old Delhi Transport Corporation buses looked even more beaten-up and older than usual, and the numerous emerging limbs of the thousands of commuters stuffed inside made them look even more like prehistoric amphibians who’d just eaten too many schmucks for dinner and who were unable to wipe the leftovers from their chins (mind you, napkins the size of Kim Beazley’s bed sheets ARE a little hard to come by).

Even the skeletal auto-rickshaws looked like menacing pirhanas as they emerged from the rising turds … ah, sorry … tides, and it appeared that these, too, had gorged on the excess of humanity washed-up on the gutters by the downpour, as every single one that passed-by was occupied by sopping, bedraggled Delhi wallahs.

For fifty minutes, Donkey’s soiled, sopping, snivelling form stood in the rain, mud and filth, vainly attempting to flag down the gluttonous beasts that darted in an out of the gridlock. It was hopeless!

“Jah-eez-ars Kar-eyest!”, I snivelled miserably to myself, “I’m going to need a freakin’ miracle to get to work today!”

And just as that passionate exclamation left my fluffy, Donkey lips, something happened. It was as if time stopped. The traffic noise, even that incessant twenty-four hour honking that is a rather unattractive feature of this town, ceased. The rain, which had been pounding down for three hours, ceased. The annoying old bag standing next to me, who’d been banging-on into her mobile phone for the last fifty minutes, fell silent. For perhaps a fraction of a second, almost everything in the world had stopped. I looked up to see the only other thing that was moving.

Coming towards me, and slowing down to pick me up, was my miracle. An ordinary looking bus with a divine name, clearly sent in answer to my miserable plea. The only other thing moving in that split-second of silence, was a bus from the ‘Jesus and Mary Transport Company’. My prayers had been answered … Donkey was saved!

I took a step towards the Jesus and Mary Transport Company bus, and the Jesus and Mary Transport Company bus veered towards me, all the time slowing down. I smiled gratefully at the Jesus and Mary Transport Company bus, opening my arms as if to embrace it, and the Jesus and Mary Transport Company bus came to a stop about ten feet away to let someone off. I moved towards the Jesus and Mary Transport Company bus and reached up in order to get on, and the Jesus and Mary Transport Company bus-driver flawed the accelerator, shot past and doused me in a shower of liquid excrement floating on the cholera reservoir at my feet.

That’ll teach ya to use the Lord’s name in vain, Donkey!

Kevin Costner wouldn't stand a chance against these guys ... and Donkey had no luck with them this morning, either. Photo: Google Images


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