Some things can only happen in Goa

Smooching Cars

by Salil Chaturvedi

Some things can only happen in Goa 

I brake hard, harder, hardest and then harder still, flooring the brake, and yet my car, as if hurled on by its destiny, manages to kiss the car in front.

It feels soft, and that is a relief. I can see the face of a girl looking at me in the front car’s side view mirror. The girl raises her eyebrows. I shrug and smile. I’d like to get off and apologize, but being on a wheelchair has its limitations. We both sit still, blocking the highway. Finally the girl gets off her car and saunters up till where our cars are sinfully locked in a metal-plastic smooch.

She is casually dressed and has long hair. I reverse a little so she can get a good look at the damage, but immediately, the car behind me starts blaring its horn, and then is joined by a chorus of other cars.

“Want to pull over to the side?” I suggest to the girl. She hasn’t said anything so far and that’s a bit unsettling. She nods and goes back to the wheel and pulls over to the side of the road. I tag my car behind hers and the traffic starts moving again.

I can see two guys looking at me from her car’s rear seat. I hadn’t noticed them earlier. The girl gets off again and comes up to me. There is a casualness and a self-assuredness in her walk that is attractive. She is young, in her mid-twenties and somehow I know that she is used to taking decisions.

“Sorry,” I begin. “I tried very hard but couldn’t stop in time.”

“The cars in front of me stopped suddenly,” she says, “so I had to stop suddenly, too.”

She looks at the rear of her car. I can see the dented dicky and the caved-in bumper. My car is strangely unaffected. The girl opens the dicky of her car with a key and then shuts it. She repeats this a few times. No problem. Then she squats on the ground and puts her hand under and behind the bumper. She pushes hard and, slowly at first and then with a pop, the bumper comes back to its original shape. She looks at me and smiles.

“Not too bad, eh?” she says.

“Not bad at all,” I say, smiling widely and letting out a loud sigh of relief.

She gets back into the driver’s seat and drives off. I can see the red lipstick of my car on her bumper.

“End of beautiful story,” I think to myself, “Can happen only in Goa.”

Then I notice that her car’s dicky is open. I give chase.

 

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