Thursday, March 24, 2011

"We'll fight them on the beaches..."

Paul is also scared of spiders and ladybirds
I fear this story maybe one of those where ‘You had to be there’ as Paul’s response to my action packed, face to face rendition was a less than enthusiastic ‘Good for you’. But I’ll go with it….
It was my first official outing with our new driver Ramesh. First stop was Good Earth in Colaba, I’ve been dying to buy a cushion they have with a picture of a Indian woman’s face on it, but Paul hasn’t let me because he said her face was too scary and it would give him nightmares (that will teach you to not like my stories Hanley!) Cushion purchased, the next mission of the evening was to find a car parking space and at 6.15pm on a weekday it wasn’t going to be easy. 
After waiting patiently for 30 minutes listening to Britney Spears’s Greatest Hits, a space became available. As traffic was trying to enter the Cricket Club, which is located at the end of the road, we had been required to shift and change our position a few times so we weren’t in the most ideal spot, in fact our unfortunate spot required Ramesh to conduct the most important 3 point turn of his career to date, one that involved avoiding a postal truck, a motor bike, a 4x4, a Suzuki Swift and reversing into the space! It looked impossible and time was running out, if we didn’t hurry someone else was going to park there, I couldn’t live with that, so I got out (as the car was moving because I felt it created more drama) and shouted ‘I’ll reserve the space Ramesh!’ I ran over and stood in the middle of it, declaring it was ours, but as I arrived a sneaky blue car started to pull in to MY space. I stood my ground and said very politely (the way English people do) ‘I am terribly sorry but we have been waiting a very long time, this is ours’. To this the man grunted, tried to run me over and managed to gain half of the space! This got me mad, very mad, it had been a long wait and granted my car wasn’t there yet but I was there first!  ‘Excuse me’ I said loudly ‘This is my space, move!’ He just ignored me! It was like I was Israel and he was Palestine, both at logger heads!
scene of the crime
Concerned I was gong to inflict damage on the mans car, Ramesh came over, looking very sheepish and whispered something to the man, probably along the lines of ‘Please move, this is my first day and my boss is a bit mental’ he ignored him too. I then stated to the thousands of on lookers (mumbikers are very nosey) that I shall not be moving until my car was parked! As I said this a tubby, red haired, Cool Cab driver (red from dying his hair in henna not an Indian ginge) came over and started yelling at the man and banging his fist on the guys car roof, again the stubborn so and so wouldn’t budge! By this time there was a queue of cars waiting to get into the Cricket Club, honking like you would not believe, most people would have given up at this point, but I felt strongly about this space, probably the same way Nelson Mandela felt strongly about African rights, so again I confidently said ‘I’m not moving!’. Another cab driver came over pleading with the blue car driver to move, and another came over, and another, and another, the sound of the honking and loud Indian accents was deafening, another guy joined in; after 10 minutes there were around 20 men and me trying to get this Neanderthal to move. I didn’t understand why these men were helping me, it may have been because of my short skirt but I like to think it was because they believed in my plight of wrong versus right!
After what seemed like hours (it was 15 minutes) of protest, words I didn’t understand and honking the man started to reverse and everyone started cheering. Peer pressure had availed! Feeling exuberated I shouted ‘Go, go, go, Ramesh’ and Ramesh reversed in to the space in expert style, the cheering continued! I went up to my knight in shining armor (the red headed Cool Cab driver, not Ramesh, for all his great reversing techniques I think he is a bit of a wimp, but luckily I make up for it!) and tried to give him fifty rupees to say thank you, but he wouldn’t accept, he just said ‘No, no maaam’ and put his hand on my shoulder as if to say 'it was my pleasure’. I went home and immediately called Paul to tell him of my victory.
The end
Please say that story was worth more than a ‘Good for you???’


  1. That is my favourite analogy ever created Mrs Hanley and I thank you for it! Beautiful!

  2. Really? Thank you Benjamin, that certainly is better than a 'Good for you'!

  3. I love this story! I laugh just trying to picture holding a space here. You did well, girl, you got balls!!!

  4. Hi, glad you like it, I really don't know what came over me on this day! When I walk pass that road now the Cool cab driver always says hello! I'm a local hero! Do you live in Mumbai?

  5. No, I am staying with my husband in Gujarat. My life is quite boring in this village. I would give anything to live in Mumbai.
    How long will you be in India? Maybe next time I come we should meet up. I always fly in and out of Mumbai, but this time we are booked up with my friends visit until the moment I leave. I think I might come back either this fall, or wait until the decent weather months of Jan or Feb...

  6. That would be lovely, we will be here for the next few years! Let me know when you're in town x

  7. OMG, thats like definately something i would do hahaa, if you can survive in mumbai so can i! you go girl! the best parking story i've heard yet!

  8. Wow! Great story Mrs. Braveheart! Love it!


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