The Floral Auto
by Priyanka Tampi
“Where to?” Radha asks as Vivek makes himself comfortable in the backseat. He takes a moment. The fragrance of her fresh gajra hits home as he takes in the unapologetic floral interiors of the vehicle.
He is instantly reminded of the women in his life. He sees their faces in the rear view mirror, in the woman before him and through the windshield ahead; his past, present and future. The women who have been unabashedly bold and in the driver’s seat of their own life. They drove him to become the man he is today.
He watches himself being walked to the school fair, a 10-rupee note shoved into his satchel by a bangle-laden hand “so you can ride the little airplane, shhh don’t tell amma”.
He smiles as he sees his mother stuffing his suitcases with her signature mango pickle, his favourite. “Fly safe my son, tell her I can’t wait to meet her”, she had said.
He looks up at the sky and makes a wish upon an airplane. In just a few hours he’d be with the love of his life, a regional airline pilot- the bindi on her forehead like a bright red sun rising in the sky.
With the clink of her bangles, Radha turns and asks again, quizzically- “Where to?”. Little does she know he’s already been on his own fantastical little journey.