Thursday, March 18, 2004


Yesterday I went to the cobbler (yes he was sitting in cobbler's pose) to pick up some sandals he's repaired. It was a lovely evening and we were standing around shooting the breeze in Kannada about whether we'd had our meals and, if not, when we planned to eat. Suddenly a couple of his friends made some strange sounds and pointed towards the road. I turned around and saw a khaki and white-clad cop driving my scooter down the street! Much to the delight of everyone who'd gathered, I ran after him in full Indian dress (including bindi, bangles and ankle bracelets). When he saw me he stopped and said,

"No parking that side of street."

"Oh!" I said, noticing the yellow and black-striped pavement for the first time (yet it *is* OK to park on any sidewalk here at any time). "Parking ela [no]. So sorry! I did not know!"

"You must not park there," he repeated He was tall and stern, and wearing a moustache (of course) and the standard-issue white cowboy hat. He looked me in the eye and added, "No parking. One hundred rupees fine."

I got scared for a second. Then *I* looked *him* in the eye and smiled and said, "Where is your ticket book?"

He gave the tiniest hint of a smile before looking stern again and handed over the scooter. I very carefully wheeled it to the curb on the opposite side of the street and parked. Without looking at him I trotted back to the cobbler -- he and his friends were tre amused -- and finished my business. No fine.

Today I learned that through no fault of my own I am no longer the Reader's calendar girl. Money problems coming, Madam.

However this does not detract from the fact that I came up from backbend *four times* today -- with finesse.

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