Of Potholes and Plastic

The car itself was sold to a young, hardworking, handsome, upwardly mobile geek, with a beautiful, charming, etc etc etc wife and a playful, charming, lovely etc etc son some weeks back.

After a few weeks, he is taken for a spin. And as his senses soak up the interiors : the clean dashboard, the distinct odour of new rexine (or whatever), the super clean floor mat etc. And he sits. Forgetting the rest of the world.

It was then that he hears the rustle. It is then that the rustle of plastic on his behind was…, hmm…lets put it this way : is slightly more than a patently evident ! And with every pothole and stone that the tyre cares to caress, the collective weight of four bodies on plastic creates a sound that seems louder than the Korean engine inside the hood.

With the resolve of a Tamil film hero out to avenge the injustice meted out to his mother, his hands seize the plastic cover on his seat. To yank them away. His action would spell freedom for the seat. And peace for his ears.

It was obvious that he wasn’t prepared for ‘Don’t do that’ shriek that came in unison from his co-passengers. One of whom was his wife. ( Yes some men never learn). For all that could escape from his stunned lips was some hot air.

Like a pick pocket caught in the act by CC TV, he shrunk. ‘Let the plastic remain. The seat covers will get dirty. Let the car stay new for some more time’ they tell him. In Unison.

‘Its been five weeks. For how long….?’ he manages to mutter. Hoping to get the others aware of the futility of such efforts.

His wife shoots an unsolicited reply into the air-conditioned air of the korean car. “They will be there, as long as those plastic covers on your books back home remain. As long as those empty cartons of your perfume bottles occupy space in the cramped wardrobe…..”

In a jiffy he makes peace. He smokes the peace pipe with the flip-flop of an election time politician. The white flag waved with alarming ambivalence. And for sometime the only sound that punctuates the still air is from the air-conditioning vent.

Then in the middle of the road, the rubber says hello to a pothole. And a collective rustle of four bodies on plastic abounds. By now, he is aware that he has made his peace. And he stares into the outside world.

The potholes and plastic make him aware. Of his beginnings. Of his circle. Of his friends. Of his family. Of his country. Of its roads. And one more, much reviled, cliche: “middle class ” !!

PS : To the young upwardly mobile geek & family, with the new car, who will read this sometime : Sorry. This photograph is shared without your explicit permission. Hopefully all the adjectives showered in the opening para will compensate. OK ?)

14 thoughts on “Of Potholes and Plastic

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kavi

    I have been reading your blogs daily and i must say that i am hooked to it. Some of them, i do really like and others i feel ” are below expectations”, like this one. I have found you to be an amazing writer with a good hold on your words. I always believe and feel, its the writers who hold the reins for future, coz they are the ones who have the power to ignite and inspire people. I have the same expectations from you kavi. I feel, there are hundreds of issues that we come across in our daily life and which require the masses attention and commitment. Its just that our conscience has gone off to sleep and hence we are least bothered. Could you pick up those and ignite the masses? If we have to grow as individual and nation, we have to be more committed. I know you have been highlighting many things in the past..big and small..These are just my 2 cents. Pardon me if i have crossed my limits.

  2. ~nm says:

    Yes. This is how it is with most of us people who want to keep the car clean “for at least some time” 😀

    And yes..I hate that plastic noise too..

  3. Kavi, your kind on words to plastic y people….I call them the CONDOM reuse generation.

    They keep plastic on …..new cars, new chairs, Forget the stickers on drinking glasses…and the mobile phones have those plastic covers….

    Just thought one day….they must be recycling the condoms tooo!!!!

  4. Your last para says it all. Yes its the middle class. Proudly holding the middle up, as standards go up and down about it, and principles, and attitudes are abandoned with those making a great effort to escape from the “middle”clutches.

    Yes, its plastic. But it is being used . Instead of being abandoned to a unbiodegradable afterlife. Like the bookcovers and the perfume cartons.

    Sometimes nosiy and pothole sensing crackling seats , traipsing through the middle, are better than silk on the hands as you caress the seat fabric, , safe in an AC car, impervious to the approaching pothole. Keeps you grounded.

    A post with a lot of hidden meaning….:-)

  5. Congrats for the new car! I hope the anti- rice stance has been shifted a bit, to celebrate:) I mean, dipping whole wheat bread in sambaar is no fun, man:(

    Just a question. Doesn’t the plastic make all that noise? And now, I’m scratching my head for all the hidden meanings, thanks to ugich:)

    Thanks for sharing this story. Your folks’re right about preserving the nayapan. Hope y’all have a safe drive:)

  6. ashok says:

    there is a joke abroad..”if you find a car with seat plastic on, then it must belong to an Indian..”

    and good writing style too…cheers

  7. hmmm..how about a cloth seat cover? I’m just sayin’!! Doesn’t the plastic make you sweat?! Oh, I forgot!! A/C and all that!!!

  8. This reminds me of the well-circulated e-mailed joke about Bengali drawing rooms being distinguishable by their five-year-old still-covered-in-plastic sofa sets.

    Speaking of Bengalis, your previous post is very relevant to us, as we love our fish-curry and rice. Roti sounds tough and uncompromising, rice sounds like a happy sigh. NO CONTEST, actually.

  9. manju says:

    Nice post, Kavi! We all know- or are- people like that.

    Sometimes we are so careful about preserving things that we forget to enjoy them!

  10. Jeevan says:

    Hum… there was a struggle between peace and clean!

    I do this often! I save the wrappers and I too don’t tear anything which make things obviously new.

  11. Pearl says:

    Kavi, you are the quiet and humorous voice of the thinking man. I always enjoy your point of view.

  12. Kavi says:

    Anonymous Commenter : At the outset, a big thank you for that comment. Anybody who says he / she is hooked to what i dish out and lives to tell the tale deserves a big thank you !


    Frankly i dont know what to say. (And the missus thinks some ones pulling a fast one on me ) !

    I am humbled by the expectation that you have from me. Frankly i havent thought of my writing that way. I am just another ordinary man, writing simple slices of life which seem interesting to me. ‘Igniting the masses’….well.. thats something !

    But i hear you. I hear you. And thank you for that comment !

    And please mail me your contacts. Would like to write to you. And atleast, get to know your name ! And talk to the missus !

    NM : Ah ! yes. ‘Atleast for sometime’ is the ruse ! Ahh…!!

    Ryan : 🙂 Man oh Man ! i dont think its got to that. Yet !


    Ugich Konitari : It is about the middle class. Yes. The middle of the class.

    ‘Unbiodegradable afterlife’ I think i am already living one !


    Naperville Mom : Well, the car is not mine. No.Blogging doesnt give me money. And my middle class existence keeps both my watch and bank account asking for more. Perpetually !

    How does that fit for hidden meaning ?


    Ashok : Thanks a ton ! 🙂

    Roshini : That is my point too. The car is not mine, you see. And the chap who paid for the car, paid for the plastic too. i mean, it came with the car… !!

    Sucharita : Well, i have a theory now. That Bengal and Tamil Nadu were adjacent to each other before the continental drift !! The plastic and the rice offer more than an explanation !

    Manju : Yes. We are like that only !

    Jeevan : So there..one more friend to that list !

    Pearl : Thank you ! The plasticky point of view is still well seated !

  13. Suma says:

    this was a great post…and the last few lines “….middleclass’ speaks volumes!

  14. nsiyer says:

    Today, ofcourse its all about plastic money. So much for plastic – it has other uses too, I reckon.

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