March 9, 2009
When I first moved to Jaipur, I used to drive around town with my friend Vicky. She had an eighteen-year old Ambassador which we all loved.
Being both new to Jaipur, we didn’t know our way. So we’d often stop to ask for directions. Without fail, and whatever we’d ask for, the answers were around these lines:
Man 1: Sexy. Pssst Psst. Sexy. SEEEXY SEXY!
Man 2: Heeeeeey, hellOOO, pretty, hellOOO, vatisyournaaaaaame.
Man 3: KISS ME baby!
So we gave up and learned the hard way: by getting lost over and over again and trying to remember benchmarks.
“See the tree in the middle of the road? That means Cottons will be on our right in 2 minutes. Keep going. That’s a really clever benchmark.”
But Amby, as we called the über-vintage car, soon started to get tired. After two years, it wasn’t braking anymore, and we could only enter it through the passenger’s door. It was getting a little scary. I had to wave the other cars down while Amby cruised through, like a blind man at a fun fair.
After two years, Vicky finally got a new car. But Amby is still parked outside her house, the tires flat and a muddy cover protecting her battered body.
When I direct taxis to the house, I tell them: “Stop at the old broken Ambassador”.
Amby has become a benchmark.