Date/Time: 9th Sept '10, noon
Pickup/ Drop-off: C.V. Raman Nagar - Leela Palace
A quiet guy... keeps to himself.
The moment i met him, he was a distance away from the auto-stand. Usually the auto-drivers who hang around there get real angry if someone hops into one that was out of line. These lone birds, who out of circumstance happened to be there are immediately spotted out that they don't belong to the flock of regulars who wait their turn... They sometimes get verbally abused.. and even stopped to have the passenger 'pulled' into another rick.
These territorial 'agreements' can get quite fierce.
He knew what he was getting into and made sure eyes were never locked as he drove by the stand. How he had done that was with an ease... like when you see a person who knows how to hold and smoke a cigarette with a class that shows a sense of being and no imitation... or a person who knows to curse with such rhyme, articulateness and fluency that one wouldn't mind being cursed at a bit longer. His state of mind seemed something like that then...
There was nothing that mini-mob could do anyway. Their numbers were far too tiny than usual and reinforcements tend to find their way there only during peak hours. Peak hours are moments where sometimes i find the rick-drivers flex their right to bully... Its almost constitutional.
Bettaswamy took the main road to Leela where he had dropped me. I felt like remembering him for some reason... so i asked if i could take his photo. His smile fluctuated in micro-measurements. I think i caught the trough. But i remember where i saw smiles like this... It was something i'd see reserved in one of those wild -west films. Charles Bronson in that Sergio Leone spaghetti western... Where he holds a figment of a smile before shooting down his would-be assassins at the train station.
He had 2 faded deity stickers on his windshield. That was the last thing i took note of before we went our own ways.