‘I’ll be walking on the flyover. Just pick me up from here.’ I tell my gigantic friend. We are meeting after ages, a few years ago we would bump into each other at the gym, almost everyday, till he joined another place to workout. He insisted I should too but one is a creature of habit. Same flyover, same gym, same house, same bag…one constantly longs for familiarity.
Asking someone to meet you on a flyover, is inviting trouble, of course! As soon as I open the door to sit in his car, the cops appear. ‘Kyaa ho raha he?’ asks the Sikh cop. ‘Ma’am ko gadee mein bitha raha hu!’ replies my young friend. Yes, I am ma’am not only to the students but apparently have become so ancient, that this twenty something year old addresses me, as that. I think that just throws off the cop so he rides away, into the night. We drive around Defence Colony, grab rolls at Arabian Delight and argue about money. I threaten to never meet him again, which ends the ‘who is paying the bill’ argument’. I thought all this ended, with our generation, where the men insisted on picking the tab. Apparently, not!
We talk about everything under the sun, from work, to family, tinder ( which I got tips on), to the locker room conversations at the gym. There’s such a natural ease that I feel around the opposite sex, which is the exact opposite of how I am around my own gender, mostly uncomfortable and fidgety. The thing with gender is, I know I’m born a girl, like I can see it but in my head, I identify as this super butch, homosexual man.
We sit on a pavement, close to the metro station chatting non stop and of course the cops arrive again. ‘ Kyaa ho raha he?’ asks a middle aged man. Now I am pissed, my friend is sharing some personal stuff, there are rickshaw puller’s standing around listening to our conversation and they are wondering, what we are doing. SB just starts off , ‘ you people take money from guys who drink on the flyover, take a cut from the prostitution; you see us talking and you’re wondering what is happening. What is happening? You’ve all gone crazy with all the bribes you’re given. That’s what’s happening!’ SB looses her shit, on authority and uniforms. ‘ Madam, madam it’s not a nice area that’s why we are asking!’ he’s taken aback by my yelling. My friend tries to calm me down but I ignore what he’s saying. ‘ Aap logo ne to banaya he aisa!’ I reply as I storm off and sit in the car.
We drive around before I pick up my car. Men are parking their cars on both sides of the flyovers. The transgenders, the third sex and the women are lined up, on either side, negotiating their price. Ironically, the men are masked, the one’s providing the services aren’t. I guess we are all creatures of habits, we all want what we want and we don’t care about the price we’ll have to pay for that.