Do you need to find me?
Ask my driver, Jagmohan. He knows where I am. He has chauffeured me through the streets of Delhi for three years and counting.
Jagmohan takes me to work: He knows that on Mondays I teach at this campus; Wednesdays and Fridays I teach at that one. He drives the kids to school, to soccer, to baseball. He runs my errands with me.
Jagmohan knows where I get my hair cut, my nails done, and my teeth cleaned. He knows my haunts, my book club homes, and my habits. When he sees me rushing in the morning he asks me if I have my cell phone because I often forget it.
He’s seen me yell at the kids, yell at other drivers, yell at the traffic. He listens to my phone calls (how could he not?), knows my moods, and drives fast when I need him to rush.
He’s heard me sing out of tune, seen me cry, and watched me worry.
He delivers me to the bus station, train station, and airport – happy for the break that my travels afford him, and bears a hearty smile when he collects me on my return.
Jagmohan knows where I buy imported ice-cream, wine, and face cream. Sometimes I send him on errands alone: He pays the phone, cable, and gas bills and makes xerox copies for my classes.
He knows what medicines I take; which chemist I prefer. He knows that I used to buy chemotherapy drugs for a patient in Beijing because the drugs were cheaper here. Jagmohan even sourced the cheapest and most reliable supplier for me when he found out how much I was spending on that medicine.
And he tolerates my quirks: He removes the headrest from the front passenger seat so my view from the backseat is unobstructed. He avoids certain intersections because he knows that I. Just. Don’t. Like. Them.
He even introduced me to my friend, Lola.
On weekends, I drive myself with a lead foot, a quick temper, and a blind spot for speed bumps, according to my family. (Backseat drivers… all of them!)
But Weekdays are Jagmohan’s. He captains my car and navigates my routines better than I could on my own.
Happy Navratri, Jagmohan. And Thank You.
Here are a few of my favorite Lutyens Delhi street signs. Notice that they are written in four languages: Hindi, Punjabi, English and Urdu. (“Marg” means street.)
(Anyone out there know how I can remove photos from the gallery without removing them from the post?)
I snapped this precious shot on the way to school (and of course, Jagmohan slowed down so I could get the picture when he saw me grab my camera):