It was during one of my visits to the village I heard a commotion, “What’s happening?” I asked as I walked out of my gate and saw Ramesh my neighbour and his old mother dancing on the road.
“Mother’s a crorepati!” shouted Ramesh.
“Not crorepati,” cackled the old lady, “ten lakhs!”
“Uncle died and left her ten lakhs!” shouted Ramesh doing another jig on the road and stopping the lone bullock cart. “Now, mother wants a car! She’s always dreamt of buying one!”
“So get one for her,” I said, happy for the old lady, and a few days later watched both of them going to town to pick a car for the old lady. They came back towards evening, surly and long faced, “What happened?” I asked.
“She didn’t like any of them,” muttered Ramesh.
“No noses!” said the old lady.
“Can you believe that?” asked Ramesh. “I showed her the Honda City, Ciaz, and even the Innova and that’s what she told the salesman?”
”No noses!” said the old lady.
“You want a car with a nose?” I asked the old lady.
We watched as the old lady went into her house without a word. We heard her moving a trunk and in awhile she ambled towards me holding an old sheet of paper, a newspaper cutting some seventy-five years old. It showed a proud maharajah standing next to his newly acquired Rolls. “See,” she said, “look at the nose!”
It was indeed a royal bonnet the car had, long and regal, gleaming and shining. “Come,” I said, “lets go down the road!” I had passed the local garage many times and walked to there followed by an eager old lady and her reluctant son. The old rundown Chevrolet, which once had been used for all the village weddings, lay rotting outside, rusty and broken. “How much?” I asked.
“One lakh!” said the garage owner.
“One lakh?” I asked incredulously.
“Vintage sir! Vintage!” said the owner knowing I had no choice.
“How much to repair it?” I asked.
“One lakh!” said the mechanic.
We settled the sum and walked back, the old lady literally doing a waltz in the middle of the road while her gloomy son walked behind. “Okay,” she said suddenly turning to him, “you buy a little ‘no nose’ car for yourself!” And he did just that. The vintage car was done up and she rode up and down the village street, hiring the same mechanic as her trainer for an hour everyday. The son bought a van.
A month later I saw the antique Chevy with the old lady sitting in it towing the van to the garage, “What happened?” I asked.
“She reversed into my car,” muttered Ramesh, “and flattened the front.”
“No nose!” chuckled the old lady. “See what happens with no nose..!”
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