Friday, October 2, 2015


We were getting ready to say goodbye to Salt Lake City the next day as we were flying out to visit our other son. It was just the two of us at home that afternoon - I mean my husband and me. It was close to lunch time when there was a knock at the front door. Usually I’d answer the door-bell / knock only after 2 minutes because we don’t normally have visitors dropping in unannounced in the US. If at all, it would be the Fed Ex guy who’d leave the parcel at the door-step and ring the bell for informing / signature. I did my usual routine - peeped out through the window and was surprised to see a gentleman waiting.

I opened the door and both of us exchanged ‘hi’s. The American was tall and well-built, with silky blond hair - probably in his 50s. He told me, “I’ve come to take your husband for a drive - he told me this morning that you are leaving tomorrow.” 

I got it - this was the friendly guy we had seen during our morning walks. I had seen him only on a couple of occasions as I’d choose to do yoga instead of the morning walk. My husband had told me about this new-found acquaintance - that he was talking about India and Indian food once. Also he had met him in front of our house one day and even he had given him the location of his.

Not hearing any reply from me, he asked, "Is he home, your husband?"

"Oh yes. Of course ....," .

Before I could say anything further, my husband appeared and shouted out a big 'hi'.

"Oh there you are! C'mon, grab your shoes! We are going for a drive. In my Shelby Cobra!"

"Awesome! Thank you!" said my husband and off he went to get ready.

I stood there transfixed .... Did I hear Shelby Cobra? Yeah, I knew exactly what he was talking about. Thanks to my young car-crazy grandson, I knew quite a bit about this sensational sports car. 


Involuntarily I quipped,"Oh it's my grandson's favorite car. He's gone to school. Could he .....?"

"Of course he can come home and check it out any time!"

My husband was ready and the gentleman excitedly said, "Okay, let's go!"

I watched the duo from the door. There it was - the white Shelby Cobra awaiting them. Lucky man - I mean my husband! I saw the guy giving hubby some instructions before he got onto his seat. I ran in to get my camera. But I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to take their picture. So I sneakily did so. I zoomed and clicked a couple of pics from our door.


Soon the car made a noisy start and moved on noisier than ever - that reminded me of young bikers zooming around without their silencer!

It seemed really surprising. An American taking the trouble of dropping in to offer a joy ride in his race car to a casual Indian acquaintance before he left the place! A really sweet and appreciable gesture. How lucky my man was .....!

Minutes ticked away by the time I realized that it was more than half an hour since they had left. I had expected a fifteen-minute drive. Or twenty perhaps - considering the fact that they would have left the neighborhood and taken the highway to enjoy the thrill of its speed. Another ten minutes ticked by .... my mind was visualizing all sorts of unsavory thoughts - the result of marathons of 'Criminal Minds' / 'Mentalist' / 'Law & Order' hubby would be glued to .... - glimpses of which I would indirectly be subjected to - from wherever I was - a sort of passive onlooker. I started worrying. I didn't have a clue about the gentleman's name or address. Except that he lived in the neighborhood. And of course owned a white Shelby Cobra! Wasn't I smart to take photos of the duo in the car? May be not that smart after all - as I hadn't captured the number plate. Nevertheless ....

I composed an email to my son and daughter-in-law: "Dad went for a drive in a Shelby Cobra with a neighborhood acquaintance. It's over 40 minutes! Hasn't returned yet." Sure enough I attached the picture too. Before hitting the 'Send' button I went to the window to check whether they were back. Still no sign ... So I clicked the send button. Two minutes later, they arrived.

I kept watching them from the window - the gentleman got down and helped my husband get out of the car. I could see them exchanging 'Thanks' and 'My pleasure'. I quickly dispatched a one-liner to my son and daughter-in-law : "Dad's back." By the time I came to the door, my husband was already there and waving to his friend who was all set to drive away.

My husband came in. Needless to say he was in great spirits. He started pouring out his experience -

"Ooh! What an experience! My friend gave me instructions before we started off. You know he showed me how the car works. Warned me I had to be cautious getting in and out of the car - lest I should accidentally touch the hot metal exhaust pipe just outside my door. The seat belt was like the ones in the planes. And he gave me these ear plugs - had to plug them in to drown the LOUD noise during our drive. So we could barely hear each other! As we entered the highway he was zooming off! On rare moments he touched 100 mph...."

"Hmmm.... that's not true!" I interrupted.

"Seriously! Just to show off - I mean - what the car was capable of. Of course he stuck to the speed limit most of the time."

"Wasn't the wind beating on your face?" I inquired.

"Not too bad."

"Surely your buddy would have lost some of his silky hair", I said as I gently patted my husband's scanty hair on the rim behind his bald head, "I'm glad these few hairs here have not been blown away. Anyway you have nothing to lose or worry about as it's 'top-gone' in your case!"

He didn't seem to mind my leg-pulling as he continued, "After we got out, my friend clicked a picture of me posing in front of the car."

"Really! Then I too should have come out and taken a picture of both of you and the car! " I regretted that I hadn't gone out in time; not he - he's not photo-crazy like me, you see!

"Whew! That was one unforgettable drive!" he continued.

"Do you know how long you had been gone?"

"20 - 25 minutes?"

"More than 45 minutes! Enough for me to press the panic button!" Now it was my turn to do the talking.


I showed him the email I had sent.

This time he went, "Whaaat! You went on to the extent of imagining kidnap case or accident? This is the limit!"

"It's not funny," I retorted and showed him the attachment to my mail.

That only made him guffaw more. Noticing my squirm, he patted me and said, "Good job clicking the picture. Thank you, ma'm!"

"You better be, you lucky guy!"

"Wait, wait. I see something green on your chin ...."

"You bet!" I laughed. 

Needless to add that the entire family was enviously excited to listen to dad's thrilling experience at tea time. The grand kids could not take their eyes off the photos. Grandson had countless curious questions about the car. And guess what - my children found my fears imaginative and highly far-fetched!


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