I hit the roadways right in the middle of the rush hour. It takes me a precise 7 minutes to get to the first light. As I make the turn to enter the ramp leading to the highway, I angle my head to glance at the clock. A smile creeps into my face wiping out the pressure filled mornings. I look over my left shoulder, my right arm arching the steering wheel in a motion that is now second nature.
I sit back and let my body get into auto pilot mode. I glance at the rearview and the left mirrors every once in a while my feet guiding the car on the well traversed 25 odd miles I drive to work each day. Knowing I have over an hour of unfettered me time, my brain yanks at thoughts half-processed. Sometimes it is a word that Amma mentioned casually in conversation. Sometimes it is a look that passes between Saathi and I in our interminable exchanges with Ammani and Pattani. They are stored in the back of my mind, to be pulled at will, held carefully and examined for undertones or things left unsaid. Most times I let a sigh of contentment escape and shift gears to music or the work day ahead.
Somewhere at the half way mark on my route, I pass you. The lady who is applying mascara at the traffic light or the one sipping on coffee as you look around and absorb the pedestrian life that envelops you. I look at you and wonder if like mine, your morning was a breathless-running-from-chore-to-chore-till-the-clock-strikes-8:30 kinds. I look around like you do, taking in the wisps of smoke that escape from the tinted glass of the SUV ahead of me. The edge of the seat driver in the sedan behind me looking like s/he is plotting ways to pass me by. I wonder what I look like to you. Am I invisible like one of the million people who you pass on the roads each day. Or do my frizzy hair and weary eyes tell a story? If it does, I wonder what it says.
And so I ponder as I drive away, the wheels chomping up the distance. As the time for my evening ride nears, I wonder if I will pass you again.