Took an auto to come home last ight, like every other night. The auto driver started driving, then pulled over to the side and cursed beneath his breath. He just sat there, one finger poked into his ear.
I asked him why he'd stopped.
He said, "Eid. All these people walking on the roads. It is impossible to drive."
I looked ahead. The road was empty. Well, as empty as most other days. There were a couple of kids standing nearby. A second later, a firecracker went off. The driver took his finger out of his, started up the engine again and said, "The road will be bad today."
Five minutes later, we reached the gate of my building complex. I told the auto driver to drive right upto our building. But the gates were, surprisingly, shut. But of course, I realised why. Navratri was also on. There is a pandal and a music system put up around a central pillar. Dandiya music blared out. Kids and teenagers were dancing in small, scattered groups.
I told the auto driver it was okay, I'd get down at the gates, and began to pay him.
He said, "Eid really messes things up. Everything blocked..."
I thought, 'What the...??' and hesitated for a moment, wondering if I ought to ask him what he meant. But I didn't after all. I walked past the crowd, the music, the kids, reached home, let myself in, and tried to forget about what he meant.