The auto rickshaw driver pulled up outside my guesthouse in Hauz Khaus. I had to be in Majnu Katilla in just over an hour to catch the bus up to Dharamsala. I was cutting it fine, getting through Delhi rush hour traffic all the way from the South to the North.
“Can you wait here five minutes?”
The driver–a tall dignified Sidhhar-ji, his grey-blue uniform spotless and neatly pressed–turned around and lifted his chin sharply to show he hadn’t understood.
“Five minutes packing. Then come back, we go Majnu Katilla,” I said, in the broken English I’d become accustomed to using.
His eyebrows began to drift together.
“Five minutes packing,” I repeated, a little exasperated.
His eyebrows parted suddenly, and the left one sprang upwards in surprise.
“Five minutes fucking madam?”
Needless to say, I gave him a good tip.