The decision to hire C as my driver was the best I’ve made. He exceeds in all the basic requirements — safe driver, knows the roads, professional, great referrals, etc — but he’s also infinitely patient. And he’s the best Guy Friday. And today he was bursting with joy.
“Our”* new Toyota Innova arrived this week as May 23 was deemed the most auspicious day for C to pick it up. Once he was done at the dealer, it was a quick drive to the temple by Ulsoor Lake for a Puja (blessing) of the car. The pujari (priest ) attached flowers to the hood and grill, then finger painted an “Om” on the windshield with sandalwood paste for good luck. Next he said mantras to Ganesh, while C tossed rice. The pujari lighted a fire with incense in a small brass tray used for these purposes and C tossed rice, while the pujari circled the car and steering wheel. A small Ganesh was placed on the dashboard. A coconut is dropped hard, so it will shatter, in front of the car. Each tyre was anointed with a lemon to ward off evil. Now the car is blessed.
*I say “ours” because C will own it, but it will stay in my garage and be used for my family & guests. An Innova was initially described to me as a “mini-SUV” and I think Toyota advertises it as “multi premium vehicle”. I confess, it seems more like a minivan to me. There are tons of them on the roads of Bangalore as it’s quite popular with local drivers. It’s a pretty comfortable ride which is important in a city known for its traffic.
Clearly C is thrilled to have this car. After all the help he’s been to me, it is heartwarming to see him so happy. I told him to take it home with him tonight to drive around his family (versus leaving it in my garage). I gave him money to buy his family ice cream, too. (That’s what I recall doing as a kid when my dad bright home a new car – we drove out for ice cream!)