Just realised

The universal symbol across India for “cycle/auto/car/bus/truck/train broke down” is a leafy branch, stuck somewhere on the body of the offending vehicle. If suddenly you notice a vehicle sprouting unnatural greenery, steer clear – gaadi kharab hai.

The other day, I was driving somewhere with my parents when a green DTC bus loomed ahead. It stood bang in the middle lane at a traffic signal. Everybody began honking at once when the light turned green. Manoeuvring around it with difficulty (it was like a giant island on wheels) I noticed a handful of sorry-looking neem branches sticking out from a side window. Green-on-green is hard to see, and the leaves were so withered they were crispy. This story doesn’t really have a point.

Except that it really needs to rain, so every driver will have huge, verdant boughs to hang from every inch of their broken-down vehicles like Diwali lights.