As soon as we crossed the Nana Chowk signal, he began to chant “Ram Krishna, Ram Krishna, Ram Krishna, Hare, Hare”.

His voice was melodious, and I was grateful he hadn’t switched on some raucous music on a rasping tape recorder. I began to hum under my breath with him.

At August Kranti Chowk, a taxi cut across the lane, blocking the road. My driver began to chant even louder, “Hari Om, Hari Om.”

We swerved our way past, and he said, “Did you see how he was driving?”

I said, “Yes, he just ghuso-ed in, without looking left or right.”

He said, “Whenever something like this happens, any problem, I just chant ….”

He recites a sloka and explains, “God, this is too much for me to handle, now you do whatever you want.”

I nod.

He continues, “Everyone thinks they will pray more after they get old and retire. But when you grow old, your mind becomes more chanchal. You cannot pray. You can pray better now, in the middle of all this.”

I nod again.

He says, “You keep thinking I’ll do this when I have more time, I’ll do that after a few years, and before you know it, your life is over.”

He leaves me at Kemps’ Corner under the bridge and drives away. I’m not religious, but feel happy for anything that relieves some of the stress in this crowded city. Anyway, chanting a sloka when a vehicle cuts in is better than giving M&B gaalis.

*ghuso-ed – barged in
*chanchal – restless, mischievous
*gaalis- cuss words