The crumpled fabric seats which bore faded colours felt unexpectedly plush to sit on and the Uber that we temporarily appropriated ran as expected on the Bangalore roads laden with pot-holes. Papa (how I refer to my father), scrolled through the news on his mobile phone and hummed some old Hindi music. I do not know if our taxi driver took that as a hint or just switched on the radio on his own, but I will never forget what happened next…

Some radio stations just have a general way of appearing sleazy to some extent, but let me tell you, 92.7 at the midnight hour hits unprecedented levels of seediness. It started off quite all right; with a few old Hindi hits from the 60s making entrances but as it progressed we realized that the particular songs were used to compliment a developing storyline worthy of a primetime spot in a leading TV channel. Shekhar and Kavitha were the leading characters in the romantic narrative, they are a married couple happily living in the busy city of Mumbai. Shekhar, of Bengali descent, worked a 9 to 5 ideal Indian job as an engineer and Kavitha was a housewife, eager to get some pre-Diwali cleaning done, spotted a dubious box of Shekhar’s old items, and promptly ordered him to sort the contents of the box. Shekhar worriedly agreed to do it and kept steering Kavitha away from the box, these quite frankly obvious attempts went unnoticed by Kavitha. A few days went by and the box remained the same, following which Kavitha decided to take matters into her own hands…

Papa and I gave each other awkward looks and began passing subtle hints to our cab driver, urging him to change the channel. The hints, although we would like to believe to be perfectly articulated and smooth, were quite blatant and included but were not limited to – “Oh! What great music 91.9 would be having now!” and “I really hope I don’t miss the show coming on 94.3!” but our driver failed to catch on to these hardly subliminal messages. The radio remained fixed at 92.7 and the show went on.

Kavitha placed the box in front of Shekhar and enquired as to why it wasn’t sorted yet, and Shekhar, dabbing furiously away at his sweat laden forehead replied, trying to mask the true contents of the box, “Kavi, I’ll do it! Don’t worry, it is just some old useless stuff anyway!” Kavitha, not knowing about the contents of the box, was simply infuriated at her cleaning being hindered and emptied the contents of the box on Shekhar’s desk. She spotted a letter with golden edges and, curiosity consuming her, proceeded to read it aloud – “Dear Shekhar, I write to inform you that we simply cannot see each other anymore, my father is getting me married to Sharmaji’s son. Yours forever, Ananya.” Shekhar began profusely apologizing and pleading; he said: “You have to understand, this was a long time ago Kavi!” No response. He went on and on and finally, Kavitha looked at him. She let out giggles in spurts which slowly morphed into a full-scale laugh. As she cachinnated, Shekhar wondered whether to be embarrassed or apologetic and was just wholly shocked. She said: “It’s ok Shekhar! I find it really cute and funny that you are embarrassed by this if anything I just pity Ananya!” Shekhar breathed a sigh of relief and listened to Kavitha as she remarked: “Also, This is Nothing! You should hear some of my childhood escapades. In fact, I’ll get some tea made and tell you all about them!” Now Shekhar was worried.

Just as we heard those words, our taxi jolted to a halt. We were so engrossed that we didn’t realize that we had reached home already. Following the completion of our dues to our driver, we took our stuff and hurried upstairs to our house. Exchanging fleeting “Hi”s with the rest of our family, who papa and I were seeing after a couple of days, we grabbed the car keys and rushed down to the garage; we didn’t know whether to be ashamed of ourselves or just straight up disgusted yet hooked when we tuned into 92.7, at least we now knew why soap operas do so well in India…

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