This morning the doorbell rang, and Lakshmi answered it. She went outside and talked to someone, then called me. I came to the steps, and saw a young man with a shawl draped over his left arm, which had been amputated above the elbow. A sign-in sheet was tucked under this arm, and he held a sheaf of traffic tickets in his hand. On top of the stack was one for me, from a few days earlier, for a "signal violation." It was all computerised and impressive; but I still don't know what I am supposed to have done. However, I prepared to sign the sheet, assuming that I would have to go to a police station and pay the fine.

The man asked, "Are you a VIP?" I hedged. "Why?" "Are you on the VIP list?" I decided to tell the truth. "No." "If you are on the VIP list, you can refuse the ticket." "It's all right, I'll just go to the police station and pay the fine." "You will have to go to Egmore Court, and there may be risk for you. [the word 'risk' was in English.] Are you sure you're not a VIP?" "Okay, I am a VIP." He gave me a big smile and exchanged satisfied nods with Lakshmi. I saw that I was a fool who needed a lot of help. (Maybe I am a VIP!) In the space where I had been about to sign my name he wrote, "VIP". He asked me, "Which country?" I said, "America." He said, "That means US... what? USA?" I said yes and thanked him, and he moved away.

I felt relieved, but a little queasy, too. What was my violation? What if they check the VIP list and find that I'm not on it? What next?

Later, I went out on a number of errands. At one place I returned to my parked car and found a big dent in the front door, with a neat circle in the middle - apparently someone's motorcycle had fallen over against the car, and left the impression of one handle-bar. Now I'll have to send it to the mechanic for tinkering. (That's what it's called - I like that word a lot.)

So the roads were not my friend today.

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