Summer time. Managers at a popular car franchise wilted under the constant pressure of trying to sell their inventory and promote next year’s stock. After much deliberation they hit upon a plan to target new immigrants. They began scouring the countryside for a racecar driver model to promote their new collection.
On a cloudy Monday morning they found their new model taking a blind corner on Hwy 404 at blistering speeds. A Silver car zoomed past – at the wheel was a woman in a saree, no less. Miraculously the speed radar failed to record the event. Was the car travelling faster than light? Was it flying above the range of the radar? Was that superwoman late for an appointment?
They repeated the process again the next day. The Silver Streak zoomed past them at the appointed time. Again, not even a blimp on the radar! Frustrated managers at the car company hired an action photographer to record the event. Legendary racecar driver Pedro de la Rosa was roped in to follow the Silver Streak. The results were spectacular! In an hour, the high speed chase ended resulting in a brilliant collection of images – the foundation of a spectacular advertising campaign.
Silver Streak, however, remained elusive.
Not really! Mad musings has the inside scoop about the car and the ‘lady in the saree’.
The journey began on a bright Summer’s evening on 401. [The 401 is a feeder line that snakes around the heart of Ontario from the US border at one end to God-knows-where-up-north.] I was accompanying Chitra on a road trip to Mississauga to see the ‘hugging saint’.
I had mixed feelings about this trip. 1) It was a perilious journey. 2) I’ve heard stories about this wonderful humanitarian; I wanted to meet her in person and decide for myself whether she is indeed divine.
Before we boarded Chitra’s car, I offered to drive. [Just one week before did I impress the Ontario driving examiner and receive a ‘G’ licence. My offer to drive is just another nail-of-a-reminder in the collective heads of feminists and chauvanists that chivalry is alive and well in Toronto!]
My offer was dismissed with a wave of the hand. So I timidly folded myself under the seat belts of the front passenger seat. The car took off from the parking lot on hind tires. A strong smell of burnt rubber and a cloud of smoke were the only reminders that ‘Silver Streak parked here’. Within minutes we were on Sheppard Road. She had pulled all the stops. Traffic lights beamed green lights all the way. I looked down and found that the brake pedal has been sawn off. The iron stub served as a foot-scratcher!
When we reached 401 realisation dawned on me that THE Ms. Silver Streak in the car ads was none other than the lady next to me. Cars, trucks and tankers alike put out the red flag and signalled oncoming traffic of the approach of Chitra and her Silver Streak. They have developed a hand signal for her [Left hand’s forefinger facing outward with the other hand’s forefinger snaking around it, indicating a draped saree] .
Mississauga met us half way [it took us only half the time!]. The hotel parking lot was overflowing and the overflow parking lot was flooded. Chitra was ready to park the car in the middle of the road and walk inside. I had to beg her to find a decent parking spot so that no one will recognise the car and tip the press. I waited for a full five minutes in the parking lot to retrieve my galloping heart which lost the race with Chitra.
With head bowed we climbed the steps to the venue – a big hall and two or three adjoining halls. People who flowed out of the parking lot, the overflow parking lot and illegally parked lots floated around silently.