This morning on the way to work I stopped at a roadside flower stand. These are fairly common, and usually run by older women. They sell jasmine flowers tied with string into a strands, and also chrysanthemums and greenery. It usually costs 10rs for a strand twice the length of your hand.
So I stopped on my scooter to buy a strand of jasmine, and there was a young woman standing by the stall talking to the stall owner. She started talking in quite good English, and showed curiosity about what I was doing buying jasmine from a stall in Coimbatore. It turns out that she used to work for a call centre, calling Australians to talk with them about a travel company and their offers. We spoke for 5 minutes at the stand, and then she asked me if she could get a lift into the city on the back of my scooter. She was quite bold and her faith in my driving ability surprised me!
So she hopped on the back of the bike, sitting side saddle as she was wearing a sari, and we chatted as best we could during the 20 minute ride into the city. It was very different driving with someone on the back – especially because she was sitting on the side and her weight wasn’t evenly distributed. I had to think twice as I stopped at the traffic lights because the bike tipped to one side! Also it was quite nerve-wracking being responsible for a stranger’s safety! But we made it to the Town Bus Stand without any incidents or even without any close calls.
I found out that she was originally from Andhra Pradesh, but grew up in Coimbatore. She only completed to her 10th standard in school, and then dropped out to work. She worked in the call centre, and now works for a furniture company. She is only 23, married and has two children – a son in pre-KG (preschool), and a daughter who is one year old. She invited me to her house for dinner/breakfast/lunch and we exchanged numbers.