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Belted black

There are two forces that are working hard to make me give up 'black', at least so far as my wardrobe is concerned, writes Abha Khanna.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2007 16:37 IST

I have an affinity for black. But there are two forces that are working hard to make me give up the colour, at least so far as my wardrobe is concerned. And psychology certainly has nothing to do with it. One is a friend who keeps lamenting about my “black, brown, grey” garments. The other is the Delhi Traffic Police.

I’m a fairly careful driver. If there’s one thing I’m especially particular about, it’s wearing the seat belt. In fact, I’m almost addicted to strapping myself up and feel uncomfortable without it — even for the shortest of distances.

My car’s seat belts are also black, and merge with black outfits. That’s where all the trouble is. In this case, at least, matching accessories isn’t a good idea at all.

Imagine my surprise when I first received a traffic police challan for driving without seat belt. I wracked my brains to remember when that could have happened. But no bell rang. So, I thought it was a fluke and paid the challan simply because I had no way to prove I’m a conscientious driver. A second challan left me no less surprised. That time I forgot to pay up. Some months later, there was a notice from the magistrate asking me to show up at such and such time and place, or else… All trepidation, I reached the magistrate’s office sharp at 10 am. A horde of touts gheraoed me and made me believe that I would be better off hiring their services.

The court process began after 11.30 Within a couple of hours, I realised I had been taken for a ride. For, I had paid Rs 150 as ‘commission’ for a challan that would have cost me Rs 100 at best. And the best (or worst) part was that the magistrate believed me when I told him I never travel beltless — and waived off the fine.

Now, after many challans and another ‘court case’, I’m tempted to overhaul my wardrobe. Even the colour of my seat belt. I think it’s not a healthy sign that I’ve begun to admire grey seat belts. My father, for one, thinks it’s a bit of a joke.

In the meantime, here’s an earnest plea to car manufacturers — make patterned, multi-coloured, fluorescent, sparkling seat belts. No matter what one wears, the challan-happy traffic cop will at least know a seat belt when he sees one.