Debut

Jun 17th, 2004 8 PM - Airport to The Leela Palace
“Good evening m'am. Hope you had a comfortable flight.” I said as I turned on the ignition of the Hyundai Verna and waiting patiently for the cab in front of him to make a move.

“It was good”, she said. I could see her forcing the words out of her mouth, for the jaws were still on the lower side; her brain probably trying to comprehend if she really did hear those words from an Indian Cabbie’s mouth. I am used to this sort of expression now.

“I have a bad habit of conversing while driving m'am. So if you do not quite like the idea, feel free to say ‘shut up’ and I will”. I admitted.

A slight smile ran across her face and she said, “That’s fine. I am anyways bored of talking to myself”.

“I do that all the time, m'am. It is quite hard to shut the thoughts out of your mind, right? Especially when you are stressed.” I suggested as I hit the first signal outside the airport.

“This is not your full time job, is it?” She inquired.

“Oh, it is m'am. This is my only job. Behind the wheels, beyond the roads” I smiled looking at her through the rear view mirror.

“One liners and all, eh. Not bad! Actually, I am a bit surprised. I have never heard any cabbie speaking such good English and striking good conversation”. She said.

“Oh, it is quite common in the west m'am. The English of course, but the cab drivers in the west are very famous for their conversations during the drives. Actually it irritates most people. They would be like, ‘Why can’t he shut up and drive’ ”. I replied

“Ya, that is true. So, you have been to the west?” She had a thousand questions in her mind.

“Not yet, m'am. I watch a lot of English movies and sitcoms. They are quite creative. I do not talk always, as a matter of fact. Sometime I just listen. You know? When there are a couple travelling or if a gentleman is stuck to the phone like he should to his wife, or a mom trying to feed her kid, by telling stories. I love to observe people. I love psychology in fact.” The last few words barely came out of my mouth.

“Nice. So how come you …. You know” She was searching for words.

“Became a cabbie? Well. Life takes you to places which you wouldn’t have ever imagined, doesn’t it? After finishing my MA in English, I went around looking for a job for over a year. That’s when I realized, there is no point doing it. There are a million MAs out there. And that in a country which does not consider arts as a valuable master's degree. So I just got working as a cab driver. I love driving as much as I love English. So it wasn’t too hard for me to live this fact.” I said the words as if I had by-hearted each word of it. “Life has designed roles for each one of us. We just have to live it. Like it has designed a role of journalist for you?”.

“Wow, wow. Now how did you know that?” She came to the edge of the seat.

“Your office tag is popping out of your bag, m'am” I smiled again at the mirror.

“Ok, Mr. Holmes. So you must be meeting a lot of people right? Young, old. May be you should write a book or something on that. I would be the editor”. She suggested.

“May be one day, I will, m'am. For now I write them all in my blog. Just that there aren’t many followers to it.” I said as I drove into the Hotel after innumerable stops for the security checks.

“Here is my card. I am sorry, I didn’t get your name?” she said as she prepared to get down from the cab.

“Cabbie, m'am”, I said.

2 comments:

Vinod R Iyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
missy's a lady said...

Nice