Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Ride of my life!

I was leaving for Mumbai for a couple of days break after 6 months and the cab had arrived almost 30 minutes late. I blasted the driver and told him to rush me less I miss the flight. My words were the encouragement this 22 year old chap (Shabbir!) was looking for and he began to display his driving skills to my utter disbelief.

As soon as we had crossed the Silk Board junction, a Maruti Omni transformed itself into a MIG 29 and Shabbir assumed the role of a pilot seamlessly. At most times while overtaking trucks, busses and unassuming car drivers our vehicle would be in semi flight. I was soon counting the number of vehicles that we could have hit in this frenzy and letting out a sight every time we missed one. At one point we were close to having a head on collision with a Scorpio, we words exchanged, both drivers abused each other in Kannada and we were ready to proceed to the next target. It all finally ended after about half an hour, when the vehicle came to a halt at the departure section of the airport. When I paid Shabbir and asked him to be careful, pat came the reply “Saab, aapko jaldi thi, main toh duty kiya, time pey pahunchaya, Government ko road bada banana chahiye!”

“Haan government ko road banana chahiye, lekin sab log aisey chalayega toh thoda time ke baad aadmi nahi bachengey idhar” I said, to which Shabbir replied with a “Saab waisey bhi kya rakha hain zindagi main”. I just picked up my bags and went ahead to check-in. Once I was in Mumbai, I picked up a cab to get to the nearest Railway station, Ghatkopar. Coincidently the driver was another young man, Sulaiman. Sulaiman was a complete contrast to Shabbir, though I asked him to get me to the station before midnight, so I could get a train to a suburban town I was planning to spend the night in. When I narrated the earlier incident in B’lore to Sulaiman, he had a very different take on it. Here’s what he said “Saab, yeah B’lore waaley abhi naye naye active ho rayeley hain, time lageyga hum logon ke jaisey professional bananey ke liye. Passenger safety payeley aata hain!.”

Well, professional cab driver in Mumbai commenting on the unprofessional behavior of his counterpart in B’lore.