Tag Archives: taxi

Plunged into darkness.

Sudipto was driving home late one night – later than usual, at least. The clock was ticking closer to welcoming the new day. The roads, broad and empty of the never-ending stream of cars, lit with street lamps on both sides, white and blue fairy lights trailing the silver poles. There were no buildings, no civilisation laying home along this road – only roads, statues and a wide, green patch in the middle of the city, fondly called the city’s lungs. He pushed the clutch and rammed the car into the fourth gear as he approached Red Road. Parts of his twelve-year-old ambassador creaked at the engine speed falling a decade or so short of a ton. He could never drive at such speeds with a passenger at the back – they called it rash driving – but this was when he enjoyed his bread earning life choice. It was always the bus and taxi drivers who drove rashly, never the rule admonishing pedestrian or the swerving bikers and honking and overtaking private cars.

He took the circuitous path home through Red Road, choosing to enjoy the wind rather than hurrying to park the taxi in the garage. The window on his side was already open, so he leaned to the left to roll down the passenger window too. The wind rushed into the car from both sides, driving out the smells of the day – the food, the sweat, the leather. He threw open a few more buttons of his front open shirt, unzipping his pants. The sudden touch of air on his sweat-caked skin made him shiver, a rarity in the humid city.

The next right would take him towards home. As he approached the turn, he still honked on the deserted road out of practised caution. The next moment he got distracted by someone waving out from the extreme left side of the road – he saw it out of the corner of his eye. He had slowed down for the turn but his head was now craned towards the left to see if he could help the person. He saw glimpses of white and then nothing more. Just like that, there was no one there anymore. He blinked his eyes rapidly, not sure if he was hallucinating before or now. His hands turning the wheel right and legs controlling the speed, he’d made the turn and sharply looked right to check again towards where he’d seen the hapless soul but nothing anymore. He’d heard stories of hauntings before but had never believed in them. He wasn’t afraid. He dismissed the incident and looked ahead to find the lane plunged in darkness. As if on cue with his sight on the road, the car’s headlights flickered off and the engine sputtered to a stop. Now he was afraid.

amman-dark

Graciously Yours!

Calcutta Cabbies #2.

This is one cab driver, to travel in whose car I’d even brave the 45 degree heat!

Presenting Dhananjay aka Bapi’s cab!

As reported by The Telegraph :

“Dhananjay’s is a green taxi in every sense, and his crusade one of a kind. The 40-year-old drives an Ambassador with a bed of real grass on its roof, eight potted plants placed on the tray behind the rear seat and a green interior to go with his message to save the environment and take care of trees.

Such is his passion for the green cause that he has spent more than Rs 22,000, equivalent to what he earns after toiling for a month and a half, on creating the bed of grass on the roof of his taxi. The vehicle, which he has named Sabuj Rath (green chariot in Bengali), has been grabbing eyeballs since Dhananjay unveiled its new look a couple of weeks ago.

Dhananjay hasn’t stopped at turning his taxi into a green zone. He carries a sheaf of leaflets to give to passengers and anyone curious enough to strike up a conversation with him. The leaflets contain small poems and sketches by Dhananjay, all of them about the environment. The design for the leaflets are by a passenger who went on to become his friend.

Dhananjay has also decorated the taxi stand at Tollygunge Karunamoyee with flowerpots and regularly distributes seeds and saplings among passengers and passers-by who show interest.

He has a Facebook account called Bapi Green Taxi and his email ID is bapigreentaxi@gmail.com, where passengers and well-wishers can write in with their suggestions.”

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Can anyone smell an entrepreneurial venture or is it just me? Contact me and we’ll discuss further! 😉

Calcutta Cabbies #1.

kolkata_cab_photography

I was running late. And I had to cab the shortest fare distance to make it on time! And I knew I didn’t have smaller notes.

All three combined in Calcutta? You know it’s not a good start to the day!

Frantically searching for a cab, I saw a lot of occupied cabs going my way! First empty cab I saw was taken by another female.

I was already past my time.

Another cab rounded the corner and the available cab driver eagerly awaited my destination. On informing him about it, he immediately agreed. Afraid, he wouldn’t have change, I asked him before sitting in the cab if he would be able to encash my 100 rupee note against the smaller fare which was likely to be due. He agreed again!

A cabbie on the streets of Calcutta smiling and answering my questions? And all answers in my favour? I was dumbstruck! He must have sensed my excitement. I sat in the cab. He started driving away.

Cabbie (jovially!) : You’ll have to pay me double.

Me (laughing) : What for?

Cabbie : I am taking you across for such a short distance. I am also going to give you the change you need. A mere 25 bucks extra won’t pinch much!

Me : Actually you should be charging less considering I am taking you very near to one of the most religious places in the city! Wouldn’t you want to take the blessings of the Lord and also pick up some passengers? Double benefit!

Cabbie : If that be the case, then I won’t charge a penny from you.

Me (shocked at his polite and humorous demeanor!) : I won’t get down from the cab until you won’t take what is due to you.

Cabbie (still driving and I noticed from the shortest route available!) : How will 25 bucks extra matter to you? These days at every celebration, parents double the price of the kid’s phone. I am just asking for double cab fare.

Me : My parents aren’t like that. They need all details of every spending I make. (Though I don’t remember when either parent did that, but then I had to defend my parents somehow. Simply, because they are not like that.)

Cabbie : Tell your father tonight you met an old uncle who agreed to drive you around and you paid him extra.

As I approached my destination, he asked me particularly where I wanted to be dropped off because he didn’t want me to walk even a bit in the Sun, which as I now recall, was very harsh!

After a bit of friendly haggling, and ten bucks extra later, I made my way with his good luck and my smile!

Yes, I paid him more than his fare, but I don’t regret it! I think his people skills deserve that at the least!

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : The whole conversation happened in Hindi and a little Bengali here and there! To make things simpler, English has been used as the medium of expression.