March 30, 2008

Hey, Taxi!

Sometimes I wonder if I'm a compulsive chaser - you know, running behind cabs, buses, trains, girls, deadlines... blah. My friends who know the stories don't find these things funny anymore. It's a seamless part of my personality for them. Forget the personality anal-ysis. Let's cut to the chase, quite literally.

Yesterday evening, I got out of my building in a hurry and waved to a cab. I was on the wrong side of the road, (the driver's side of the cab), so I opened the door, shoved my bag inside, and noticed that he looked bruised on his left eye - a recent wound, perhaps from a street fight... next, I walked around the cab to get in from the other side (the one by the pavement - the correct side).

Just when I was about to open the door, the cabbie just took off! I was like - wt@^#$%? For a moment I thought he was just warming up the cab, so I just stood there hoping he'd figure out I had not got in yet... but the more I stood there, the cab just sped away. I do a few quick checks - red light, check. No valuables in the bag except a nice perfume, check. By now the cab is already at the next signal, and I'm still standing where I was supposed to board it. Wait a minute, red light?! Dimaag ki batti jalao, apni akal ladao!

People standing around and the cabbie behind noticed what happened, and before I knew it - this was the scene... my cab has sped away to the next signal, I'm running to catch it, the cabbie behind me is honking away to stop that guy and has started chasing him in his cab, and onlookers are shouting to stop him. Filmi, no? ;)

Just when the signal turns orange, I reach, open the door and said to him laughingly "boss, sirf bag leke jaoge kya Lower Parel?!" His expression was priceless. He was confused, embarrassed and very apologetic. He had thought I got in from the other side when I had just dumped my bag in it! Throughout the ride, he kept saying sorry, and I kept laughing at him and telling him it's alright and all fun!

I love Mumbai cabs and talking to the cabbies - they always have some interesting stories and insights on life. This guy now started telling me how his day started off all wrong, how he got beaten up by some people a few days back because he was not a local and such. We had a good discussion on the state of things, how narrow minded people have become, etc. What really moved me was his take on things, in spite of what life had given him in the last few days. He was still positive, a sheen in his eye, accentuated by the black and blue bruise under his eye... and most importantly, a vision for a nation united... India as a winner in multiple disciplines. Putting the bag chase incident behind me, I marveled in his beautiful vision and a mind focused on putting mind over matter, in spite of the atrocities he was subjected to.

I got down and wished him a great day ahead.

In hindsight, chasing the cab was a good warm up for my workout :) I was headed to the gym, Day 2!