Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tax(i)ing times

Taxis have changed the way one thinks in the capital of the country. If one happens to live in some of the areas in the National Capital Region (we don’t use words like suburbs, you see, for fear of offending regional identities), then taxis affect one in a big way. Acutely affected individuals give up driving & prefer to travel on the floor of the vehicle where they cannot see out of the windows and, maybe, get a glimpse of these monsters.

One of the reasons all of those in the Haryana region of the NCR love the Metro is that they can cock a snook at the taxis. But if the Metro isn’t going their way, often they have no choice but to call the taxi guy. Only a few hardy creatures would dare wait for the bus service, which many equate with the Loch Ness monster & the Yeti, but I assure you it exists. I have missed getting run over by a Roadways bus once and, while you groan over my blog, you do realize that I’ve lived to tell the tale.

For those of us who work in places where the Metro may not deign to go in another 20 years, we have the “Office taxi” which we gratefully board every morning, mainly because we would rather be in it than next to it or in front of it, and eventually under it. News channels often just report accidents as “3 people were seriously injured when the car they were travelling in was hit by a speeding.” They have got to quickly get to the next “breaking news” which their rivals reported yesterday, and besides we all know what a “speeding” is. (With the exception of a sub-species known as “cab drivers” who have been brainwashed into believing that every other driver on the road is just plain jealous of them, by their colleague whom they all look up to and who has mowed down 17 vehicles in less than a year and still has a licence!- What a man!)

When not wreaking terror on the road, the office taxi driver is a largely untapped resource. I would recommend he be called to board meetings where employee performance is evaluated. An odd one listens to Bhajans while he zips in and out of the traffic causing dents & heart attacks, but by and large the cab driver is listening to his passengers. Who hates who and for what reason, who manages to stay in his boss’ good books, but is a totally useless worker and who is leaving for what salary, the driver knows it all. From 9:00am to 5:00pm, while his stupid passengers are struggling with office politics, he is sitting with his colleagues working out all the equations. So, in my humble opinion, if one doesn’t want to offer him a job in HR, one could at least lean out of the window and ask “Oye, Anil! Mr Gupta ka promotion hona chahiye ya nahin?”

You can be sure to get the right answer, even if Mr Gupta lands up in hospital on his way back home in the office taxi and is perforce non-productive for the next 2 months.


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  2. I also marvel at an average taxi driver's interest in establishing a connection with his passengers. One would think that they wouldn't care to repeat the same trivia regularly but they do so tirelessly. Meru or another service drivers could be quieter in comparison but the regular ones do become chatty all rounders.

  3. The regulars are not satisfied with just establishing a connection. They want to be your friend, philosopher & guide! ;)

  4. We were being driven from Kalka to Shimla by a driver who a looked like Shrek,except for the complexion. We were pleasantly surprised (and fearfully accomodating) when he joined us in Antakshari (which started 39 seconds after Gucci's ipod batter ran dry). But what took the cake when he stopped me in the midst of my favorite Rajesh Khanna to, wait: correct my pitch!

    I remember my family tipping him heavily.