So it was my last evening in London. My cab driver arrived on the dot. As expected he was Asian. It didn’t take very long for him to get chatting. They’re usually very friendly and dying to find out key information about you – your name, your country and your marital status.
So, Mr TDFK (taxi driver from Kashmir) got talking almost immediately and started with the obvious ice breaker – the current Indian cricket team.
â€œI do not like Saurav Ganguly,” he declared with an air of disdain. Like admitting to like Saurav is a disease these days.
“My favourite is Sachin Tendulkar.â€
No surprises there I guess!
â€œLove, do you mind if I stop and pick something up to eat,â€ he asked suddenly.
They have a habit of calling you â€˜love’ even if you are a perfect stranger they’ve just met. (It’s rather sweet – I mean, we rarely call the ones we love ‘love’!)
It was the last day of Ramzan and apparently TDFK (taxi driver from Kashmir) had not eaten the whole day. He made a stop at a gas station and did his quick pick-up.
Loudly munching on chips, bars of Kit Kat and other tidbits, he launched into a long monologue about why India and Pakistan should continue to play cricket.
Then he wanted to know everything about me (even dark secrets my pals don’t know). So to divert his attention, I began to ask him questions. He came to England a year and a half ago. In search of the better life, presumably. And everyone (his whole family) was in the UK. He married his first cousin. He met a really rude English lady in the morning and she didn’t have the courtesy to make conversation, he complained
Not everyone is as friendly as us Indians, don’t take offence, I said to make him feel better. They are like that only.
He wasn’t too convinced, of course. She was rude, very rude, he kept muttering.
In between all this, of he continued to speak on his cellphone. Loud brisque conversations peppered our our exchange! He’d apologise and get back to me. “And you were saying, love?”
While doing all of this, he would also be smsing, and steering the wheel with one hand. This was when I started to worry a bit. After having safely conserved myself through all my adventures, the last thing I wanted was to perish in an anonymous cab heading to Heathrow!
In fact, as we were approaching the airport through a long narrow tunnel, when suddenly the car veered to the left, the car rear view mirror nearly grazing the side. TDFK was reading an sms and talking at the same time, you see.
I swear on all the cabs I have taken that I’ve not seen a more multi-tasked taxi driver in all my life.
Terminal 3. Finally! I jumped out of the cab and gave him the money. He jumped out, got my luggage out, jumped in and drove off like a maniac, obviously eager to pick up his next customer (or send his next sms). After having witnessed his amazing keypad skills, I’d be inclined to think it was the latter.