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The multi-tasking cabbie driver (from Kashmir!)

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.

“I 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.”

No surprises there I guess!

“Love, do you mind if I stop and pick something up to eat,” he asked suddenly.

They have a habit of calling you ‘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.

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20 Comments

  1. When I was a kid, I used to watch this puppet show. It was about small creatures (almost mouselike) living in a labyrynth of tunnels under a house. The men are there and the tunnels open up into a small mouse hole in a large room. Once in a while the odd adventureous bunch of these creatures get out there and encounter the men. They are terribily scared of these men too. Down in the tunnel there lives a swamp creature, a friendly swamp creature which is part of the story. All of them except the men are puppets.

    One amont these creatures is an adventureous traveller and off he escapes those tunnels and out to the world of men. He travels around paris, london, america and other parts of the world. He writes back to his fellow creatures about the strange ways of the outside world on a picture postcard with him on the picture.

    Whenever I see your blog, it reminds me of that adventureous guy who writes back on a picture postcard.

    This used to come on DD in the 80s mainly. I think sunday evening or saturday evening slot.

    Anyone know the name ??

    vasu

  2. hey how’s u. ur trip seems to have been interesting and eventful throughout. will come agn to read all the entries in detail

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  4. Louly Maydum,

    Ohohohohohoho!
    “the last thing I wanted was to perish in an anonymous cab heading to Heathrow!”
    Errr…..the next time Shibs and I are in the backseat screaming for dear life, I am going to use this material s’il te plait!

  5. hey navneet,

    Ya… thats the one.. Fraggle rock.. :).. Thanks man.. cos this was sticking in my brain like a thron.. and it feels relieved to pluck it out with some help of course.

    Ya.. whenever I read anita’s blogs, I remember fraggle rock.. dunno why.. maybe the colour ???

    anita : dont change the background and all this is a complement.

    vasu

  6. Hi Anita, from Vidalia, Georgia in the US. I happened upon your blog, and found it quite interesting. Great posting and your travels inm the UK somewhat mirror mine several years ago. In 1990, I was stationed at Mildenhall, near Cambridge, while in the UD Air Force. I made trips to all the wonderful places to see things I would never have been able to see without the Air Force sending me overseas. I also took a trip to Paris, and found it just as you said. Your comments about Montmartre brought back memories. Did you visit the cathedral there? I did, and it was breathtaking inside.

    My best to you,
    Joe

  7. I would have loved to meet the taxi driver, they make the best conversations.. and I would have given my dose of one child policy 😉 and safe sex.

  8. Heh heh – London cabbies are the best aren’t they? Best at scaring the life out of you anyway 😉

    Glad you made it back in one piece!

  9. Sunrayz says

    Hi Anita! So glad you made it back in one peice!! 🙂
    It was so nice to see you…
    BTW, did your friends and family like the gifts??? You left at the right time- the temperature has realllllllly dropped. Do put up pmore pics of your trip.

  10. pranjal: i think he had been doing it for quite long as he seemed like an expert!

    vasu: which tunnel did you creep out from? 🙂 you need to do something to get back into our books now. you have been erased from a few lives 😉

    thanks vidya. will do!

    kavitha: will put up more pics and writings in the next few days when i get some time 🙂

    thanks uma 🙂

    venky: i shall not say anything about auto drivers in chennai, because if i did i might not be able to stop!

    vaish maydum: i am a very safe driver 🙂

    thanks joe. glad i could rekindle some of those memories for you…

    tony: hmmm.. maybe next time?!

    jag: the best! even the ones we encountered in scotland were really nice and friendly 🙂

    sunrayz: i did yes! thanks for all the help. everything has been distributed to different parties. but i think i should have gotten more of these brandy liquer chocolates 🙂

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  12. Maddy says

    You said that, “admitting to like Saurav is a disease these days.” Why do you think saurav bashing is a privilege these days? His removal has caused an uproar in the country. Even non-Bengalis and all the news channels are bitching about his axing from the team. Some morons even thought about raising that issue in the parliament. Imagaine that. Most of the leading newspapers dedicate 2-3 pages to him, sulking on his elimination. News channels have gone mad. I am sure the news channels have better things to discuss than this. My only point is that, Saurav has become a hero. I am not a fan of his, but ‘admitting to like Saurav is actually not a disease’.

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