In part one, I foolishly ask a taxi driver to drive down town and to collect a friend along the way. He is deeply unhappy about this turn of events and resists with the feeble ‘too much traffic, Madam’.
Eventually I convince him that as a cab driver, he should indeed drive me where I wish to go. It’s kind of how the whole ‘taxi’ thing works.
Now, the cab is travelling reluctantly down town and the driver’s muttering all the while about ‘your friend ready? no waiting’.
This is a common issue with cabs here – they don’t charge waiting time and so they hate having to wait. Fair enough really – and as most people who use cars here are used to having a driver who will wait indefinitely, I can see this is an issue. I reassure him my pal will be waiting for us.
Yes my friend is ready, no waiting.
You call her?
Well no, not now, it’s a 45 minute drive. I’ll call her when we’re near.
This goes on intermittently for the rest of the drive. Interspersed only by stopping for a short shout at someone who cuts us up and nearly drives into us. He shouts at the other driver. The other driver shouts at him. Much waving of hands, and dismissive tsk noises. I add to the cacophony by vociferously urging him from the backseat that this is not helping anyone and could we please move along.
But madam… he indicated the complete imbecility of the oaf in the other car.
Yes, yes, I see. Can we get on, please?
Every time we hit traffic, he makes a sighing noise. Every time we slow down at traffic lights, he tsks. As we’re in Bangalore, a city known for its appalling traffic, he spends a lot of time sighing, tsking and being upset. Obviously this is an angry man who dislikes traffic. From what I can see he’s not too keen on people either. Being a cab driver does not seem like the ideal job for him. I help people find their perfect jobs as my current carreer and really this chap, I think it’s safe to say, is not in his perfect niche. To say the least. Ahem.
So, we get downtown. He starts nagging me over and over to call my friend.
I will when we are closer.
Nag, nag. Tsk, tsk. Occasional dramatic sigh.
I begin to get a bit irked by all this. So I point out nagging is not going to help the situation. Grrr. He continues nagging. I point out that nagging me will entirely stop my ability to pay a tip. He desists. Grudgingly.
Then my pal calls and tells me that actually she’ll meet me at the hotel. We’re nearly at her house – so I ask the driver to not stop but go to the hotel. Plans in India are often a little fluid like this – and it’s not exactly an issue, we’re on the meter after all.
Well, you’d have thought I’d stolen one of his children. He has a complete fit. Telling me he drove down here specially. Well yes, you’re a cab driver, driving is kind of your thing. Please go to hotel.
He is not at all happy, but he caves in and calls his friend and has a vociferous conversation about the whole thing in Kannada. How do I know this when I don’t speak Kannada? Because he mentions all of the areas we’ve been through who’s names of course I do recognise, the hotel we’re going through and I hear repeatedly in English, ‘MG Road, many cars, many traffic’.
Presumably the entire conversation ran along the lines of ‘she insisted on coming down here, against my excellent better judgement and now she doesn’t even want to collect her friend. I told her to call and check she was there, but no… little Miss Safety Conscious wouldn’t have it’.
I may be reading into the last bit…
However we do eventually get to the hotel and all is well. He even has change (which in itself is a minor miracle in this country). I tip. A little. He drives off seething with anger.
I tell you, transport is my major annoyance in this country.
This is part two of a two part post
Read part one here : Seatbelt is broken Madam, no problem
I spend a lot of time being lightly ripped off or annoyed while being conveyed from place to place. It’s almost something of a theme here. If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not check out these other driving related posts:
And of course as usual, do please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts