Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Minimum fare & some fanfare

For some the day begins with prayer. An incense stick delicately placed in front of a picture of whatever form god takes. A politician, a superstar, the elephant headed obstacle remover, the virgin, calligraphy or most likely the goddess of wealth with a golden urn pouring out gold coins. For others, a day begins. To each his, or her, own. The day's first fare is a portent of things to come. A passenger whose destination is en route the road taken from home to the stand is a godsend. A return 'savaari' - ride or occupant - with minimal waiting as the first trip for the day means a decent feast for lunch.Tea spent discussing today's headlines with the boys - the most looked forward to part of the work day.

Commissioner Office? Okay. Shall put meter but please do give something extra for tea. What is wrong with this route? The map is saying its a longer route? What map? Oh the map on your phone. Which route is the phone telling? Does the phone know about one ways and traffic diversions? The leader is coming today and he has a political rally on that road. Will get stuck for an hour if that route is taken.

Bloody hell. Lady drivers. There ought to be stickers on the vehicles indicating that it's a lady driver. The other day two girls on a bike turn in from the right on to the straight main road without even looking or halting for the traffic coming through. Blood pressure has hit the ceiling and someone screams asking if the girls are attempting suicide. The girl who is at the controls of the bike screams back saying she has put the indicator and hence the fault is on those who didn't halt. Everyone, in that instant, realises the futility of lecturing them about the indicator's purpose and collectively decide the girls are better off meeting with an accident to figure things out.

These phones are pretty good right. No one used to bother about which route the auto takes before but ever since the meter has become mandatory everyone seems to think auto drivers are out to cheat them. It's only better to reach the destination sooner so that the next fare is got earlier. These phones are really good. Every day something new seems to come on the phones. At one point there seemed to be nothing new in life and men decide to get married. Soon the novelty of a new wife is replaced by the weariness of the same wife and children will surely be the harbinger of change. Children. The new new thing. Children grow, that is a certainty. With every new year there is something new for them and the parents teach them and take them through their life. The parents experience their whole life again through the children but then suddenly things change. Children are not confined to the headlines of the newspaper. They are not confined to the first paragraph. Apparently, the first paragraph contains the most important news. All news stories have an inverted pyramid and the first paragraph gives details about who, what, where, when, why and how. But the children read the whole paper and then they stop reading the paper. They read only the internet and they use their phones and then before they know it the parents are finding everything new. Internet, touch phone, coffee pubs, Facebook, hundred-rupee hair cuts. The children teach the parents. The children now have their lives to lead and the parents no longer understand life. Child becomes father of man and soon even the children seem new. Only the auto remains the same and the wife. But the auto has a new meter. We have arrived. Commissioner Office is on the other side. Shall halt here else would need to take the U Turn. Is that all? Have come all this way may not even get a ride back. That is better. Thanks.

The next savaari comes along. Where to? Central Station? Alright, shall put meter but please do take due care of giving something extra. Bloody hell. Taxi drivers.