>So while my previous job entailed going to one end of Mumbai, this one requires me to move in the other. Fort, to be precise. Fort is in town. For all non Mumbaities – autos are restricted from entering town – that is Mumbai south of Mahim. I can’t take gaadi because I have trouble maneuvering a 3 box car on the roads of Mumbai. I have to perforce take a cab. Now, just outside my home, in the lane there is a cab stand. So when I burst outside on the first day at 8.30 am, rudely awakening to the fact that life no longer entailed getting out of bed at 9, sometimes 10 and sometimes not at all, I was very, very glad to see one lone cab standing there.
Fort, I cried, flying into it.
Yes, nodded the cabbie, continuing to wipe his taxi’s windshield with a cloth which I swear probably had not been washed in a year. I waited with bated breath. And while I waited I did what most of us do while leaving for work on the first day to a new place. I imagined myself to be the highest performer this next year with the CEO herself congratulating me on my fabulous performance while handing out my big, fat increment letter.
Oh yes. This corporate ladder I was going to climb really fast.
But wait, we haven’t even started yet. How am I going to get a big, fat increment if I’m late on the very first day?
So I stuck my head out of the window and yelled. Bhaiyya, chalo.
I got a dirty look. And we started. At 20 km an hour. I am not joking. Every slow lane that this guy could find, he did. Every signal where we could have cruised by, he slowed and stopped. I simmered and it had nothing to do with the temperature outside. We finally reached office just in the nick of time.
The really-early-waking-up taking it’s toll the next day, I burst out at 8.40 am into the lane and came to a standstill. Oops! Our man was there again. I swear I saw his eyes light up as he realized that this could possibly become an everyday affair. I dragged my feet up to his cab and stepped in and we chugged along again. I reached 10 mins later than prescribed time. Complete no-no on new job. New job with finger swipe system for attendance. The kind that gives palpitations and leaves one in panic.
The third day I decided to be smarter. Hah! One taxi was not going to ruin it for me. In a land where taxis abound, why did I need to be dependant on one guy. I will find myself another taxi. Now our house opens into two lanes. Both lead onto the main road. It is the front lane that has the cabs, the rear lane mostly has private vehicles. I had my strategy pat. I was going to get onto the main road through the rear lane and hail a cab down. So I snuck out exactly as planned. Except you know how plans are. They tend to fall apart. No taxi. Only autos. Buzzing along looking as busy as bees. 2 mins, 3 mins…now what? Yes. I had no choice but to eat humble pie and slink back into the front lane to my faithful cabbie. It’s been two weeks now that this man has been ferrying me to work. I’ve reconciled myself to his driving and have started leaving slightly early. We even have conversations now. Today, we even banded together and fought with the guy manning the toll booth at the Bandra – Worli sea link coz of the inordinately long time he was taking to hand out the charge slips.
This happy bonding, however, comes to an end next week. I have succumbed to my Delhi type feelings and have bought a car of my own. It’s actually my birdday present. You see it was my birdday yesterday. And well, with the heat, and the slow taxis and the fact that barring the last 2 years, I have had a set of wheels of my own for almost 10 years now, pati and I came to the conclusion that I would be happiest with a gadi. It is a Chevy Spark. I wanted something tiny and easy to maneuver. And I love it’s cheeky looks. So the car has been booked and rolls into my life Monday next. Yippiee! Sad for the cabbie tho, but such is life.
Anyway, so pati has run around doing all the formalities for the car registration etc and love for him has reached heart shattering proportions so I took him out for champagne and dinner here:
Aer, on the rooftop of Four Seasons, 34th floor, Worli.