Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Spirit of Mumbai

I stood outside a hotel in Mumbai, trying to find a cab to take me home. My travel was not too far, yet beyond walking limits. A sultry evening in a dusty and dirty part of town.

Just one cab stood outside, with the cabby looked eagerly to find a passenger. A black and yellow cab with a white shirted driver.

My destination disappointed him. He had been waiting for too long, to catch a short ride. He shook his head respectfully. "Sorry sir. Have been waiting here since morning."

I knew I wouldn't find another cab ride there, without a lengthy walk. Too few cabs, all ferrying riders. None waiting to stop. Resigned, I started the jaunt.

But the waiting cabby was beside me. "Sir, I will find you another. I am sorry I couldn't serve you".

He briskly crossed the road and flagged down a cab going in the opposite direction. A heated Marathi conversation ensured. But it ended with an approving nod.

The cabby waved me in and ran back to his waiting spot. Ignoring my profuse thanks and stunned expression.

The Spirit of Mumbai.

(Learn, Chennai auto-drivers. Learn.)