Taxi Driver

The winters in Delhi and adjoining areas seemed at its fiercest on this day in the first week of January. Alighting at Badhkal Metro late one evening, Moni decided to book herself an Ola/Uber to reach home instead of the usual auto rickshaw which often lacks in protective elements from the weather.

Soon an Ola arrived to pick her. Moni was relieved and was happy that she would now reach her home comfortably within the next 15-20 minutes. The cabbie was a rather chatty guy. Soon he opened up about a recent predicament he had faced while answering a booked call.
A particular woman had booked him from Badhkal a few days back for a destination within Faridabad. However, after she had boarded the cab, the cabbie found that she had changed the destination to Gurugram.

The cabbie was now in a fix. He didn't want to go to the Millennium city on this wintry night as he lived in Ballabhgarh and only did the night job limiting himself to driving within the geographical area of Faridabad. What could be done? On this desolate stretch to Gurugram from Faridabad leaving a woman alone is not without its risks. What if she raises a din and calls the cops? Who would believe a cabbie like him? The law is always in favor of women. Reluctantly he continued to head towards Gurugram. The woman passenger was engaged on her phone throughout the journey. From the conversation that ensued between the woman and the person on the other end the cabbie ended up with a gut feeling that the woman seated behind him could be debauched.

Fog dimmed visibility on the Faridabad-Gurugram Road. This stretch sees a great many heavy vehicle speeding at such unearthly hours. Driving with extreme caution our cabbie managed to reach Gurugram and dropped the lady passenger at her destination. It was nearing midnight, and our man was fearful about the return journey to Ballabhgarh via Faridabad. He decided to sleep in the car and informed his home that he wouldn't be returning that night. He moved to the nearby Gurugram rail station a much safer place. A bone chilling eerie feeling gripped him as he reached the Railway station. He slept in the car for some hours that night.

He came back home at the crack of dawn, lured by the idea of trudging carefully on the deserted roads, punctuated by thick woods in the distance where wildlife roamed...the woman by then was a wisp of a memory, what remained was a gnawing uneasiness, the realization that he was alone, a solitary driver, trying to make sense of his journey which he thought might come to an abrupt end. Only the sight of a gigantic Hanuman mandir, by the time he reached Sainik colony in Faridabad made him feel alive, all over again.

Moni too reached her home soon after the full narration of the incident. I heard about it from her. I hope this remain a solitary experience in his life. A few more such incidents can affect the psyche of the cabbie. That's how the Travis Bickles are born.


More by :  Subhajit Ghosh

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