George Burns once said, “Too bad all the people who know how to run this country are busy running taxicabs or cutting hair.”
Isn’t it true? Other than a few weekend get-together sessions involving alcohol, it’s the hair dressers and cab drivers I hear a lot about politics from. Of course, every one has a couple of friends who are die hard fans of a ‘leader’ and they wouldn’t even listen to your side of the story, no matter what. (Danny and Srikanth – am jus kiddin’ :P)
Just the other day I had an interesting conversation in the cab. I boarded at 5.00 am and the driver didn’t seem very happy to see me. Not that he doesn’t like me, but because I woke him up to get going. When they have no place to go, they come as early as possible and catch a nap. Anyone who is woke at that hour might feel the same irritation.
Normally I don’t talk much in the cab. I tune into radio (more often than not Radio Mirchi 98.3 idi chala hot guru!), recline my seat a little and close my eyes, letting my thoughts wander all around. And frankly, sometimes it is scary to sit in the front while a sleepy cab driver is handling the wheel, so closing my eyes works for best.
I did the same the other day too. The cabbie was driving slowly because he too knew he was a little sleepy. After 15 mins or so, when we were about to reach office, there was a ditch in the road that he didn’t notice. One of the wheels hit the ditch and made a loud noise. Neither the car stopped nor it broke down, but it still hurts when the vehicle takes a shock or a scratch. He was full awake then and wanted to start a conversation to keep him active.
“We Indians are still in the 1940s mindset, sir. We have to change. The government has to do something. Isn’t that their responsibility? Why do we need so many speed-breakers even in small lanes like this? And what about the ditches like this? Everyone thinks it’s someone else’s duty and walks off. We have to change, sir. Our thinking has to change. Someone has to do something about all this. Is government not responsible for roads? Shouldn’t they be repairing the roads and keep them clean?”
Well, I have a paragraph for each sentence he spoke. He says “Everyone thinks it’s someone else’s duty and walks off”, and “We have to change, sir. Our thinking has to change.” and then he also says, “Someone has to do something about all this.” Am sure my mouth was wide open with wonder at his conflicting thought process. May be, his sleep was speaking.
If I start off with explaining each sentence of his, am sure the point would be lost. I nodded unwillingly and agreed with him. He was happy he made his point and he mentally patted himself on his back for being so thought provoking. It was a gleaming conversation for him that killed his sleep and brightened his day. It was an early morning encounter for me that I chose not to think a lot about. I had a whole day ahead of me!