Learning through experience and error

Excerpts from Cab Rides: Why I Love Talking To My Cabbies

Excerpts from Cab Rides: Why I Love Talking To My Cabbies
Credits: Emanuele

This is a direct sequel to Small Talk, Conversations and Beautiful People. I mentioned I was going to write about the conversations in cab rides all that time ago and I figured it was about time I got down to doing that.

The Multiplex Nostalgia

Some time ago, my friend, Prateek and I were going to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. The driver pulled in to the driveway for Logix City Center Mall, Noida. Right then, a conversation began as he asked us a simple question.

Him: Yaha kitne hall hain, bhaiya? (How many screens does this multiplex have?)

Me: Umm. Bhaiya 12 hain shayad. (Twelve, I guess.)

Him (smiling): Maine bahut pehle dekhi thi picture. Gadar. Uske bad nahi dekhi. Ab to kaafi kuch badal gaya hai. (The last movie I watched was a long time ago. Gadar. I haven’t watched a movie since. Things have changed so much now from back then.)

Me: Time nikaal ke jaana bhaiya ek bar, sahi mein sab badal gaya hai. Mauka laga ke jaana. Family ko bhi le jana. (Take some time out and watch a movie, brother. Things have really changed now. Find the time. Take your family too.)

Prateek (jokingly): Gadar 2 hi jaana ab seedha bhaiya. (Watch Gadar 2 now when it comes out.)

Him: Bhaiya bas kamaane mein zindagi nikal gayi. Time bhi hota hai. Bas mann nahi karta. Aapka stop yahi hai. Aa gaya. (Brother, I spent a lifetime in earning money. Time isn’t an issue. I just don’t feel like it. Your stop is here.)

Me: Fir bhi bhaiya, ek bar time nikalna, jana zarur. Dhanyawad bhaiya. (Still, take some time out and go see how things have changed for yourself. Thanks for the ride.)

The Coincidental Trio from Dehradun

I was in an UberPool once. I had one co-passenger. Our driver was jovial and after listening to them talk for a while, I pitched in. The conversation soon took a turn toward where I was from and this is how it went.

Me: Dehradun.

The Other Guy: Hain? Main bhi Dehradun se hu. Kaha se? (What? I’m from Dehradun too. Which place there?)

Me: Karanpur. Aap? (Karanpur. What about you?)

The Other Guy: Ballupur.

The Driver (laughing): Ab aap dono ko ek badhiya bat batau? (Now, let me tell you something amazing?)

Both: Haan. (Yes.)

The Driver: Main bhi Dehradun se hu. (I’m from Dehradun too.)

Me: Arey wah. Gazab coincidence. (Wow. Amazing coincidence.)

The Other Guy (laughing): Arey bhayankar.  (Bhayankar is a Hindi word used as slang in Dehradun for an element of surprise. No one in NCR was even aware of it when I came here.)

The Driver: Bhaiya yaha to koi bhayankar bolta bhi nahi hai. Ye word sun ke hi apna shehar yad aa gaya. (No one even uses the word here. The word itself brought back memories of the city.)

Me: Sahi baat. Bilkul sahi baat. Yaha bhayankar word ki koi respect hi nahi hai. (True. True. No one even respects it here.)

All laugh.

The Other Guy: Khair ab shehar waisa raha kaha. (Well, the city isn’t even the same anymore.)

Me: Haan. Dusra Delhi ban gaya hai almost ab. Log bhi wahi. (True. It’s another Delhi. The people are the same too.)

The Driver: Main to kab se gaya bhi nahi hu. Suna yahi hai lekin. (I haven’t been there since long. Heard the same things though.)

The Other Guy: Kab gaye the last? (When did you visit last?)

The Driver: Yaha ’90 mein aaya tha bhaiya. Tab se yahi hu. Abhi Samsung Store mein job karta hu din mein. Fir ham sab employees hi rat ko cab chalaate hain. (I came here in ’90, man. Been here since then. I work in a Samsung Store. Then all of us employees drive cabs for Uber in the evening.)

The Other Guy: Yaar bahut kaam karte ho. Kitna kama lete ho month ka roughly? (You work a lot. How much do you roughly make in a month?)

The Driver: Bhaiya meri music classes mila ke 1 lakh ho jata hai approx. (If you add in the music classes, it’s around a lakh.)

Me: Music classes? Kis type ki? (Music classes? What exactly do you teach?)

The Driver (jokes): Guitar bhaiya. Hame bachpan mein rockstar banna tha. (Guitar, bro. I wanted to be a rockstar when I was a kid.)

Me: Nahi yaar. Sahi hai. Bhaut hi sahi hai.  (No. It’s good. Great actually.)

The Driver (pulling up near my stop): Yaha thik area hai bhaiya ya andar tak chodd du aapko? (Is this area alright or should I drop you till your gate?)

Me: Nahi nahi bhaiya. Sahi hai. Lagta hai bas thoda sa ajib. Chalo sir, Good night. Aap dono se mil ke badhiya laga bahut. (No. No. That won’t be necessary. It appears this way. Anyway sir, Good night. It was great meeting the two of you.)

The Other Guy: Same bhaiya. Shehar se koi mil gaya ittefaak se. Utna hi bhaut hai. (Same brother. It was good to meet someone from the city out of coincidence.)

The Driver: Chalo bhaiya. Thank you. Good night aapko bhi. (Alright then. Thank you. Good night to you to.)


These conversations might seem random to you, the reader. However, when you’re in a city you don’t call your own, it is in these little moments that you realize how everyone is human in the end and that we can get across to each other and perhaps affect our days, weeks and even months by just talking about the weather. People often criticize small talk and random conversation as something baseless and unnecessary and it often is so too. But sometimes, all you’re looking for is a random conversation, no strings attached, just two human beings talking about the little things, unnecessary and mundane. Something away from the troubles of our busy lives. Call it a place of solace in our otherwise haphazard lives.

In the last few months, I’ve learnt that sometimes the easiest way to let out is to not talk about your troubles at all. Instead, focus on the random positives of being a human being. A random human being, in a city full of random human beings, living one day at a time, surviving, trying their best to be better today and wake up to a better tomorrow. Small-talk and random conversation helps me do that. It helps me feel lighter for a few hours. It’s a good thing to do. The best part is that you quickly graduate to having real conversations and before you know it, you have so many people in your life. No, not all of them will be important, but some of them will remember you the next time you wave at them and that is enough. Trust me, it is.

The small-talk series will probably go on for a while. So, this gets its own category. Next up in this series is probably conversations I have at the coffee shop I wrote about some time ago or maybe not. We’ll see. Before that, I have to end another thread, the promised aftermath of when I switched over from Box to Google Photos. I also have to write about how I organised my life and about a list of apps I think are productive. Also about how this blog literally shows how I’ve grown up and how that’s a bad or a good thing. Naruto got married, finally. I also have to write a post about how he is responsible for who I am as a person.

Great things to look forward to, just let me finish up with a schedule of busy college-work. Putting these rough ideas here sure gives me some incentive and leverage to actually write them up.

About the author

Deepansh Khurana

Blogger and writer from Dehradun, India. I'd say I love coffee but don't we all? I find stories, people and experiences. I blog about them.

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Deepansh Khurana

Blogger and writer from Dehradun, India. I'd say I love coffee but don't we all? I find stories, people and experiences. I blog about them.


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