Mumbai never fails to intrigue me. Always some incident leaves a lasting impression. This one was totally unexpected. With the rains playing truant, drizzling at intervals, the traffic situation was superb!
I had gone with my mom and kids to the infinity mall in Malad and on our return we booked an ola cab. The cab arrived a good 25 minutes late. The cab was a sad looking black and yellow old style taxi now converted for ola rides. Well we didn’t have a choice as already there were many like us booking ola on the ola app.
So well we got in and the driver started explaining how he was caught just around the corner near the mall and that traffic is really bad with vehicles barely moving inch by inch.
We kept quiet nodding and listening to him. He started talking about the political situation in our country and how he had worked with RSS for a couple of years. He was well versed with the names of all political parties and their leaders.
He soon changed the topic to his family and how his son scored really well and about his daughter doing her LLB in Gorakhpur, north India from where he hails.
He said he is himself a post graduate and his subjects were history, Hindi and Sanskrit. His father was a Principal in a school and his entire family was learned.
As the cab inched through the traffic on the Link Road, he recited a long verse in Sanskrit. This was out of the blue and he recited it really well. I asked him to explain the meaning of the verse and here goes what he explained:
The sun takes tax from all water bodies based on their capacity. like from a river it takes more, from a pond it takes less and so on. But when it shines, it shines equally on all. So that is how a King should be towards his countrymen. He explained how sambhaav was important. He continued with saying that caste is not decided by birth but by behavior and conduct.
Sadly we were nearing our home and the ride which I had thought would be tiresome after a good many hours spent walking in the mall, turned out to be full of wisdom.
For a moment we wished that our home was a little further away so that we could listen to talks of wisdom.
He did say in the end that all works are equal and no work is big and small. he said he is driving a cab so that he can earn well to support his family and educate his kids well. His intention was so clear.
He said that if everyone wants to be a lawyer or a doctor who was going to clean the roads, who was going to drive cabs and autos?
A very valid presentation it was. We all were pleased to have met such a humble human being and were truly grateful to have him drive us home.
These are the diamonds in Mumbai and all over India in fact. Hidden away…as no one cares to see and recognize.
The entire population is so busy in earning money, making ends meet and socializing that no one has the time or patience to see such sparkling gems. Eyes are hazy with drunkenness of social stature, society, competition, politics, poverty and so on.
Not that the cab driver is interested in being known. He is clear about his purpose of supporting his family. he too is outwardly stuck in the rut and yet inside he is aloof and unaffected.
He is not in the darkness of ignorance. He is very much in light though he is surrounded outwardly by darkness. He stays unaffected and was smiling his way through the mad rush. In fact an auto driver did knock on his window at a signal and started an argument about how the cab had driven through a puddle ( which we have many all through the roads in Mumbai) and splashed some water on his passenger. the reply this guy gave was a nice apology with humor wherein he said he can barely see the car in front of him, where-from would he see the potholes and puddles!
An epitome of humor, patience, humility, knowledge and much more was this driver. We thanked him as we got off and thanked the divine. The ride was one of the best ones as with the car windows closed, the ac running and the Sanskrit verses…the entire honking, rush and frustration which was surrounding the cab was washed away.
I am sure we will never ever meet the driver again, but in one meeting he did show how the light within stays unaffected even if one is surrounded in complete darkness!
God bless him and his family!!