Image source: Secret- the daily teachings.
In my sleepy home town, we hardly had any public transport. Since it’s a small town, we would take either the car, or walk, or cycle wherever we want to go. There were no autos, buses or taxis to take us around. But, there was always my father, mother, or some friendly neighbor to pick or drop me. We never actually felt the need for a public transport. For me, public transports were the inter state buses, trains, and aeroplanes. Something which people take to go outside their town or cities, which I was yet to explore.My perception changed when I moved to Delhi for my higher studies. I started taking the shared autos, buses, and metro; and fell in love with it. I was blown away by the broad and beautiful roads, unceasing traffic, and advanced infrastructure. I loved how almost half of the city’s population appear and disappear with the metros. It took time for me to get accustom with the public transport system, and once I did, my legs would mindlessly take me wherever I want to go. In Mumbai, I fell in love with the local trains. One could travel for miles and miles on them for as less as 8 rupees. I loved taking the late night’s local, when the train breaks the darkness with its familiar sound as it crosses station after station.
Things have changed a lot in the last few years, and with it the transport system changed too. Now we have Uber and Ola where we can book a cab with just a few touch on our phone screen, and within minutes a cab arrives to pick you up at your doorstep. Now, I don’t have to be dependent on anyone to pick or drop me. I can book my own cab, and get going. Such luxury, or should I say ‘independence’?
However, cabs aren’t as cheap as the metro or the local. So, to avoid burning a hole in my pocket I book shared cabs. They are economical, convenient, and offers you interesting stories and experiences. I have had my share of both good and bad experiences of shared cabs. Sometimes, I meet nice and charming people, who exchanges a smile, a formal ‘hello’ or mutual feeling about the weather, and then retire to their self without violating the social norms of public space until we both reach our respective destinations.
Most of the times, I sit as an observer and open my mouth just to ask the driver to put on the radio if others don’t have an issue with it. After that, I watch what my co-passengers do, how the driver drives. Or I look out of the window, enjoy the music and pretend I am going on a long drive. I solely devote my cab rides to myself, to tend to my thoughts and to replenish my exhausted energy. So, I find it extremely uncomfortable when fussy and cranky people get on the cab, and expect the driver to fly the car. They never seem to have time in their hand, and every little thing upsets them. It is very hilarious to see them complain about the traffic to some non-existing audience, and fight with the driver every second of the ride. Most of the time they forget that it’s the ride they have bought and not the driver. The most dreaded thing is when they pull out their phone to narrate their bad day in a melodramatic way. I look at them and wonder why do they have such fucks to give to every little thing that comes their way?
Most of you may debate about the pros and cons of shared ride. But luckily for me, most of the time it had been a good experience. (Except the time when my driver was shouting on the phone threatening his wife that he would collide the car with the next truck he sees.) I always book a share cab when I know I have buffer time, and not when I am heading to an important meeting. I know I cannot save both ‘time’ and ‘money’. So, to get one, I happily compromise on the other.
And, I am amazed at the perks that I get from shared rides. Apart from leaning to be patient, considerate and accepting, I also come across new places. Once I get to go inside the beautiful residential area of Defence personnels in Delhi. The beautiful organized colony reminded me of my little home town. Another time, I got go inside the CISF training institute. Yet another peaceful area in Delhi. Again, the day before yesterday, while on a shared ride, I discovered the beautiful and vast IARI campus. India’s best Agricultural Research Institute! Who would’ve thought that there is such a grand campus on the Delhi’s busiest Pusa road? Well, not me. While my co-passenger was fussing that she is getting late because of the long route the driver took, I was gushing over the fact that I discovered a new place (things like this rarely happen after 9 odd years in the same city). I was awed as the car passed by the green and clean campus, thinking how lovely it would be to live in a place like this. I made a mental note to visit it on a lovely day someday. Sadly, my co-passenger didn’t share my enthusiasm and pouted the entire way until she was dropped.
This made me realize that we always get what we keep looking for. As Dale Carnegie so wisely put:
“Two men looked out from prison bars,
One saw the mud, the other saw stars.”