That indispensable breed of drivers

I feel today buying a new car that would suit one’s budget is easier than getting  a  “good ’’driver not only to drive your precious possession  but keep it in one piece (my friend’s new  Ford Icon  has more dents than I could count, thanks to her driver). Its worse if you own  one of those faithfuls  for which you have developed a sentimental attachment  and refuse to part with it.

When we wanted to engage a driver  (of course  at the going rate that is exorbitant)  he had one  mocking look at  our Fiat   and  said “ Oh, if I had known  it’s a vintage car I wouldn’t have  come at all. These days owning a car which has no a/c, power steering and a music system need to be dumped!”  His words made me furious and even before I could retaliate he disappeared without a second look either at the car or its owner.

Why don’t we hire  a cab  whenever we need one, by that  we  could  stop  our vigorous search for  a driver and avoid  spending on the fuel  or  the  car’s  maintenance,  suggested my husband and the  idea  appealed to me.

After scanning through pages and pages of advertisements of Call taxi operators we identified the one nearest our residence.

I summoned the cab to go to Raj Bhavan to keep my appointment with the Governor at 10’ 0clock.  I told the driver  my destination and  sat back  only to  get a start when I noticed he was taking me in the opposite direction, kilometers  away from where  I had intended to go. Don’t you know the route to Raj Bhavan, the Governor’s residence? I screamed even as I was trying to control my anger as the time of my appointment was nearing.

Madam, I know the only Raj Bhavan, which is a hotel in Nungambakkam, he replied without batting an eye lid. I  tried to guide him to the best of my ability  but soon found my instructions to him about  turning right and left were making no sense because to my consternation he was doing just the opposite. It turned out he belonged to the suburbs and didn’t understand any English !

My next  experience  was totally different,when  my friend and I  chose to attend a meeting at Landmark on a rainy day( unfortunately in Chennai, it never rains but pours). She had hired  a cab for  three hours  and  left a small stainless steel  “dubba” of pakodas (which I had given her to consume later)in it  to collect  when she alighted at her residence. The meeting over, her repeated calls to  the cabbie on her mobile got no response and when we searched for the cab at the parking lot, it was not to be found. A call to the operator too proved futile and we had to return to our respective homes by an auto totally drenched.

Well, the above are just a sample, I could start a whole blog on drivers of Chennai and probably I will do so soon to give it a complete perspective –which includes the taxi operators’ tale of woe as well!

n.meera raghavendra rao   

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