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