Put Your Meter Down, Boy!

Replug of this week’s column for The Goan on Saturday.

Yours truly has recently moved into a new place at Prabhadevi in Dadar. And since I reside 10 minutes away from my workplace, my ride is invariably a taxi.

So as you know, metered Taxis in Mumbai have a monopoly from Bandra to Churchgate on the western line and from Sion to Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on the central line. Apart from this, taxis also ride on the roads that lead to the suburbs along with autorickshaws. But this is not the idea behind this article. Today, let me introduce you to the variety of cabbies (drivers) we have to deal with on a daily basis.

Haan ji, Baithiye: This is the set loved by all! Also, this set constitutes only 1% of the cab drivers in Mumbai, and it takes about 45 minutes to find one. Confused? After many blatantly reject to be your ride, only one will feel sorry for you when you make that puppy face and say, ‘please, bhai saab?’

Nahi, Nahi: This driver doesn’t care if you’re getting late or not. Also, he doesn’t like a short ride. So if my journey is from Prabhadevi to Lower Parel, he will never let me enter his cab. Sometimes, there are some cabbies who have other reasons for declining. Like what, you ask? Either his shift has come to an end or he’s not in the mood, if you please.

Change/ chhutta nahi hai: Liar! I give you Rs 50 and the fair has come to Rs 49, but our dear cabbie doesn’t have a rupee to return. In the bargain, a lot of us prefer letting go of a rupee rather than getting into an argument.

Haan, tho madam ji…: This is the type that loves talking! They start a random conversation and expect us to participate too. The only way to get out of this conversation is by changing your cab, but please be warned, you might not get another cab any time soon.

Madam ye, madam woh: This is just a one-way conversation. We all know how difficult it is to drive during peak hours in Mumbai. Every road, lane, flyover will definitely be jammed with traffic. And what does our man do then? Start cribbing about the traaaffic!

No meter down: Last Sunday, I took a cab till Dadar station and didn’t realise that the driver hadn’t started the meter until I was about to get off. I couldn’t really argue when he asked me to pay up Rs 30 because it was partially my fault. I should have ensured that the meter was down when I entered the cab. And since I’m new to the place, I was clueless about the fair till the station. This is just one, there are many more drivers who actually ‘take you for a ride’.

Round and round: Usually, before entering the cab, I ensure that the driver knows the way. But this time, I got cheated. The cabbie claimed to know the destination I’d asked, but took me from a completely different lane. A lane that took longer than usual, and of course, cost me more. This ride was more like a Dadar darshan for me.

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